Countdown to Halloween: The Midnight Hour

Ghouls just want to have fun!

Year of Release:  1985
Genre:   Comedy/Horror
Rating:  NR
Runtime:  94 mins.
Studio(s):  ABC Video Enterprises, Capital Cities, American Broadcasting Company (ABC), Anchor Bay Entertainment
Director:  Jack Bender

Shari Belafonte as Melissa Cavender
LeVar Burton as Vinnie Davis
Jonelle Allen as Lucinda Cavender
Lee Montgomery as Phil Grenville
Peter DeLuise as Mitch Crandall
Dedee Pfeiffer as Mary Masterson
Jonna Lee as Sandy Matthews
Cindy Morgan as Vicky Jensen
Kurtwood Smith as Captain Warren Jensen
Dick Van Patten as Martin Grenville
Sheila Larken as Janet Grenville
Wolfman Jack as the radio DJ
Kevin McCarthy as Judge Crandall
Macaulay Culkin as a Halloween kid

It’s Halloween in the small town of Pitchford Cove and five high school friends, Phil, Mary, Mitch, Vinnie, and Melissa, plan on making it a night they will never forget. They steal outfits from the town’s historic museum and come upon other old artifacts, including an old trunk encasing a paper scroll which contains an ancient curse. When Melissa, latent sorceress, recites the curse at the local cemetery, things take a turn for the worse.

The town’s dead, led by Melissa’s great-great-great-great-grandmother Lucinda Cavender, a witch who was put to death 300 years earlier, rise up from their graves and roam the town. As Melissa, Vinnie, Mitch, and Mary enjoy themselves at their annual Halloween costume party, Phil encounters a mysterious girl, named Sandra “Sandy” Matthews, dressed in a vintage 1950’s cheerleader outfit, who warns him that the whole town is in danger.

Meanwhile, Lucinda and the various undead crash the costume party. At first, nobody pays much attention to them since everyone is in costume. However, Lucinda begins turning the party guests into vampires, starting with her great-great-great-great-granddaughter Melissa.


When Sandy discovers that Phil and his friends recited the ancient spell in the cemetery, they realize that the whole town is being overrun by the living dead and decide to team up to break the curse. The only way to do so is to find the Grenville Spirit Ring inside the grave of a witch-hunter Nathaniel Grenville – who, coincidentally, was Phil’s great-great-great-great-grandfather and slave owner of Lucinda Cavender, her arch-nemesis – and use it to undo the curse. Phil and “good ghost” Sandy must restore the town to normal by midnight before it is too late and the curse becomes permanent.

When the local police do not take Phil and Sandy’s warning seriously, Phil manages to get his father’s hunting rifle to make silver bullets from his father’s silver coins. When the couple ventures to the Halloween party, they discover everyone turned into undead zombies, vampires, witches or other evil beings. Phil manages to get the Grenville Spirit Ring from the zombie Vinnie.  Phil and Sandy drive back to the town’s cemetery to break into Grenville’s crypt to take his remains to use to seal the scroll just as Lucinda and a horde of undead arrive and attack. Cornered in Phil’s car, he and Sandy manage to use candle wax to seal the parchment scroll and in a flash, Sandy and all of the undead vanish, plus the wounds that Phil sustains during this event disappear and the damage to his car is also gone as if the entire event never happened.

Phil finds himself all alone in the cemetery where he finds Sandy’s grave and finally learns that she has been one of the undead too, but that restoring the damage done has also made Sandy disappear too. As the time turns twelve midnight, Phil begins to drive back to town when he hears a music dedication on his car radio from ‘Sandy’ in devoting a song to him implying that she will always be looking after him from beyond the grave.


The Midnight Hour had its world premiere on ABC on Friday, November 1, 1985.  Vidmark released The Midnight Hour on VHS in May 1989. Anchor Bay Entertainment released it on Region 1 DVD on September 19, 2000. The film was previously released on VHS by Anchor Bay Entertainment on July 20, 1999. Both releases of the film are out of print and are extremely rare among collectors.  Source:  Wikipedia; IMDB.

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