Newest Reviews
Whoopee Boys, The
Set, The
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death Walks in Laredo
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Newest Articles
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
  Midnight Madness Fagabeefe?Buy this film here.
Year: 1980
Director: Michael Nankin, David Wechter
Stars: David Naughton, Debra Clinger, Stephen Furst, Maggie Roswell, Eddie Deezen, Brad Wilkin, Alan Solomon, David Damas, Michael J. Fox, Patricia Alice Albrecht, Andy Tennant, Brian Frishman, Joel Kenney, Sal Lopez, Robyn Petty, Dirk Blocker, Paul Reubens
Genre: Comedy
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Two rollerskating girls are visiting five specific college students around the campus and handing over colour-coded envelopes. When Adam (David Naughton) receives his, he asks them what this is about and who has sent them, only to be told it's a secret. Intrigued, he and his four fellow students who got their invitations attend a room that evening, only to have their sense of anticipation deflated when the chap who sent out the envelopes makes his presence apparent: it's resident brainbox Leon (Alan Solomon) and he has a game for them to play. He has spent months working it out, so if they'd all like to assemble on Friday night they can begin. As if they would!

Disney's first PG-rated movie was The Black Hole, but what was their second? Why, it was Midnight Madness, which happened to be released around the same time of the similar Scavenger Hunt, and was a flop into the bargain. Even though they had kept quiet about the House of Mouse involvement to try and bring in a hipper audience, this film was yet another example of their floundering during the eighties where their hit rate was far fewer than their substantial miss rate. And yet, over the years it garnered a following when it showed up on television, so that, like the other Disney flops of this time, it too can be counted a cult movie.

The men behind this ambitious project were writer-directors Michael Nankin and David Wechter, both of whom chiefly ended up working in TV (although Nankin penned another cult teen movie, The Gate, as well). It had obviously been carefully planned and no clue in the game is a mere throwaway bit of business, with the players having to think hard about where they're supposed to be heading. They need some persuading to compete, but when their pride is at stake they are determined to succeed and there is no dead wood amongst them, indeed the contest grows pretty heated with the less scrupulous resorting to cheating.

The yellow team, that is Adam's, are the heroes so if you fancy a spot of solving the problem of who will finally triumph then you might care to place a bet on them. This might have been better if it had been more like Wacky Races where the audience weren't sure who would win, as apart from the villainous blue team led by Stephen Furst's Harold the others tend towards comic relief. The red team, led by future Simpsons voice talent Maggie Roswell, are all-female, with no time for men, the white team are the nerds led by - of course - Eddie Deezen and the green team are a bunch of hard-drinking jocks. They all get their chance to solve the clues after a fashion, and it's quite easy to get caught up in it all.

However, this is a Disney movie so someone had the bright idea to bring Adam's young brother Michael J. Fox into the equation. As the yellows zoom about Los Angeles by night, they spot the boy running away from home and this builds up to a tearful reunion between the brothers, with Adam admitting that he has been neglecting his sibling all this time. Plonked into a wealth of lowest common denominator jokes about fat people and their appetites, this wholesome family aspect sticks out like a sore thumb, but what really makes an impression are the attempts to make a kid's film edgy. This means gags about virginity, spying on a woman undressing with an observatory telescope and one of the clues hidden between two melons, except Leon doesn't mean the fruit. Midnight Madness summons energy enough to last its near-two hour running time and if it's nowhere close to being cool in spite of their best efforts, it is diverting, its overpowering lack of cool being oddly hypnotic. Music by Julius Wechter.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 2267 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton


Last Updated: