Saturday, May 7, 2016


“The Outing” aka “The Lamp (1987)
Directed by: Tom Daley
Written by: Warren Chaney
Starring: Deborah Winters, James Huston and Andra St. Ivanyi

Review by: “Machine Gun” Kristin 

I saw “The Outing” at a sleepover party, probably when it was fairly recent on VHS in the late 80s. My memory is fuzzy at best so I have a surreal sort of recollection of it. It was on in the middle of the night, and I only remember flashes of the last 20 minutes or so. I thought it was a little scary at the time, or just strange in a way. I’d say it was just the time of night that I watched it also that made it seem scarier. I believe this was the same sleepover party where the resident cat of the household I was sleeping at decided to brush my hair with it claws, cementing a long running distain for pets.

"Come on kids, let's squeeze everyone into the family photo"

Unfortunately, I wasn’t old enough (or just don’t remember most likely) "USA’s Up All Night”, hosted by Gilbert Gottfried and later Caroline Schlitt, then Rhonda Shear which ran from 1989-1998.

I have a better memory of TNT’s “MonsterVision” with the hilarious Joe Bob Briggs which ran sometime in the 1990s.

Another similar show I remember was USA’s “Reel Wild Cinema” which was hosted by Sandra Bernhard and Executive Produced by Mike Vraney of  “Something Weird” video.

The catalog of films shown on “Up…”  is great, mostly horror and comedies. It may have helped create the “late night” cable movie genre which is more or less the little brother of “midnight movies”, but instead you don’t have to leave your couch. Its also another link in the chain of horror host style shows.

“The Outing” is also known as more coherently titled “The Lamp” overseas. I don’t know if it's the first horror genie film, but I’m sure by that time, people couldn’t image “I Dream Of Jeannie” committing heinous murders of naked teenage girls. Unfortunately, the version I watched was super dark, so it was hard to entirely decipher what was happening. This is when the “cleaned up” version of a film really shines, because it displays details we may have missed in past versions. I love VHS formats and grainy videos as much as the next person, but occasionally it's also nice to see a clearer picture because it enhances the creator's original intent. “The Outing” recently received the Shout Factory treatment, but apparently it's still not the right version. Apparently, there’s two different opening sequences, one that explains the Arab women’s possession of the Lamp and another that begins the film past that sequence in the present. There’s also some edits made to a rape scene and I think some of the gore scenes as well. It's annoying as hell when these strange edits are made because then it becomes all the more difficult to obtain the “correct” version of the film.

Original title sequence

something stinks around here!

The movie’s first set in Galveston, Texas (cue Glen Campbell), then later Houston. It’s an okay movie with good pacing, so it's not completely without its charm. It sorta plays like a made-for-tv movie, but with some boobs thrown in. The look of the film for some reason reminded me of “Rush Week”, but I bet that’s just because it was filmed in the mid to late 80s. Here, A lamp with a genie (or Jinn) is brought back from an expedition that took place in 1893 (as explained in the sometimes missing scene from the very beginning of the film). In the present (1986), the lamp is stolen from an Arab woman (played by Deborah Winters, who plays the teacher also) daughter of the owner in the flashback sequence by 3 gross hillbillies. After their demise, (which couldn’t have been sooner haha) the lamp is transferred to a museum’s curator (James Huston) for further investigation. His daughter, Guess Jeans wearing,Alex (Michelle Burke lookalike, Andra St. Ivanyi) puts on a bracelet that makes her the keeper of the lamp and slave to the Jinn/genie. Her class has an after school field trip (is there such a thing?) to said museum and she convinces her classmates to stay after hours without anyone knowing. It's similar to what happened in Tobe Hooper’s “The Funhouse” where they stay overnight at the carnival with disastrous results. Alex’s randomly racist violent ex boyfriend shows up at the sleepover with his cronie. These guys reminded me of super evil bullies in “Trick Or Treat” (1986), where their violent anger seemed so unrelenting. You couldn’t wait for these guys to get killed off. The ending of the movie doesn't make any sense to me when they stop the car to check out the Pepsi truck. Can anyone explain that?

 could you spare some change for the bus?

 may I have this dance?

Most of the cast and crew didn’t seem to much else before or after “The Outing”. Deborah Winters and screenwriter Warren Chaney are actually husband and wife. She made some films in the 60s and 70s, but you might recognize her best from the super fun 1978 horror film, “Blue Sunshine”.

"The Outing" is a fun film, with some nice gore scenes, but overall could've been better. But then again, it could have been worse. I'd give it 2 and 1/2 pairs of blood splattered high-waisted Guess jeans.
You can watch it HERE
You can buy it HERE!

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