#151 -- After Midnight (1989)

Directors: Jim Wheat & Ken Wheat
Rating: 2/5

A college psychology professor takes a different route in his teaching, and it causes a little bit of trouble for him and a few of his students. What he teaches is the psychology of fear, and he believes that in order to understand fear, one must experience it. On the first day of class, he points a loaded gun to a student's head, causing him to wet himself and storm out of the classroom. His point was that no one fears the boogeyman, because they know he doesn't exist. What people fear is what they see possibility in. If they truly believe it can happen, then they will be afraid of it. Just like in the real world, we don't fear vampires or werewolves; we fear the psychopath down the street waiting to blow our brains out. Why this teacher isn't fired, I'm not sure. The board does make him change his methods up a little bit, though. Instead of teaching his fear in the classroom, he invites those students brave enough to his home for a private sermon. He makes the students tell scary stories that involve things that actually happened. It turns out to be an anthology, with three separate stories. There are no monsters or boogeymen, only real terrifying situations. In the first, a woman throws a surprise birthday party for her husband, taking him to an old house and scaring the shit out of him, only to have him freak out and chop her head off. In the second story, a group of girlfriends get lost one night and end up at an old gas station. They meet a creepy attendant who tries to kill them. They get rid of him, only to be chased into the night by his three giant dogs. In the third story, a woman who works as a telephone operator takes creepy messages for one of the apartment tenants. The caller makes his way into the building to harass both women. The stories they tell are pretty simple, but they're very realistic, which is exactly the point the professor was trying to make. When they're all finished telling their scary stories, they experience one of their own.

One girl in the class, Allison, seems to have some sort of psychic ability, and she knows that something is going to go horribly wrong. She is right because Russ, the fellow who pissed himself in class, is outside waiting with an axe. So humiliated and full of rage, he decides to teach the professor a little bit of fear himself. He breaks into the basement, knocks the professor out, and hangs him upside down from the ceiling. He lights a fire underneath him in an attempt to scare him. But the rafter breaks, the professor frees himself, and he shows them all what real fear is.

This movie was kind of disappointing. I think it could have had the potential to be good. Or maybe not. It was okay, I guess, but I wasn't impressed with it. The three separate stories were actually more interesting than the main one, and for me, there just wasn't enough build up for it to be effective. What the synopsis told me was that a disgruntled ex-student tries to teach a professor a lesson in fear, but it's turned around and the professor teaches him a lesson instead. As soon as I saw Russ piss himself, I pretty much knew what was going to happen. I didn't need to watch the movie to know anything; I only needed to read the synopsis that Netflix gave me. That's not a good thing. I need to be surprised. Add to that the fact that all the actors pretty much sucked, and you've got a movie that's not really good for anything.

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