Don't rub the Lamp the wrong way!
Deep from the bowels of straight-to-video hell, comes The Lamp (aka The Outing), with a body count higher than a 42nd Street Prostitute. Don't expect Robin Williams to come out, expect something much sinister...
After a group of dastardly goons rob and murder an old woman in her quiet and dusty manor, they unleash a malignant genie, named Jinn, from an ancient magical lamp, set on vengeance and rage after being held captive in said lamp for hundreds of years.
Once the Lamp is acquired by a museum in search of antique artifacts, the plot thickens as Alex Wallace, daughter of the museum's supervisor, gathers her friends for a night of mischief and partying by sneaking into the museum to stay overnight. Little do her and her clueless companions know, that something is trapped in there with them, and all it wants is to claim countless victims, and seek out a new 'keeper'. As people go missing, and bodies start to pile up, do Alex and her friends have what it takes to escape? Or will Jinn see to it that no soul gets out of the museum alive.
With an extremely promising setting and premise, The Lamp (aka The Outing) delivers in so many ways. From its extremely fast jump to stakes, to its extremely slow and warranted reveal of the dreaded Jinn, you can be sure that enough effort and passion was thrown into this project to really hit you where your love for cheesy, practical effect-drenched horror might dwell. The idea of an ancient demon awaiting its release from a priceless lamp artifact is already enough on its own, but adding that with the setting of a museum in lock down, with a bunch of dimwitted kids running around unbeknownst to the terror that may lie behind every corner, just oozes with satisfaction when comparing this film to so many cookie cutter 'set in the woods' slashers that were being released at the time (not to say I'm not a sucker for those as well).
As stated, the 'monster of the week' Jinn is an extremely promising creature, though some fat on the meat is lacking, as Jinn's powers and abilities are somewhat vague and almost unrestricted at times. Perhaps this was intentional to hammer home the sheer terror and godlike power of the ageless being, but it does feel less refreshing at times when the characters never feel truly safe from his wrath. For instance, it can reek havoc without seemingly batting an eye, and his presence is notably established in relation to where it is in the museum, until his true form is eventually revealed in the closing final act and it appears his powers have become limited, unable to cast his abilities in areas that he isn't in, whereas before the physical reveal, that was no problem to Jinn.
The acting is... great! About as good as you can get in a low budget creature feature film from the 80's and I'm not complaining. The soundtrack pops off with an eerie and whimsical chime at times (even questioning the legitimacy of a certain John Williams track from Harry Potter but I won't get into that). The Cinematography is nothing out of the ordinary, however once the Jinn becomes more prevalent in the film, the camera moves with a more shaking and swaying approach which I admire, most notably when the Jinn chases several characters down various corridors and rooms.
Directed by: Tom Daley
Starring: Deborah Winters, James Huston, Andra St. Ivanyi, Danny Daniels, Barry Coffing, Jackson Bostwick
1987 / 92 min / 1.85:1 / English Stereo
• Region A Blu-ray
• Newly scanned & restored in 2k from its 35mm interpositive
• “All in the Family: Taking an Outing in the Lamp” - an extended making-of documentary with: writer/producer Warren Chaney, executive producer Fred T. Kuehnert, along with actors Deborah Winters, Andra St. Ivanyi, André Chimène, Hank Amigo, Michelle Watkins and Barry Coffing
• Commentary track with writer/producer Warren Chaney, actress Deborah Winters and actor Barry Coffing (moderated by Zack Carlson)
• Original theatrical trailer
• Reversible cover artwork
• English SDH subtitles
Stunningly upgraded from Scream Factory's initial release (titled under the North American name 'The Outing'), the film was upgraded, newly scanned and restored in 2K from it's 35mm interpositive, and released in a limited edition blu-ray release with an embossed slipcover portraying the original theatrical art. Containing a 92 minute cut with with a wealth of special features such as a making of documentary, interviews, commentary track and more!
There's more to this release then just the film itself, encased in the disc is a fantastic extended making of documentary that dives into the making of the film and all the blood, sweat and tears that came with it. “All in the Family: Taking an Outing in the Lamp” is an extended making-of documentary with: writer/producer Warren Chaney, executive producer Fred T. Kuehnert, along with actors Deborah Winters, Andra St. Ivanyi, André Chimène, Hank Amigo, Michelle Watkins and Barry Coffing. Another nice little nugget of the extensive information behind the film is the commentary track with writer/producer Warren Chaney, actress Deborah Winters and actor Barry Coffing (moderated by Zack Carlson), which though might repeat a lot of what is stated in the newly produced documentary, you get the occasional snippet of extra tidbits.
Reviewed and edited by Joel Brady