Midnight (1982)

Midnight is the movie Rob Zombie keeps trying to make. It’s seriously demented and filled with so many truly unlikeable characters. Most of them make you want to take a shower just watching them.

Written and directed by John Russo, one of the creators of Night of the Living DeadMidnight was shot on location outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and features special effects by Tom Savini. While never prosecuted, the film was seized and confiscated in the UK as a section 3 video nasty.

How can you not love a movie that starts with a girl caught in an animal trap getting killed by a bunch of children who all pray to Satan while they murder her? And hey look — one of the killers is John Amplas, Martin in the flesh.

Midnight is really about Nancy Johnson, who runs away from home after her police officer stepfather Bert (Lawrence Tierney, berserk as always) tries to assault her. She gets picked up by two guys, Hank and Tom, who also grab a Baptist preacher and his daughter.

As they stop to see the preacher’s wife’s grave, the older man is soon killed. To top that off, the killer delivers the body to his daughter’s door and then kills her with the same machete.

After racists in the town refuse to serve Hank, the three heroes steal groceries before they’re stopped by some even more racist cops. The two men are quickly gunned down and Nancy goes on the run. Of course, the house she ends up in just so happens to be the one where her friends are being cut into pieces.

The movie then descends into even more depravity, like locking our heroine in a cage to witness a Black Mass, her insane stepfather tracking her down and finally, our heroine discovering herself in time to wipe everyone out with extreme malice.

The original ending had the crazed family — who had already killed the cops and stolen their uniforms — getting away with the murders. However, the distributors demanded that the film have a more uplifting ending, which is why the one that is in here happens so quickly. It works for me — it’s really shocking.

While the film was released as Backwoods Massacre, I’d compare it to more of a Western Pennsylvania Texas Chainsaw Massacre in tone.

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