Night Shadow (1989)

nightshadow0220 horror movies for $5; what could possibly go wrong.  Part XII.

Infobabe Alex Jung is shown leaving KLOF studios.  There is a KLOF in Wyoming, but this seems to be California.  Also, KLOF is a radio station.

Having been offered a big promotion, she is heading back to her hometown of Danford to mull it over.  Reaching the town, she sees a Mansonesque man on the side of the road beside a car.  She wisely drives on.  An old friend of hers stops to help and is killed for his friendliness.

In the next scene, we are introduced to Kato Kaelin, best known as a friend of OJ Simpson during his murder trial.  Sadly for him, it is impossible for anyone of a certain age not to make that association.  He doesn’t help himself here with the giant mullet, but it was the 80’s.

While he is making out with his girlfriend, a couple of guys burst through the front door.  One is wielding a rifle, the other is wearing a Freddy Krueger bladed glove, and both have stockings over their faces.  After briefly scaring the couple to death, the two reveal themselves to be Kato’s friends and they all have a good laugh . . .  at them peeking in at the couple making out; and eavesdropping; and breaking down the door; and pointing a rifle at them.  In the friend department, that Kato sure has a type.


Christ, if there were pasta in the fridge, they’d be going all Lady and the Tramp.

The scariest part is the er, camaraderie of the three guys.  For a bunch of 30 year old guys, they are they most giggly bunch of 12 year old girls I’ve ever seen.  By that age, my father had been in 2 wars.  I had been in no wars by 30, but did shoot a man in Reno just to watch him die.

The one minor spark of life in the entire movie is when they close the front door and it falls off the hinges.  That’s it.  That’s the high point.  Of the whole movie.

Alex meets her brother at the local diner.  For reasons unexplained, he is Chinese.  In a good movie, that might be an interesting quirk, even more-so if uncommented upon.  Here, it mostly annoyed me.  I suspect they hired a Chinese actor just because the role called for some chop-socky later.  Across the diner, Alex locks eyes with Manson-man again.  There is clearly some sort of connection because there are several seconds of their faces with lightning bolts appearing in front of them.

nightshadow06The Sheriff happens by and breaks the trance.  When Alex looks back at the bar, Manson-man is gone.

Three bodies have shown up in Danford bearing signs of an animal attack; although one of them animals what throws his leftovers in a dumpster or car trunk.  By this point, some sort of hint of what this movie is about is long overdue for the audience.  However, rather than any exposition or foreshadowing, we get another shot of Alex and Manson-man locking lightning eyes.

Finally at 58 minutes in, the film decides it is about a wolfman.  Kato Kaelin does an excruciating homage to Bill Murray from Caddyshack.  The wolfman then kills Kaelin by . . . slashing his jugular?  Biting a chunk out of his neck?  Disemboweling him with a razor-sharp claw?  No, the wolfman runs him through with a pipe.  Don’t get me wrong, I think we were all happy to see it, and it was long overdue.  It just doesn’t exactly play to the strengths of a wolfman-American.

Eventually the wolfman is pinned against a building by a police car.  Alex’s brother takes a few shots at the car, and is able cause the gas tank to burst into flames.  So we don’t even get a silver bullet for our 90 minutes.

Trying to be positive, Brenda Vance as Alex was very watchable; given some decent material, she could have had a solid career.  Beyond her, there is not much to like.  Not the script, not the infantile acting, not the effects.  This movie has pretty much gotten the resting place it deserves.


  • As long as the OJ trial was mentioned, I feel compelled to point out the role that Kim Kardashian’s father had in getting him acquitted.
  • I can’t find a single US city named Danford, which seems odd.
  • Stuart Quan had quite the career in acting and stunt work.  Sad that of this mediocre bunch, he was the one to die young.  At 43, he lost consciousness after snowboarding and died.
  • In retrospect, I might have hard that Reno thing in a song.
  • OK, this guy wasn’t bad:


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