Out of the Dark (1989)

It’s sexy, it’s sleazy, it’s filthy, it’s Out of the Dark, an erotic thriller about a psychopath in a clown mask who murders a group of call girls. The cops are investigating, and our heroines are scared, but what will stop Pogo the clown’s reign of terror?

Out of the Dark is one of those films that oozes seediness. Basically a guy attacks phone sex operators, while the police try different means to bring him down and fail. They quickly focus on a photographer who has some shady dealings in his past with an alcoholic boss who got him started in smut. But the photographer’s girlfriend, one of the women working at the phone sex line, works to investigate on her own and discover who is the real killer.

I like most of this movie; it’s got some potentially interesting red herrings it plays with relentlessly. Everybody seems filthy and sweaty in the LA sunshine, including the alcoholic former boss, the scum job of a detective investigating the case who is quick to judge and often wrong, the back alley accountant who is way off the books and way into the ladies in the call center, and so on. Hell, even random guys who just see in the background or for brief scenes at times seem like they could be the type to wear a clown mask and beat women to death with a baseball bat.

Unfortunately, it falls through as the suspects get eliminated one by one. Yeah, there’s a big set up, and the movie stays seedier than a build-your-own-garden section at a farmer’s market, but it absolutely completely fails to stick the landing. The last 10 minutes are an utter shit show, with a reveal that left me rolling my eyes and groaning out loud. What a shame. I like ballsy endings, but this is just ludicrous.

Hey, if you want a movie with sex appeal that will make you feel dirty, it’s still the kind of skeeze to get your motor going. Plus it has an important, if not tragic, claim to fame: Out of the Dark was Divine’s last picture. Yes, that Divine. Respect. It’s also got the likes of Karen Black, Tracey Walter, Geoffrey Lewis, and Bud Cort, so yeah, worth trying to track down.


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