Midnight Movie: The Killer Cut (DVD Review)

When you think about it, horror movies are a lot like the hamburgers you get at McDonald’s.  McDonald’s seems to have no qualms about the fact that just about everyone agrees their food sucks, mainly because people continue consuming it.  They take the cheapest, weakest ingredients and mash ’em together to create a product that– while hungover or drunk– might seem like a good idea, but one that loses a lot of its appeal once the booze wears off and common sense kicks in.  Similarly, studios have always treated horror films as a dirty little (not-so-secret) secret, churning out titles (all of which are destined to end up cluttering the clearance bin at Wal-Mart) with alarming rapidity simply because they know that the ill-informed, the drunk, and the hungover will always have an appetite for them.  Whereas McDonald’s “cheap ingredients” might include grade-D beef and more than a little rat feces, studios’ “cheap ingredients” include grade-D actors and…well, more than a little rat feces.  All of this is a very longwinded– and entirely unnecessary– was of getting to this:  when you’re trolling the bargain bins and bottom-shelves of the world, you never know what you’re gonna get.   Sometimes, you’ll find an unexpected gem (like Brad Anderson’s criminally-underseen Session 9), and sometimes you’ll get exactly what you kinda-sorta expected you’d get:  a bad movie with lame special effects, even lamer kills, and a cast of “actors” that couldn’t emote convincingly with a gun to their head.  It brings me no pleasure to tell you that Jack Messitt’s Midnight Movie: The Killer Cut is one of the latter, but I’m going to go ahead and take what pleasure I can in slapping the movie around, anyway.  After all, it wasted my time and bored me to tears– the way I see it, the least I can do is make sure that you’re entertained while reading about my boredom.



Midnight Movie is, inexplicably, a film I’d heard about before a review copy was sent to me by the fine folks at  WhySoBlu.com.  I say “inexplicably” because, when a budget-title horror film with no stars to speak of directed by a dude no one’s ever heard of manages to land on my radar, it generally means that the film itself is something special, something worth seeking out.  Midnight Movie was, in fact, offered to me amongst a list of other movies by WhySoBlu HQ, and I specifically chose it because I’d heard about it.  In retrospect, I realize that I hadn’t “heard” anything particularly good about the film, just that I’d heard about it.  From this, we can determine that– if nothing else– Midnight Movie had a successful marketing campaign.

The film stars a bunch of people you’re not familiar with (and one that you might be:  Rebekah Brandes, who kicks ass in Evan Glodell’s Bellflower, appears here, but– unlike Glodell’s film– the script fails her), so I won’t bother listing out the cast members.  All you need to know is this:  Jack Messitt’s Midnight Movie tells the story of a group of twentysomethings/teenagers (all of whom look suspiciously like they’re in their 30’s) gathering for a movie screening in some podunk town’s podunk movie theater.  We are made to understand that the film they’re screening is a cult classic, one directed by a guy who escaped from a loony bin several years before.  Said loony also stars in the film, and so this “cult classic” has a reputation that precedes it.

The “characters” are really just “types”:  there are two couples, one of which is clearly the “good couple” (the other is the “obnoxious couple”, including a dude who’s like the walking, talking embodiment of an Ed Hardy t-shirt);  there’s a “movie geek” type, who embarrasses himself by farting after eating Raisinets;  there’s the “punk chick” who works at the counter.  We also get a couple of cops– both of whom have arrived at the theater to investigate the possibility that the escaped loony might show up to a screening of his most infamous film (or something)– and a “biker couple”, just in case the script calls for a handful of disposable side-characters.  Once the movie-within-a-movie begins, it becomes apparent that the “cult classic” all of these people have gathered to watch is something else entirely:  soon enough, the kid working the concession stand is being killed onscreen, something that– as you well know–only rarely happens.  This gives our idiotic cast of characters pause, and shortly after that, they’re playing cat-and-mouse inside this lame-ass movie theater with a killer who may or may not be the guy starring in the movie-within-a-movie and blah, blah, blah…

Honestly, it doesn’t matter.  There’s a kernel of an interesting idea here (one that I think was used to greater effect in the Masters of Horror episode “Cigarette Burns”), but it’s been developed into the same old, tired-ass slasher movie:  there’s a “slasher”-type, a dude with a mildly-interesting-for-two-seconds mask and a “unique weapon” (his is a giant, unwieldy corkscrew-looking thing), and he hunts and kills everyone in the theater.  Eventually, secrets are revealed, most of the cast is dead, and by the time the credits roll, all you can think is, “Why the hell did I hear of this movie again?”  At least, that’s what I was thinking.

With a movie like this, you can generally tell within the first ten minutes if this is going to be a “good” horror movie (one you’ll end up recommending, owning, or watching more than once) a “bad” horror movie (one where the gore-effects and “kills” will make it worth watching through at least once), or a “terrible” horror movie.  Midnight Movie took a little longer than that, because– if I’m remembering this correctly– it took an inordinate amount of time to get to the slasher’s first kill…at which time it was revealed that Midnight Movie didn’t even have the common courtesy to deliver worthwhile “kills”. The kills are flat, often happening just off-screen (couldn’t afford gore effects?  Then what was the point?  That money must’ve gone to the film’s “internet awareness” campaign), and don’t offer anything in the way of originality.  Combined with the terrible acting, lame plot, and uninspired direction, this one falls directly into the “terrible horror movie” category.  Good job, everyone-involved!



It’s a DVD, so of course this one’s standard definition:  yes, you’re going to experience all this crappiness in the most mediocre video format money can buy.  Aren’t you lucky?


The audio’s a bit muddy, just slightly worse than the standard video.  But, really, did you buy this one for the A/V?

Special Features 

Let’s say you hate good movies, but you love extensive special features:  will Midnight Movie be worth your dime?  Yes, actually.  Midnight Movie comes packaged with a variety of extras, including:


  • “Creative Team”:  A featurette on the “creative team” behind the film (the phrase “I do not think that word means what you think it means” comes to mind)
  • “Cast”:  A featurette on the cast, which you won’t want to watch
  • “A Storyboard Comparison”:  Which shows us that Messitt’s “creative team” was just as good as storyboarding bad horror as they were at translating it to the screen.
  • “Storyboard/VFX”:  You’re getting sleepy.
  • “Destroying The Illusion”:  Are you asleep yet?
  • “Deleted Scenes”:  None of which are any good, so it’s a good thing that you’re asleep.
  • “Outtakes”:  (While you’re asleep, Jack Messitt goes through your wallet, takes a $20 bill)
  • “Trailers”:  (You wake up, alone and confused, wondering how you got here)

And, finally, the “Director’s Commentary”, just in case you wanted to know how this weak-sauce horror film got made.  All things considered, it’s a pretty stout special features package, and it does feature the “Director’s Cut” of the film (that’s the “Killer Cut” referenced in the title).  Again, the movie’s no good, but I can’t blame the special features for that.  As such, the special features gets a three out of four.

Final Thoughts 

There’s a reason that we can so easily compare the horror genre to a fast food purveyor, folks, and movies like Midnight Movie are it.  The sad truth is this:  until studios start putting as much time, money, and effort into their horror offerings as they do their Oscar-bait films, we’re still going to have to root through all the Midnight Movies to get to those precious Session 9‘s.


Order Midnight Movie: The Killer Cut on DVD!


4 Responses to “Midnight Movie: The Killer Cut (DVD Review)”

  1. Gerard Iribe

    Hysterical, Scott! I was rolling. Welcome to the WSB family, bro! I look forward to more of your reviews in the future.

  2. Brian White

    Welcome to the family Scott! “Killer” review!

  3. Scott Wampler

    Thank you, sirs! Happy to be onboard.

  4. Mary

    Welcome Scott! I look forward to reading more of your reviews! =)