Dead by Midnight (Y2Kill) is the unexpected follow-up to Dead by Midnight (11pm Central). And I say unexpected because despite being a fun collection of stories, it pretty much stayed under everyone’s radar. But enough people did see it that a second film got greenlighted, and with a big enough budget to include a couple of genre heavyweights.
The film opens with The Mistress of Midnight (Erin Brown, aka Misty Mundae, Mother Noose Presents Once Upon a Nightmare, Strip Club Massacre) sitting around Hell, Googling for reviews of the first film and unleashing her wrath on those who didn’t give it a thumbs up.
From here we leap to The Temptress (Hannah Fierman, St. Agatha, Haven’s End) introducing the first segment “Hellevangelist” which she also directed and co-wrote with Josh Wilcox. It’s a tale of Edey (Marilyn Light, Bleed, Clandestine Lifes) a devout follower of Televangelist Sethery Michaelson (Seth Michaels, Transference, Haunting Charles Manson) the self-proclaimed “Pancreas of the Lord”. It’s a pity such a sweet old woman is being fleeced by such a conman. Or is she? It’s an amusing if slightly obvious, story with a bloody, EC Comics style payoff.
Kane Hodder (Knifecorp, Scanner Cop II) turns up as himself in a commercial for Murderol, a new drug that lets him leave his murderous impulses on the set. “Stop killing people. Start killing time.”
That’s the basic structure Dead by Midnight (Y2Kill) follows. The Temptress introduces the segments we see and, since this is WKIZ’s Halloween special, we also get commercials and public service announcements. And The Mistress of Midnight chimes in from Hell with her opinions. It’s a rather busy format but it does maximize the amount of material they can jam into ninety-six minutes.
The next segment, “Jasper” is about a Looney Tunes style cat named Jasper, voiced by Bill Moseley (Sin Eater, Crepitus), who gets loose in the real world where his violent antics have all too real consequences for his creator’s daughter Julia (Melissa Haas) and her wife Allie (Charis Jeffers, Find a Way, Inara, the Jungle Girl) and those around them. Written by Melissa Haas and directed by Torey Haas it’s somewhere between a darker Who Framed Roger Rabbit? And a less sleazy Terror Toons.
Dead by Midnight (Y2Kill)’ s third segment, “Clean UR Room” is the tale of Trevor (Daniel Rashid, Beast Beast, Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight) who learns the hard way he should have listened to his mother and cleaned up his mess. Written by Jacklyn Edney and directed by Anissa Matlock it’s not bad, but it’s nothing special either.
“Gutcruncher”, the last of Dead by Midnight (Y2Kill)’s segments features pro wrestler Logan Creed in the title role as a creature, a Blue Demon that even Santo wouldn’t want to deal with. But thanks to Coach Tanglewood (Tommy Grillo, The Lost Footage, Decalogue) the three wimpiest guys in the school are going to have to face him in the ring. An amusing sendup of gym teachers, wrestling and cheerleaders, it ends the stories and takes us into the wraparound’s wrap-up. That includes a cameo by Linnea Quigley (New York Ninja, Camp Twilight).
I’ve left out most of Dead by Midnight (Y2Kill)’s commercials because they’re mostly extremely short, one-note zingers that would take longer to read about than watch. They range from a vampire running for office to a murderous AI home assistant to Cleanslate, the cleaner that can erase the evidence of even the messiest crimes.
While not as much fun as the original, Dead by Midnight (Y2Kill) is still a better-than-average anthology. Even its weakest segments won’t have you reaching for the fast forward button, even if you do wish they’d paid more attention to what made the original so good.