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Monday, June 25, 2012

Midnight Offerings

       For those of us who grew up on "Little House On the Prairie" and "The Waltons", then you must remember Melissa Sue Anderson and Mary Beth McDonough- Mary Ingalls and Erin Walton, of course.  And for those of us who grew up on the wonderful made-for-tv horror movies of the 1970s and 80s, MIDNIGHT OFFERINGS is quite the offering indeed. 1981 was an awesome year for horror, and apparently Melissa Sue Anderson was eager to shed her innocent television personality.  

     MIDNIGHT OFFERINGS tells the story of confident and bitchy Vivian, who apparently rules the school.  Vivian is played to icy perfection by Melissa Sue here.  She's popular, she's pretty, and she is dating the high school stud. Viv is the star of the high school, and intends on keeping things that way.  Oh and did I mention Viv owns a black cat and just happens to have a shrine to Satan in her bedroom?  How is that for sheer 80's awesomeness? See, Vivian is a witch, and practices the black magic when things don't go her way.  You just do not dare cross Vivian.

     Fortunately for us,  Robin Prentiss, played by Mary Beth McDonough of "The Waltons", shows up as the new girl in school.  Pretty, but somewhat dull Robin seems to be the opposite of catty Vivian- she's shy, quiet, and mousy... and Viv's stud boyfriend takes an immediate liking to her.  Robin herself also happens to be a witch- although she's a good witch... she just doesn't fully understand the extent of her own powers yet.  Of course, this pisses Viv off to high heaven, and you can guess what happens next, I'm sure...

     MIDNIGHT OFFERINGS was considered quite shocking when it first aired back in 1981. It's really no more than your average made-for-tv fluff, but something about this film in particular left a lasting impression on those of us who caught it back then. There is just something very entertaining about it. It's high camp for sure- besides the gals from "Little House" and "The Waltons", Marion Ross from "Happy Days" shows up as an aging witch who helps Robin channel her powers, Cathryn Damon from "SOAP" as Viv's witch-on-the-wagon mother who strongly disapproves of her daughters' evil doings, and Arthur Carlson from "WKRP In Cincinnati" as Viv's clueless dad.  I know!  It's classic TV heaven!

     This is prime 80's Movie Of The Week stuff here- and oh-so-enjoyable!  God, I loved this movie as a kid.  And I still love that it took itself quite seriously back then- there was no effort whatsoever to be "hip" or "snide", and no constant bombardment of pop culture references.  It is what it is- a teen witch movie, and it embraces it head on.  And that, my dear, is the only way to do a scary movie. Even if it's of the made-for-tv variety. MIDNIGHT OFFERINGS shows up quite regularly on Sci-Fi, USA, and TNT, and if you ever stumble across it one late, windy night, give it a chance.  You won't be disappointed.

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