The Lamp (1987)


aka The Outing

USA. 1987.


Director – Tom Daley, Screenplay/Producer – Warren Chaney, Photography – Herbert Raditschnig, Music – Bruce Miller & Joel Rosenbaum, Photographic Effects – Technomagic Film Effects (Designer/Supervisor – David L. Hewitt), Special Effects – Martin Becker’s Reel EFX Inc. (Supervisor – Frank Inez), Production Design – Robert Burns. Production Company – H.I.T. Films


Andra St. Ivani (Alex Wallace), James Huston (Dr Albert Wallace), Deborah Winters (Eve Ferrell/Young Arab Woman/Old Arab Woman), Scott Bankston (Ted Pinson), Mark Mitchell (Mike Daley), Andre Chimene (Tony Greco), Barry Coffing (Ross), Damon Merrill (Babs), Tracye Walker (Gwen), Raan Lewis (Terry), Danny D. Daniels (Dr Theo Bressling), Hank Amigo (Harley), Brian Floores (Max), Michelle Winters (Faylene)


In Galveston, Texas, a group of youths break in to the house of an elderly woman in search of cash, killing her, but are themselves killed when they break open a chest and find an ancient lamp inside. After the police investigation, the lamp is taken to archaeologist Dr Albert Wallace at the Museum of Natural Science. His daughter Alex picks it up and opens it. She, her boyfriend Ted and two other couples decide to sneak into the museum overnight to party. They are followed by two bullies that Ted humiliated who are plotting revenge. However, the entity from the lamp has been unleashed and arranges bizarre deaths for everyone it encounters.

The Lamp, also known in places as The Outing, was a cheap work of 1980s horror. The term ‘Eighties Horror’ has come to suggest something cheesy, filled with colourfully absurd makeup effects, teen victims, and clothing and hairstyles that look outlandish today. In its first few minutes, The Lamp seems to typify the essence of the 80s horror film – the break-in to the mansion featuring the scene drenched in excess dry ice, cheap animated effects, a girl running around topless for no real reason, and cheesy blood and gore effects.

On most other regards, The Lamp registers as a completely by the numbers and mostly deficient work with little about it that is worthy of reviving it from the place of obscurity it has slid into. It is apparent that the filmmakers had gotten the use of some local museum as a location and thus much of the film is conceived around set-pieces that take place there. The whys and hows of what is happening seem to take a distant second place to coming up with more set-pieces that make use of the location. And very silly these get too. In what becomes an absurd effect, just about every victim for some reason has to be levitated into the air as they are killed. There seems a randomness to each of the set-pieces – a guard killed with a levitated spear; another with a native mask; Damon Merrill by snakes that appear as she takes a bath; one of the bullies getting their fingers bitten off by an Indian mummy abruptly coming to life. Right towards the end, a demonic-looking genie finally appears out of the lamp to give some sort of justification to the randomness that has preceded.

Apart from Deborah Winters who had a minor acting career, probably most known to genre followers as the female lead in Blue Sunshine (1977), nobody involved with the film ever seemed to go on to do anything again. Director Tom Daley has never made anything else. Producer/writer Warren Chaney has made a handful of other obscure films, mostly for children, including a couple of genre entries with Into the Spider’s Web (1988) and Haunted (1993).

Full film available online here:-

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