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Film / The Dark (1979)

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After fear... beyond terror... there is THE DARK!

The Dark is a 1979 American Sci-Fi Horror film directed by John Cardos, starring William Devane, Cathy Lee Crosby, Richard Jaeckel, Keenan Wynn, and Casey Kasem.

An alien creature lands in Los Angeles, and starts killing random people. Nicknamed "the Mangler" for its brutality, the creature evades authorities at every turn. A detective, a television reporter and an author try to hunt the being down, but they're having no luck either. They then contact a psychic to stop the horror forever.

Not to be confused with the 2005 or 2018 films of the same name.

This film contains examples of:

  • Ax-Crazy: The Mangler crashes onto Earth and immediately starts killing random people, seemingly For the Evulz.
  • Covers Always Lie: The poster depicts a cosmically huge, godlike decaying form looming colossal over a burning city, dispassionately consigning hapless humans with a single white eye beam, honestly looking like concept art for a retro sci-fi New Gods movie. The actual movie is a mostly dull Detective Drama with the killer being an alien that can shoot energy eye-beams clearly added as an afterthought, and virtually nothing on the cover is true, unless it was intended to be really, really symbolic.
  • Eye Beams: The Mangler's species can shoot orange lasers from their eyes.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: The Mangler is an alien who crash-lands to Earth and immediately starts killing one person a night and projecting visions to psychics for no apparent reason.
  • Human Aliens: The Mangler looks like a reanimated human corpse. This is because the film was conceived as a zombie movie, but the producers changed it to an alien movie during development.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: One of the protagonists is a horror author.
  • Occult Detective: The film plays out like a mystery where various players are hunting for a Serial Killer, except the killer is an alien. Madame De Renzy gets extra points for also being psychic.
  • Psychic Powers: The Mangler is a telepath, and uses this ability to project visions of its murders onto anybody nearby who has similar abilities.
  • Red Baron: The alien is dubbed "the Mangler" by the press, due to the brutality of its murders.
  • Serial Killer: The Mangler spends the film slaughtering random people, one a night, for unknown reasons. The main characters spend most of the film under the assumption that it's a human serial killer.
  • Villain Opening Scene: The Mangler crashing on Earth and attacking a woman.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The final confrontation between the Mangler and the LAPD is five minutes of the police blasting away with guns of all calibers quite futilely and the Mangler blowing them away with his laser powers, followed by the hero setting it on fire with some random scrap the lasers set ablaze and the Mangler disintegrating (or teleporting away, the film kindly leaves it unanswered) after five seconds of being a humanoid torch.