The Outing (1987) Review

I have two claims to fame when it comes to this 1986 Texas lensed horror film. I have met the lead girl, Andra St. Ivani. She used to come into retail establishment I worked in. I finally asked her if she was the girl from The Outing and she was pleased as punch to tell me yes. She said I made her day. My second claim to fame is that I worked for a guy who sat between her and the guy who played her boyfriend in college! Way cool, no? I have a lot of love for this little movie. It gets a lot of things right as far as slasher films go. It’s got a neat, scary setting (a museum), nice gore effects, not bad acting and a friggin’ bad ass genie. OK, so djinns aren’t part of the ‘slasher rules’, but shoot, they kind of rock.

The genie in The Outing was being kept under tight watch by an old lady who lived in a big house on a hill. Some hillbillies (including one who looks like Courtney Love) makes their way up there to rob the joint, looking for what they heard is something pretty priceless. Well, after they kill the old lady, they unleash said genie and he gets his revenge. The house is excavated and the findings go to a local museum. The curator has a daughter (Ms. St. Ivani) who stupidly puts on a bracelet that was found at the old lady’s house. Unbeknownst to her or anyone else, this wearer of this bracelet becomes tied to the evil djinn, and usually ends up regretting it. Our lead becomes possessed, convinces her friends to spend the night in the museum after hours and the genie lets loose some rather nasty fun.

An unusual concept for a run of the mill genre film and for the most part, it works. I won’t lie though; the actual genie is pretty hilarious. There’s lots of sparklies and smoke to cover up the puppet, but it’s not enough to make it scary in the least. I think the filmmakers made the right choice by letting a ‘genie cam’ guide us through the mayhem. It’s true that less is more, especially when you’re monster looks this awful.

As for the other 98% of the film, it’s got a great pace and even though most of the slaughter doesn’t take place until the second half, it’s still a lot of good 80s fun. I especially like Andra’s ex-boyfriend, who looks like he just got off the set of Zapped. He’s waaaaay 80s and his style is so 1982, even though the film was shot in 1986. Where’s the stone-wash? Anyway, he’s a racist punk who gets pleasure from raping women and trying to run ex-girlfriends off the road. And he’s a blast. The rest of the characters are pretty cardboard but the cast is good in their various roles and make the most of their grisly death scenes.

I guess this proves that if you throw a little ingenuity into the pot, you can still please a horror audience with other conventions. It also goes to show that regional films used to have spark, talent, and cause where as the post-2000 wannabes are still trying to figure out which way to point the camera.

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