Howdy from Texas, ya’ll!
This is my second time visiting the Lone Star State. Man. It’s really it’s own country. Culturally feels so different to anywhere else I’ve been to the US (and absolutely not a toot like Wisconsin).
I haven’t spent much time here, so I can tell you only two things that are true about Texas. 1) Texans really do love being from Texas. There are reminders everywhere. 2) They really do say “ya’ll” a lot.
And both of these are very much true in this 1987 paranormal slasher movie The Lamp. Especially that first point. This movie reminds you that this is set in Texas a lot.
The Lamp is similar to a lot of slasher movies of this decade. A group of kids spend the night in X place and end up killed. Just like in The Initiation, The Funhouse, Chopping Mall, Sorority Babes… – even the first Night of the Demons would count. Kids just love breaking into places! This is a subgenre I love.
However, we get a fun supernatural twist with the introduction of a jinn.
In 1893, a group of passengers are all killed aboard a ship from Iraq to Galveston. But one little girl escapes with a lamp and a bracelet. In the present day, the woman is very elderly and bedridden. A trio of criminals break into her house, looking for her money.
But when they discover the lamp and bracelet hidden in the wall, one of the criminals awakens the jinn. They kill the elderly woman, but in turn are murdered viciously by the jinn.
The lamp and bracelet are discovered by police, who turn it over to a local museum to be studied. Alex is the daughter of the archeologist involved with the study. She immediately becomes intrigued by the lamp. When she puts on the matching bracelet, she finds she can’t take it off.
When Alex’s class visit the museum for a class trip, she can’t help but visit the lamp again. But with the bracelet on, she becomes possessed by the jinn. She convinces her friends to spend the night in the museum.
And, of course, this is the time for killing! The third act is fairly predictable, but the deaths are inventive and fun (and can be really brutal). The death of the two creepy bullies is particularly satisfying. And the design of the jinn is fun – pays off to wait to see him until the very end. The “be careful what you wish for” theme is pretty standard with jinn territory, but I think it plays out well in a heart-breaking way.
I was pleasantly surprised by The Lamp. It’s story is quirky, and the museum setting is interesting. The middle, where we’re setting up Alex and her father’s story, gets kind of slow, but it clips along nice and fast in when the jinn finally lets loose.
Yee-haw and all of that to Texas movies. Thanks for keeping it weird.