Calling For More than a Good Time – Out of the Dark (1989)

One could call this a slasher or one could call this an erotic horror but more than anything, it is just a good old-fashioned thriller though ‘good’ might be stretching it a little when describing this film.

Yes, clowns are scary and the loss of human life is horrible if not horrific and both are on display in this movie directed by Michael Schroeder but it would have been nice to have some actual scares, something that would frighten those watching and sadly there was not.  Purportedly, there is some comedy within which would lighten it up a bit, though there was none to be found or at least nothing that was actually funny. By all accounts, there is little to recommend this movie but the cast is something of an enigma in the fact one has to wonder why they agreed to be in this whatsoever. Academy Award nominee Karen Black would star as the owner of the phone sex line while Geoffrey Lewis would go on to play yet another quirky character in a long line of them. Tracey Walter who would appear in almost everything throughout the 1980s and 90s was present as was Emmy nominee Lainie Kaza, not to mention Bud Cort, Divine and even Tab Hunter in a small supporting role. It is almost ridiculous to think that all of these people starred in a film such as this and yet somehow, they all managed to do so. It is a shame too, as the movie is a step down for almost all of them, that is except maybe Lewis who was used to just popping up everywhere.

The killer who dresses as a clown is somewhat disturbing though his kills are fairly tame and PG enough that this movie could have ended up on any cable channel during primetime. The only thing that would have prevented it would be the occasional nudity that would be strewn throughout though very little of it could be termed ‘erotic’. As a horror picture, it featured very little and it would take more than a clown mask and a bit of strangulation to make anybody quake in their boots.

As a whole, Out of the Dark had just enough to keep a person watching, the cheesy dialogue and story barely doing it except for those who would be delivering the lines with the hope that something might be coming along to make it all worthwhile which in the end, never came. A film that barely makes the grade but is interesting enough as it takes place during the days when phone sex was a big thing.

1.5 out of 5

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