OUT OF THE DARK (director: Michael Schroeder; screenwriters: Zane W. Levitt/J. Greg De Felice; cinematographer: Julio Macat; editor: Mark Manos; music: Paul F. Antonelli/David Wheatley; cast: Cameron Dye (Kevin Silvers), Karen Black (Ruth Wilson), Lynn Danielson (Kristi Larson), Bud Cort (Doug Stringer), Divine (Detective Langella), Paul Bartel (Motel Clerk), Lainie Kazan (Hooker/Nancy), Geoffrey Lewis (Dennis), Karen Witter (Jo Ann), Angela Robinson (Vanessa), Star Andreef (Camille),Tab Hunter (Driver), Tracey Walters (Lt. Frank Meyers); Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Zane W. Levit; Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (Cinetel Films); 1988)

"A titillating nasty suspense thriller that has a string of attractive women slashed to death by a serial-killer operating out of LA."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A titillating nasty suspense thriller that has a string of attractive women slashed to death by a serial-killer operating out of LA. There's a campy black humor that takes some of the edge off the gore. The trashy exploitation pic is directed by Michael Schroeder ("Man in the Chair"/"The Glass Cage"/"Cover Me") and written by J. Greg De Felice and Zane W. Levitt.

Kristi Larson (Lynn Danielson) is a model employed at a phone sex service operating in a downtown LA office building, whereby she talks sexy to clients for a fee. Kevin Silvers (Cameron Dye) is Kristi's handsome boyfriend. He's a freelance photographer who runs sexy, topless photo sessions for the girls. The phone service boss is the hard-nosed Ruth Wilson (Karen Black). There are a number of girls from the service who have lately been attacked by a knife-wielding slasher and the girls suspect a creepy caller calling himself Bobo the Clown (Bud Cort). It's later learned that his real name is Doug Stringer and he's an accountant occupying an office next door to the girls. Other suspects include the photographers, Silvers, the main suspect of the cops, or the drunken Dennis (Geoffrey Lewis). The cops investigate the murders, with their biggest clue that the killer wears a clown outfit. The prole Lt. Frank Meyers (Tracey Walters) is the lead investigator.

Divine, in his last movie role, plays one of the investigating police detectives. The slimy character Paul Bartel plays is the voyeuristic motel clerk. Tab Hunter is a taxi driver who deserves a big tip for noticing an accident victim is wearing an expensive watch. Lainie Kazan plays a prostitute. There are plenty of good character actors around, and a number of plot twists to keep the hardcore viewer staying with the pic until the bitter end. Though a standard slasher pic and not much of a whodunit, it's nevertheless presented better than most films of this dubious genre.

REVIEWED ON 2/7/2015       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"