*Sorry guys, probably due to just how unknown this film seems to be I could hardly find any decent pictures to go with this review, so apologies but this time you'll have to rely on your imaginations!
The Lamp seems to be something of a forgotten film, having an out of print DVD release in the UK but only getting a VHS release in the US. Information about the movie is also very sparse. According to Wikipedia the American version was retiled The Outing and had several minutes of footage cut. The version I watched can be found on you tube, and was simply called the Lamp so I’m guessing I watched the original and European cut? Now after explaining a little about The Lamps history I really wanted to begin my next sentence with “Now this is a shame as The Lamp deserves a reputation as a forgotten classic” but sadly as entertaining as The Lamp is, it was admittedly a bit of letdown. It’s still a great 80’s horror and a lot better than some of the more well known B movies from the period, yet somehow I doubt it will ever become recognised.
Now please don’t misunderstand me, The Lamp is not a bad movie. It’s just not interesting enough to be a good one. The first twenty minutes or so concerns the history of the titular object and this is by far the most interesting section. It opens in 1893 on a cargo ship where the Captain is fleeing from his life from an unseen creature with the Lamp. He is brutally killed and the Lamp falls into the hands of a young girl. Centuries later in the 1980’s the young girl is now an elderly recluse living in a large house all by herself. A group of thieves break in and when she does not reveal the location of her money they murder her. Instead they find the Lamp and accidently release the Djinn inside, which proceeds to brutally kill all three. AND THIS IS JUST THE FIRST TWENY MINUTES! This opening section really is superb. It’s steeped in spooky mythology, death after death and a break neck pace. We feel pity for the old lady and the criminals are so horrific and grotesque in that cheesy 80’s way that seeing them killed off has an air of pleasure about it.
Sadly the rest of the movie kinda sucks. We follow teenage Alex, daughter of the Professor who is put in charge of researching the lamp. What follows is a boring look at Alex’s life and this goes on for about thirty to forty minutes. We see her issues with her father, ex boyfriend and how much she loves her new one. Admittedly though I couldn’t give a damn. After such a good, spooky opening to go away from almost any supernatural occurrences proved fatal. We get given typical 80’s slasher sub-plots and not one bit of it managed to hold my interest. The film only has about thirty minutes left when it relocates to the museum and the Djinn is finally unleashed upon a group of unsuspecting teens. Even then though most of the death scenes are flat and boring and two of the most interesting ones appear off screen! I think my disappointment was made a tad worse by the realisation that instead of a great cheesy supernatural monster horror what I was watching was a standard and bland 80’s slasher. Now this isn’t always a bad thing, it’s just ridiculously boring compared to what came before and seems a bit of a wasted opportunity.
This is made up for slightly in the last few moments when Alex’s father turns up and we finally see the Djinn. It’s a great creation and it’s a bit of a shame that we didn’t see more of it throughout the movie but it is used well here and to great effect. The motives as to why the creatures has been doing all of this killing are, admittedly, a bit shaky but if you can get past that small detail then your enjoyment of the rest of the movie will not be hindered in anyway whatsoever. The pace once again picks up and the final few chases through the corridors of the museum are creepy and enjoyable. However the ending feels out of place. Throughout the earlier parts of the film the main characters life has been going well, after an argument at the very start she seems to be getting on better with her father, she has loving boyfriend and this gives the Lamp half of its fun comic feel. But, without wanting to spoil too much the finale has a slightly depressing tone to it that sticks out from the fun light-hearted one of the rest of the movie. This in turn makes the end slightly disjointed and sadly just doesn’t feel right.
If you get a chance to see The Lamp, then I would defiantly attempt to do so, especially with its lack of a DVD release in the states. However it’s nothing special and I wouldn’t go into it expecting a lost classic. Fans of 1980’s cheese will probably enjoy themselves and it’s a fun way to pass 90 minutes or so but it’s instantly forgotten. It’s a shame really as some of the effects work is incredible and had the action not lagged in the middle and the deaths scene’s been just that little bit more over the top then I would probably be recommending this and praising a forgotten gem. Sadly I can’t praise The Lamp that much, it doesn’t deserve it, but it does deserve slightly more recognition than it’s getting particularly when dross like Scalps (1983) can get a DVD release and this can’t.
Welcome one and all- Please leave sanity at the door
A Teenage boy with a passion for all things nerdy! Expect a lot of Doctor Who, Cult/Horror Movies, Literature and Novels, History, Comic Books and random thoughts. Posts published weekly on a Friday evening. DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the items reviewed on this site and i also do not own of the pictures (unless stated so). If you own one of the photos and wish for it to be removed contact me at this adress: Super.firstname.lastname@example.org. However all of the written work is my own and is protected under copyright law.