09th Nov2014

‘After Midnight’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Tim Abell, Marliss Amiea, Catherine Annette, Richard Grieco, Erika Jordan, Tawny Kitaen, Rya Meyers, David Novak, Christine Nguyen, Bobby Rice, Don Scribner | Written by Fred Olen Ray, Andrew Helm | Directed by Fred Olen Ray

AfterMidnight-KeyArt-V1

As a teen just getting into the world of low-budget horror movies, and straight to VHS fare, there were a handful of directors whose work I would buy and/or rent without fail and without any prior knowledge (besides the spiel on the back of the box) of what i was getting into. One of those directors was Fred Olen Ray, the genius behind such films as Scalps, Star Slammer, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, Evil Toons, Cyclone and the awesome Scream Queen Hot Tub Party. However in the intervening years it’s safe to say I haven’t had the urge to watch as many of his flicks as I did in the 80s/90s heyday of DTV horror – probably because the majority of his recent output has been of the more T&A variety… However that didn’t stop me backing his short film passion-project Spidora on Kickstarter which, surprisingly, actually reignited my passion for Fred’s flicks.

So with that said on to After Midnight. But where to begin? Maybe with it’s story…

Advertised as the big “comeback” movie for 80s music video stalwart and genre star Tawny Kitaen, After Midnight follows Constance (Catherine Annette), a TV newscaster who goes undercover as an exotic dancer at a seedy strip club, called the Candy Cat, to find the killer of her sister who worked at the very same establishment. However she quickly realizes that everyone at the club, workers and regulars alike, is a suspect and that other dancers are being targeted. She must work fast to find the killer to seek her revenge before she becomes the next target.

Well that’s the official synopsis but the REAL story is so strange and bizarre that to tell you anything more would [literally] spoil the films myriad of plot twists, left-field story conceits and out-of-the-world plotting that takes the audience on a wild, T&A-filled ride. And believe me when I say T&A filled because every actress in the film, bar Kitaen, gets them out at one point or another – even the films lead Catherine Annette, who it turns out, makes for a much more convincing stripper than TV newscaster! Richard Grieco, as Constance’s shrink (a plot point that’s never fully explained but, in the end, is essential to the films story) does his usual smouldering, gravely-voiced performance – the antithesis of what a psychiatrist should be, in a role that is more about using the actor as a “named star” rather than a fully-realised character. A trait that is a trademark of a LOT of Olen Ray’s VHS, and later, DVD output.

To cut a long story short, After Midnight is Law and Order: Showgirls, only with a strange supernatural twist. Totally ridiculous and ridiculously bad, it’s the kind of straight to DVD flick that Z-movie lovers, like me, adore. Cheap, cheesy and filled to the brim with tits and arse, this is definitely one for the “beer & pizza” crowd. Honestly, you know what you’re getting into with a Fred Olen Ray movie – and After Midnight doesn’t disappoint.

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