Pepsi will save the day!


2.5 Stars  1990/76m

Director: Tom Logan / Writer: Bruce Carson / Cast: Kerry Knight, Joe Fishback, Aimie Tenalia, Monica Simmons, Chuck Whiting, David Carr, Moire Reagan.

Body Count: 8

Laughter Lines: “We were together in Saigon and I was the one who tried to piece him together after the chainsaw accident…”

Laughable but likeable Orlando-shot throwback, The Night Brings Charlie orbits around your common-or-garden small town – Pakoe – and the series of decapitation murders plaguing it. The new Sheriff (Knight) has no clue, and the M.E.’s dim-witted daughter Jenny seems to keep finding herself embroiled in it.

The sack-hooded, goggle-wearing killer stalks the town after dark, collecting the heads of nubile teens, unless they are protected by the magic of Pepsi. That’s right, a big-boobed girl taking a shower is about to lose her noggin when the can of Diet Pepsi she has falls into the tub and seemingly scares off the killer! Also check the number of times said soft drink’s logo appears in the background.

Playing out like a gored-up episode of Murder, She Wrote, there’s not much going on in the film: The dopey Sheriff figures things out while Jenny’s overprotective Dad worries, and eponymous suspect Charlie, the deformed local tree-trimmer whose chosen uniform happens to be an exact match for the killer’s, is hauled in for questioning… A mid-point “twist” is revealed with all the acting muscle of a dead jellyfish: The murderer confesses as if his crime is as serious as an unpaid parking ticket. I almost expected Angela Lansbury to appear and shake her head disapprovingly. At the performance if not the crime.

A few more schmucks die as Jenny takes on a dare to sneak into the barn where Charlie lives. Clearly too dense to bail when her friends don’t show up, instead of going home, Jenny goes to the barn anyway and comes faces to face with the killer. Showdown, chainsaw, various other farm implements (but surprisingly no cans of Pepsi to throw at the encroaching killer), open ending. Done.

In reality, The Night Brings Charlie sucks, but I was strangely fond of its 80s/90s-cusp colour scheme, the constant lullaby of cicadas, and an unconscious thirst for Pepsi. The Sheriff’s sarcastic receptionist provides a few snarky one-liners too. It’s about as memorable as a night in a Travelodge, but, equally, does its job adequately enough.


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