Director – Tom Daley
Starring – Deborah Winters (Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo, CBS Playhouse), James Huston (ABC Afterschool Specials, Powder), and Andra St. Ivanyi
Release Date – 1987
Rating – 3/5
Blu Release – 3.5/5
Several years ago I snagged a Scream Factory DVD that included four movies for an insanely great price. The movies were hit and miss but as a collector I found myself over the moon with this release. One of the films in that release was The Outing from 1987. The movie was a lot of fun and one that I had watched a few times since originally snagging that DVD.
A few weeks back Vinegar Syndrome announced the blu release of The Lamp which is an alternative title for The Outing. It was cool owning the set with the film on DVD but I was really looking forward to owning a Vin Syn release on blu. I quickly snagged it when it became available for pre-order.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows a group of students who decide to spend the night in a museum so they can party without being interrupted. However, what they don’t know is that an evil djinn has escaped the prison of an ancient lamp and is killing everyone there one by one. **Spoiler Alert**
The Outing is not an amazing film. In fact, it is as far from perfect as a movie can get but the cheesy 80s dialogue, wardrobe, and choppy story still comes together to create something that I enjoy especially for a late night horror treat.
The acting in this one is nothing spectacular. The characters are very dull and none of them really stand out. The cast seemed to be having fun on set and some of the deaths scenes were very well acted but their lack of energy and memorable personalities makes this one fall below the cheapest slasher film from the 80s in regards to acting.
The story for this one is like a supernatural slasher that has some fun elements along with some not-so fun elements. I really enjoyed the djinn killing the teenagers with the relics in the museum. It gave the viewer a little something different than your standard cat and mouse horror film. Also, the ideology and mythos around the djinn is a very under utilized creature for horror film. In fact, their terrifying mythos has been glamorized over the years especially after the release of Disney’s Aladdin. It’s refreshing to see a movie tackle the djinn and keep the horror aspect intact. With that being said, the film tries to combine layer upon layer with the story which doesn’t work as well as they would have liked. The father and his fiance side story helps with establishing the daughter had lied but having them stalked by her ex-boyfriend and his goon could have been left out. It does nothing for the story. The pacing for this one is fairly solid. We get a few slower scenes but they eventually pick up without throwing away the tension the film slowly builds.
Finally, the film has some fun and bloody deaths. As I stated earlier, the film almost flows like a slasher so we get some slasher like kills with the murder weapons being artifacts and antiques. It’s fun and the practical effects are good enough to make the death enjoyable. Sadly, the visual effects are extremely campy. Personally, I enjoyed them but I know some of you will shit yourself because you refuse to have a good time. Overall, The Lamp is not going to be for everyone but fans of 80s horror can appreciate what this film tries to deliver. I love that we get something different with the evil djinn instead of your normal masked slasher or another overused supernatural entity. The blu from Vin Syn looks great and I’m glad they went with The Lamp instead of The Outing because the artwork for The Lamp is so much better. Check it out.
Region A Blu-ray
Newly scanned & restored in 2k from its 35mm interpositive
“All in the Family: Taking an Outing in the Lamp” – an extended making-of documentary with: writer/producer Warren Chaney, executive producer Fred T. Kuehnert, along with actors Deborah Winters, Andra St. Ivanyi, André Chimène, Hank Amigo, Michelle Watkins and Barry Coffing
Commentary track with writer/producer Warren Chaney, actress Deborah Winters and actor Barry Coffing (moderated by Zack Carlson)
Original theatrical trailer
Reversible cover artwork
English SDH subtitles