Alone in the Dark (1982)
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Alone in the Dark is a fun and unusual slasher film with a great cast, about four violent patients who escape their satirically progressive mental institute to attack the new resident psychiatrist and his family at their home. Dwight Schultz is the poor doctor, and perfect to bring the proper anxiety to bear. Jack Palance and Martin Landau are perfect as two of the maniacs, and Donald Pleasence has fun with his role as the unorthodox psychiatrist who heads the hospital. As a slasher film, it knows how to create tension, using the genre's predictability to good effect. What I perhaps like most of all is how it goes out of its way to show the madness in the rest of society. The riot when the power goes out, the punk band's mosh pit, everyone's little phobias and anxieties... And in the end, the "sane" characters resorting to slasher violence to protect themselves. I can't decide if the pedophile character is a good idea however. It makes you squirm, sure, but in a movie that's really a black comedy that says everyone's got issues, it feels exploitative and a little tone-deaf. But generally, this is a hoot and a half, albeit not one that takes mental health very seriously (but has any slasher film?).
Not a regular early-80s slasher. Worth a watch.
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In 2 official lists
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This movie ranks #240 in Jennifer Eiss's 500 Essential Cult Movies
This movie ranks #655 in TSZDT's The 1,000 Greatest Horror Films