As a kid, Alone in the Dark was a fast paced and powerful horror movie…no, it was an experience. I particularly enjoyed the casting. First off, you had Palance playing a no-nonsense psychopath, all buff and serious, nothing like the black-humored host of Ripley’s Believe it…or Not. Then you had Pleasance playing an alternate universe version of Dr Loomis from Halloween where instead of meeting Michael Meyers, he discovered a large bag of mushrooms and never looked back. And then there’s Schultz playing the square and cowardly doctor who is nothing like Howling Mad Murdock from The A-Team. The whole movie played against type for me. Sadly, the film’s biggest victim is Landeau who has nothing to do except look creepy. For an actor who was capable of so much more, the paper-thinness of his character was bothersome.
As the adult who watched Alone in the Dark last week, I was amazed at how slow it was, and how though the movie didn’t have a message, it certainly believed it did. There seems to be a lot of hinting at the modern perception of madness and the notion that, in our own way, we are all crazy, and yet, it all fizzles to make room for a bloody death or punk music. The only character with any real substance is Palance’s Hawkes, and the ideas his character are supposed to represent are clearly hinted at throughout the film – especially in the film’s ending – without actually amounting to anything substantial. It makes me wonder if there’s not a longer cut of the movie out there where Hawkes’ character arch is better explained. Or perhaps I’m giving the movie too much credit, because Alone in the Dark certainly feels smart, especially when compared to most of the horror movies coming out during this time.
This has been