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‘The Outing’ (R)

By Richard Harrington
Washington Post Staff Writer
September 05, 1987

Comment from a moviegoer who'd been given free tickets to a screening of "The Outing" and was last seen fleeing to the parking lot: "I ain't gonna tell nobody I saw this!"

So much for promotions.

"The Outing," which opened yesterday in several unfortunate area theaters, is one of the worst horror offerings in some time. It is slow (perhaps "Nod-Outing" would have been a more accurate title), stupid and senseless, and the special effects look as if they were shot on a family's weekly shopping budget.

Stop me if you've seen this one before: Despicable hooligans invade ancient house, kill ancient crone who's trying to convince them not to open ancient chest in which they find ancient lamp with glowing cork in its ancient snout. Genie escapes lamp, gets more than even with despicable hooligans (maybe they rubbed him the wrong way) and settles back into lamp, soon ending up in nearby museum of natural science.

It doesn't take a genie to figure out rest of ancient plot, which includes work-obsessed and lonely dad (who runs said museum) and neglected but socially successful daughter (who runs around with a half-dozen other 25-year-old high school students). Will daughter try on bracelet that turns her into keeper of genie? Will dad propose to daughter's gorgeous teacher? Will kids sneak into museum that very night for slumber party and some hanky-panky? Will party dwindle one by one as genie runs amok? Is Oscar Mayer a hot dog?

The what-done-it script by Warren Chaney leaves much to be desired and too much to be imagined. Until the final scenes, the genie is represented only from that hoary horror cliche', the camera's point of view (unless, of course, you count the glowing cork). The havoc he wreaks reeks, and when he finally does appear, he's ludicrous, cheap and badly grafted into the film. Little wonder he meets his end as the result of a computer clue.

It's the only clue director Tom Daley has.

"The Outing" is rated R and contains some nasty language and some cheap but bloody effects.

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