Reviewed byemingesVote: 7/10/10
I don't remember what link originally took me to the listing for NightWarning, but it's been a while. I lucked out and saw a showing at a localweird-film society last year; a couple of months ago I finally found a copywith a little green price tag on the box sitting on a shelf in Tulsa,Oklahoma.
Whatever it takes. Whatever you have to do to get this on your VCR andmastered directly onto your brain. Let nothing stand between you and yourown personal copy of Night Warning. Night Warning is as bent as it gets inmainstream filmmaking, and that special time from the mid-seventies to themid-eighties where a project like this could get funded and shot is goneforever.
The one big problem with the film is the director. William Asher isn't upto the script and the cast. He's strictly a TV director, so when the goinggets weird, he gets pedestrian. It's not laughably bad or even amusinglylame, but his direction is the only reason this thing isn't showing todayatmidnight movies in every college town in the Western Hemisphere.
Here's what you get for the price of your ticket: Bo Swenson being hatefulbeyond anything you'd ever imagined he was capable of. Julia Duffy'sdelightful, unencumbered young paps. Jimmy McNichol-well, OK, JimmyMcNichol is at least credible as a goofy, messed-up 17-year-old. Amind-boggling script that'll make you yell, `What were these people ON?' atthe screen till your date walks out on you. Did I mention Julia Duffy'smammae?
And, man, do you get Susan Tyrrell, as Aunt Cheryl. You only think shewentover the top in Forbidden Zone. Brudda, she wasn't even limbering UP. InNight Warning, you get her horny. You get her maternal. You get herunctuous, you get her as tigress guarding the cub. And you get herflippingout, not once, but repeatedly and at regular intervals, each time in a newand creative fashion. Is there no justice in this life? Why is SusanTyrrell going to pass her career in obscurities and cult movies, whileambulatory bubble-wrap like Florence Henderson gets a career doingbig-moneydenture commercials and nostalgia shows behind one crappy role from theFordpresidency?
The payoff comes at around 1:17 into the movie, when Aunt Cheryl, doinguglythings in the underbrush, hears Julia Duffy breaking a window in the house.Ms. Tyrrell's reaction is the single scariest move I've ever seen an actormake on film. It will make you hide under the bed for a week, praying thatGod will send flying bears with spears to find you and rip out your liverbefore He lets Susan Tyrrell get within two area codes of your hidey-hole.Genuine nightmare fuel.
Find it, learn it, live it.
Reviewed byAngryChairVote: 10/10/10
The strongest of horror films always seems to be those whose victimsare sympathetic and whose villains are mercilessly frightening. NightWarning is a testament to just that!
Young man becomes the unhealthy obsession of his aunt, who raised him,which leads him into a web of madness and murder!
Night Warning is a relatively unknown film, which is a shame because itis a truly effective and fairly original thriller. The story is veryintriguing, full of mystery, suspense, and some solid shocks. A bigpart of the originality factor of this film is the fact that the storydares to explore subjects very rarely touched upon by most genrepictures, such as incest, homosexuality, and the question of whatmorally right really is. It is a complex and emotionally strong tale,that's gripping in a way that few thrillers ever are.
The excellent cast is another strong feature of this movie. Bo Svensonis solid as a homophobic police detective. A young Jimmy McNichol istouching as an attractive teen desperately trying to have a normallife. The greatest of all though is Susan Tyrrell as one of the mostdemented villains you'll ever see! Also among the cast is a young BillPaxton in one of his earliest roles.
Night Warning is a terrific shocker that seems to have been lost overtime, but for those seeking a truly jarring genre picture it is wellworth finding a copy of!
**** out of ****
Reviewed byBillyBCVote: /10
(***1/2 out of *****)I'm surprised this one isn't talked about more (at least, on a schlocky,cult-classic level). It's awesome! Susan Tyrrell ("Flesh & Blood") playsCheryl Roberts, a frighteningly unstable woman who has to raise hernephew,Billy (Jimmy McNichol), when his parents are killed in a gruesome caraccident in the opening scene. Aunt Cheryl's overaffectionate behaviortowards her 17-year-old nephew sets the creepy tone for this movie fromthefirst five minutes, but the main plot starts after she stabs a plumber todeath for refusing her sexual advances. She claims that he was trying torape her, so a police investigation starts up that uncovers dark, pastsecrets and a homosexual love affair between the plumber, Billy'sbasketballcoach (Steve Eastin), and possibly Billy himself. Bo Svenson, acting alittle like a gruff, B-movie Nick Nolte, chews up his scenes as theblindlyhomophobic Detective Carlson. But, Tyrrell is the real star here -- herprogression from disturbing, obsessive aunt to all-out, screaming,homicidalmadwoman is something to watch. This would probably be a two-star movieorless without her wonderfully tongue-in-cheek performance. On top of that,you get "Newhart"'s Julia Duffy as Billy's girlfriend (if you everfantasized about seeing Stephanie Vanderkellen topless, here's yourchance)and Bill Paxton (credited as `William'), a year after his scene-stealingrole in the otherwise-mediocre slasher "Mortuary," in a couple of funscenesas an a-hole b-ball teammate. My two big complaints with the film are thedirector's annoying use of slow motion every time someone's about todelivera killing blow with one sharp weapon or another and a ridiculous textualepilogue (the kind you usually see at the ends of movies based on truestories) that appears before the end credits roll. Also, the front of thevideo box seems to be referring to a different movie ... ? Otherwise,huntthis one down and watch it with someone you love.
HIGHLIGHT: Everything that happens after Tyrrell cuts her hair short is ahighlight, because that's when she goes completely off the deep end andearns her place in B-movie cinema's Hall of Over-The-TopPerformances.
Since the death of his parents fourteen years ago, Billy Lynch has been raised by his over-protective aunt Cheryl. But once he turns seventeen, he is soon set on planning his life...without her. He's planing on going on to college and is dating local girl Julie. None of which sits well for his aunt, who's lost everyone else in her life and now with her nephew ready to leave, ensures she starts on a campaign to keep him with her...forever.But as her plans misfire she becomes swept up in a cycle of psychosis and frenzied violence all being blamed on Billy by everyone else...including a homophobic detective, who's anti-gay prejudice is steadily reaching its zenith...leading to an unforeseeable outcome.