Halloween is time for scary movies. That’s part of the fun. My utopian Halloween would consist of kids trick or treating, going to a killer (not literally) Halloween Party, and then settling in with a classic monster movie, preferably something from Hammer or Universal’s heyday.
And while we “meant” to watch a lot more movies during the recent Covid-19 lockdown times, we really didn’t, just a few here and there. I’m a little disappointed in myself, if I am to be honest with you.
Having shared that confession, it makes sense we missed The Vast of Night at first. I’m elated we finally stumbled across it. This is a brilliant indie film set in the 1950s at the pinnacle of the scary “Flying Saucer craze”. It’s both creepy and gorgeous, a tribute to both small town Americana and the fears that bubble up from rural communities.
The heroes are an unlikely pair: a plucky teenager with a part time job, played by former Disney Channel actress Sierra McCormick, and a cool-cat radio DJ, played by Jake Horowitz. These two are actors to watch.
I’ve been learning about Rod Serling and enjoy teaching a bit about him. Nick Parisi’s brilliant book, Rod Serling: His Life, Work and Imagination provided me with a such a rich background and dialing into Tom Elliot’s The Twilight Zone Podcast adds to my Serling knowledge. Even so, I was really surprised to find that The Vast of Night takes place in a small town called Cayuga, New Mexico. As you might know, Serling grew up and eventually returned to the Cayuga Lake area. He even taught classes at Ithaca College, far above Cayuga’s waters.
The director and co-writer, Andrew Patterson, has cleverly tied in so many Twilight Zone elements that I feel like this movie could be broadcast during any one of those Twilight Zone marathons.
The trailer only begins to touch upon how fun this one is:
The Vast of Night was released at Drive-Ins initially (How brilliant is that?), but I saw it on Amazon Prime where it debuted in May. It’s the perfect movie to watch when you’re done with the trick-or-treaters and are home from your spooky party.