Suddenly in Dark Night  (1981)

Octoblur 2015 - #26: Suddenly in Dark Night (1981)

 
By dorrk, October 22nd 2015
Octoblur: If the quality doesn't scare you the quantity will.

Having been so impressed with the weird horror output of Hong Kong and Japan in the early 1980s, when I came across the 1981 Korean genre picture Suddenly in Dark Night, I felt compelled to check out what may have inspired great current South Korean directors like Kim Jee-woon, Bong Joon-ho Park Chan-Wook. While it shows little of the aesthetic mastery displayed by today's best Korean directors, Suddenly in Dark Night is a mildly compelling small-scale psychological thriller that does a more-than-decent job wringing suspense out of some familiar tropes.

Kim Young-ae gives a strong lead performance as Seon-hee, a young housewife who becomes increasingly insecure about her marriage when her lepidopterist husband (Yoon Il-bong) returns from a butterfly collecting trip with Mi-ok (Lee Ki-seon), a pretty orphaned teen, to fill their vacant housekeeping position. Not only does Seon-hee suspect that her husband is having an affair with their new live-in maid, but she becomes convinced that Mi-ok's single earthly possession — an odd doll brandishing a meat cleaver — possesses menacing evil powers.

Suddenly in Dark Night is another in a long line of "person questioning their sanity" potboilers, which isn't genre of which I'm very fond, but it's handled reasonably well, mostly thanks to the tight clampdown on potential hysteria from director Young Nam Ko. Young-ae is allowed to deliver a sensitive performance with minimal full-volume freak-outs, letting her paranoia percolate under the surface for most of the film, and Ki-seon is a disarmingly suspicious simpleton rather than an overtly sinister femme fatale. They dynamic between these two women is effective, if never fresh, and kept me interested throughout this somewhat cliched story. Il-bong's character is a typically obtuse and/or abusive husband, but he also plays his part straight without going to deep into shallow villainy.

Despite his predominantly plain style, Ko strangely indulges too many times in both a patterned kaleidoscope effect and what appears to be filming through the bottom of a soda bottle to suggest altered states of mind. It's kind of neat, at first, but overused, and some of the other more rare special effects are also significantly low-rent, but the ending still packs some punch, mostly thanks to the empathy engendered by the appealing lead performances.

Great lesser-known horror movies

Fun, weird & dark corners worth exploring.
A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)

A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)

Demon Seed (1977)

Demon Seed (1977)

The Exorcism Of Emily Rose (2005)

The Exorcism Of Emily Rose (2005)

Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981)

Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981)

The Funhouse (1981)

The Funhouse (1981)

The Guest (2014)

The Guest (2014)

The House Of The Devil (2009)

The House Of The Devil (2009)

Housebound (2014)

Housebound (2014)

The Johnsons (1992)

The Johnsons (1992)

Kill List (2011)

Kill List (2011)

Little Otik (2001)

Little Otik (2001)

Motel Hell (1980)

Motel Hell (1980)

Orphan (2009)

Orphan (2009)

Seed Of Chucky (2004)

Seed Of Chucky (2004)

Silent Night Deadly Night (1984)

Silent Night Deadly Night (1984)

Spider Baby... (1968)

Spider Baby... (1968)

Starry Eyes (2014)

Starry Eyes (2014)

The Stepfather (1987)

The Stepfather (1987)

Suicide Club (2001)

Suicide Club (2001)

A Tale Of Two Sisters (2003)

A Tale Of Two Sisters (2003)

Dorrk's Top 20 horror movies

The boring list of horror essentials. If you haven't seen these yet, what are you doing?
The Exorcist (1973)

The Exorcist (1973)

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

The Shining (1980)

The Shining (1980)

Jaws (1975)

Jaws (1975)

The Thing (1982)

The Thing (1982)

The Fly (1986)

The Fly (1986)

An American Werewolf In London (1981)

An American Werewolf In London (1981)

Psycho (1960)

Psycho (1960)

Poltergeist (1982)

Poltergeist (1982)

Alien (1979)

Alien (1979)

The Omen (1976)

The Omen (1976)

Rosemarys Baby (1968)

Rosemarys Baby (1968)

Halloween (1978)

Halloween (1978)

Nosferatu (1922)

Nosferatu (1922)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1986)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1986)

Frankenstein (1931)

Frankenstein (1931)

The Return Of The Living Dead (1985)

The Return Of The Living Dead (1985)

Suicide Club (2001)

Suicide Club (2001)

Repulsion (1965)

Repulsion (1965)

Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)

Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)

Watch Suddenly in Dark Night (1981) on YouTube

Beware: Galleries may contain spoilers.
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-00-38
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-01-13
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-02-42
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-03-39
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-04-55
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-05-39
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-05-50
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-06-43
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-07-24
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-07-25
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-10-04
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-12-16
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-12-44
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-13-39
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-13-49
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-14-17
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-17-27
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-18-15
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-19-29
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-19-32
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-21-02
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-21-25
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-21-29
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-22-21
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-22-29
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-22-43
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-22-48
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-23-06
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-23-11
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-24-14
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-26-08
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-27-41
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-28-27
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-29-53
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-30-44
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-31-33
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-34-35
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-35-50
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-36-42
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-38-15
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-38-29
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-40-09
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-40-57
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-42-08
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-42-19
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-44-45
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-44-50
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-45-02
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-45-16
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-50-27
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-50-44
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-51-00
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-51-28
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-51-48
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-52-56
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-54-21
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-55-01
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-00-58-14
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-00-56
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-01-10
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-03-03
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-03-48
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-04-31
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-06-46
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-07-16
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-07-54
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-07-59
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-08-38
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-08-57
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-10-21
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-11-14
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-11-33
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-13-34
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-14-13
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-14-37
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-14-53
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-15-04
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-17-08
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-17-22
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-17-38
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-17-39
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-18-36
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-18-56
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-19-30
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-20-13
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-20-31
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-20-51
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-22-45
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-23-01
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-23-19
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-24-13
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-25-09
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-26-08
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-26-14
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-26-39
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-26-42
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-27-07
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-27-20
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-27-27
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-28-13
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-28-27
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-28-51
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-28-55
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-29-20
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-29-31
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-29-44
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-29-56
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-30-21
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-30-25
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-30-55
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-31-17
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-31-30
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-31-40
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-31-46
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-31-48
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-31-51
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-31-54
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-32-02
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-32-15
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-32-37
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-33-19
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-33-21
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-33-24
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-33-43
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-34-00
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-34-04
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-34-37
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-34-49
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-35-48
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-36-35
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-38-00
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-38-31
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-38-58
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-39-39
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-39-44
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-39-46
Suddenly-In-Dark-Night-1981-01-39-55


PopGap
Wire Creative Web Site Management
Dorrk
Dorrk Dot com
Santa's Li'l Gimp
The Godfather

A.K.A.

  • Gipeun Bam Gabjagi, Suddenly At Midnight

More Info:

Stay tuned here and on twitter @Popgap to see what I choose to inflict upon myself this Octoblur!

Links

Here are my Letterboxd lists for 2014 & 2013:
https://letterboxd.com/dorrk/list/octoblur-2014/
https://letterboxd.com/dorrk/list/octoblur-2013/

Tags

The Top 20 Movies of All-Time

#1: The Godfather Part II (1974)

#1: The Godfather Part II (1974)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
#2: The Godfather (1972)

#2: The Godfather (1972)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
#3: West Side Story (1961)

#3: West Side Story (1961)

Dir: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise
#4: Manhattan (1979)

#4: Manhattan (1979)

Dir: Woody Allen
#5: The Graduate (1967)

#5: The Graduate (1967)

Dir: Mike Nichols
#6: Tootsie (1982)

#6: Tootsie (1982)

Dir: Sydney Pollack
#7: Apocalypse Now (1979)

#7: Apocalypse Now (1979)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
#8: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

#8: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Dir: Irvin Kershner
#9: Star Wars (1977)

#9: Star Wars (1977)

Dir: George Lucas
#10: The Exorcist (1973)

#10: The Exorcist (1973)

Dir: William Friedkin
#11: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

#11: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Dir: Peter Jackson
#12: Taxi Driver (1976)

#12: Taxi Driver (1976)

Dir: Martin Scorsese
#13: Annie Hall (1977)

#13: Annie Hall (1977)

Dir: Woody Allen
#14: Vertigo (1958)

#14: Vertigo (1958)

Dir: Alfred Hitchcock
#15: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

#15: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Dir: Steven Spielberg
#16: Boogie Nights (1997)

#16: Boogie Nights (1997)

Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson
#17: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

#17: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Dir: Tobe Hooper
#18: It's a Wonderful Life (1944)

#18: It's a Wonderful Life (1944)

Dir: Frank Capra
#19: Singin' in the Rain (1952)

#19: Singin' in the Rain (1952)

Dir: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
#20: Zodiac (2007)

#20: Zodiac (2007)

Dir: David Fincher