For many years The Lamp (aka The Outing) was a typical guilty pleasure for me. Nowadays I hate the expression guilty pleasure and have decided that it's one of my favorites cheesecakes of the eighties, a deliciously colorful and naughty horror film based on the legend of the Genie, just like Wishmaster ten years later. But you can't compared them of course. I first saw The Lamp on a UK tape, a sell-through tape. I don't remember if it was cut or not - probably not, because it's not that violent. Now Shout (or Scream) Factory have released it on a cheapo DVD together with three other horror films, and it's been so fun experiencing it again, rediscovering this pearl of campy cheese, way forgotten by mainstream genre fans or those who think there was just one single supernatural horror film made in the eighties (Evil Dead of course, the cult film that's so much cult its become mainstream).
The movie begins with a gang of small time youth criminals who breaks into the house of a very old woman. The rumor says she has a treasure there! But they only find an old bottle... they rub it, and out flies a supernatural, angry power who kills them all brutally! Sooner or later the old woman's stuff ends up at a local museum, for examination - and somehow the Genie escapes again and attacks a couple of horny teenagers hiding in the museum during the night! Ta Ta! That's the story and it's of course the quintessential of cheese!
I really don't understand why I like this movie so much. It's not especially gory, but has enough kills and violence to keep up the interest. The Genie is stiff and can't hardly move, but still looks very cool. The actors are doing what they're suppose to do, but nothing else. I think it's the cinematography, which looks stunningly cozy. It really captures the museum atmosphere, the dark corners, the dusty exhibits. The additional FX work outside the giant Genie looks quite good, especially the bloodthirsty mummy and the cool scene where two rapists gets killed with the help of old African masks! Which also leads me to this surprising detail I haven't seen before:
But a penis doesn't make a movie. The strenght of The Lamp is how it never really calms down. There's always something around the corner - even if it's cheap and cheesy sometimes. It's made with a lot of passion and a few dashes of sadism, which makes it a bit nastier even if it's not as gory as some if the counterparts from the same time.
The new DVD looks quite okay. Fullscreen, maybe open matte. Uncut, I guess. Not super-sharp (the "screenshots" above is just photos of the TV-screen, so they suck anyway) or anything, but better than the earlier versions I've seen. And for that price and the other movies you get for the same amount of money it's must!