Out of the Dark

Like a lot of horror movies Out of the Dark starts off with a mission statement: the cold open depicts a frightened man being murdered in his own home by a pack of feral ghost children. That scene immediately announces "hey y'all, I hope you like movies about miniature unruly ghouls running amok, cause that's what you're gonna get!" So when the first post-credits scene featured a well-dressed family getting off an airplane while musing about how awesome their new house was going to be I immediately knew "oh, they haven't googled that address yet; they probably don't know that the neighborhood's day care facilities are, shall we say, less than excellent."

Indeed, the Harriman family does end up moving into that dead guy's house and yes, they are promptly assaulted by ill-behaved undead tots. The attacks start slow - at first the ghosts are just trying to play creepy games with the Harriman's young daughter, but they soon escalate their shenanigans by trapping her in dark places and even taking demonic possession of her body. And then of course there are also a few murder attempts, because evil is a slippery slope and if you start off trying to possess someone's body it is only a matter of time before you get a little stabby. The whole thing is basically a bummer for the Harrimans, because yeah, their house is definitely overflowing with evil spirits that might kill their daughter, but then again it is also pretty mansion-y and there would be so much mortgage related paperwork if they tried to bail... Rock and a hard place, you know?

Out of the Dark is a perfectly acceptable genre movie, but it also puts the "generic" in "genre". (Disclosure: I am not 100% sure how things fit inside other things.)  However, the nice thing about watching a movie that doesn't require too much of you is that you are perfectly free to let your mind wander while it blares on in the background. And boy howdy did my mind wander! For example, I kept thinking about how ghosts might be the most dickish of all the major monsters.

Here's my logic: most monsters are motivated by nothing more than their animal desires. Yes, it would be very unpleasant to be attacked by a werewolf or a zombie or the average non-Dracula vampire, but it would also make some sort of sense. They are hungry and you are edible and in range. The fact that they are targeting their victims for justifiable reasons means that while they are definitely being mean they aren't being dicks.

However ghosts don't work that way: for the most part they are motivated by specific grudges that they want to settle. Which is all well and good; you have to respect someone who is so determined to correct a perceived slight that they are willing to fight their way back to Earth from the afterlife. My problem is that ghosts almost never try to settle those scores in any reasonable way. Sometimes they go after the person that wronged them, but mostly they just want to hurt anyone who happens to be nearby regardless of whether that person had anything to do with the original offense. (The guy who died in the cold open had harmed those kids; the Harrimans, however, were completely innocent.) That is nonsensical and halfassed - and thus they are being dicks.

Plus: the punishments they dole out are often way more harsh than the initial infraction. Plus: they are very willing to lay claim to shit (like the Harriman's house) even if it wasn't theirs when they were alive. Plus: even though they generally have clear-cut agenda items they could try to settle through negotiation they refuse to use their words; they just want to attack, attack, and attack. Like I said: dicks.

Well, she's definitely in the dark. But will she... get out of it?

Well, she's definitely in the dark. But will she... get out of it?

So, that was a fun diversion for a while. But here's the thing: this movie kept going long after I was tired of musing about how dickish ghosts were.

Fortunately, Out of the Dark was the gift that kept on giving. You see, there are a lot of children in this movie - packs and packs of them. Which made me wonder: did the script bother to name all of those kids, or would they be listed in the credits as "phantom tyke #4"? And that got me to thinking about how two of my oldest friends just told me that they are about to become dads, and how I should probably help them brainstorm a few baby names. So here's some of the best ones that I came up with during this movie's back half:

Boy Names:

Bubkis Augustus

Terence Trent D'Urberville

Waldorf Wagstaff

Solomon Sasquatch-Schubert

Cannibal Wizard

Milquetoast Wharburtonton

Greedo Nascar

Bono CherDonna

Sylvester Stall-one Direction

Calvin Cumin

Vanilla Ice Storm-Nado

Jeremiah Klonopin-Jones

Ozymandias Ochocinco

For Girls:

Sisqo Caligula

Ebola Bouillabaisse

Cumulonimbus Sprite

Hufflepuff Vulcan-Wookie

Prussia Pilates

Cleopatra Kumbaya

Luigi Koopa-Princess

Janice Jujubes

Madison Barker-Dongle

Taser Shallot

Zoe Chloe Flubber


Perrier Fiagaro-Zima

So, there you go. That's 13 for each gender and thus 26 total - which means that no matter what letter of the alphabet your last name starts with there should be something that you can work with. But just remember: after you've named your kid you have to try to keep them from becoming a ghost, because ghosts are dicks, and any parent that would let their kid become a dick is an asshole.

Winner: Draw

Out of the Dark on IMDB