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Midnight Madness

Midnight Madness PosterSetting: Los Angeles, California, USA, 1980

As the title song plays, we see two young girls, Candy and Sunshine, roller skating around a college campus. They are carrying several brightly colored envelopes, and boy! are they happy.

Their first stop is the football field where practice is in session. One of the players (Lavitas) comes to the sidelines for a refreshing drink. What a coincidence! Lavitas is who Candy and Sunshine have come to see. They give him a green envelope.

The girls’ next stop is a classroom, where a young, stereotypical nerd (Wesley) is studying. He looks at the girls as if they were disgusting alien creatures as he takes the white envelope. He shoos them away.

Their third stop is a sorority house where a young woman (Donna) is decorating for a party. She appears quite interested as she takes the red envelope offered to her.

The girls’ fourth stop is a drive-in restaurant (these girls sure do get around). A young, overweight man (Harold) is in his car, eating from the tray on his window. New food is brought to him, but it doesn’t meet with his approval and he throws it to the ground. Candy and Sunshine are nonplussed and approach him confidently. He takes the blue envelope from them, looking it over curiously.

The fifth (and last) envelope is delivered to Adam Larson, our hero. How do we know he’s our hero? Easy; he’s male, somewhat handsome, he’s the first person we hear speak, and he’s a freshman counselor. Adam receives a yellow envelope from the girls. He asks who it came from, but the girls tell him that the sender “prefers to remain anonymous at this time.”

That night, all five card recipients arrive at a small apartment. Candy and Sunshine greet and seat them. Adam is seated next to Harold and from the exchange of glances there is no mistake that these two know each other-and aren’t too happy about it.

A short film on the history of games is shown, announcing a new breakthrough in the field of games and game playing. When the film ends, a young man rolls out from behind the screen. Do you know his name? Well, everyone else certainly does, or else they just like to yell, “Leon!”

Leon invites all five card recipients to take the challenge of his Great All-Nighter which starts that Friday at sunset. These five will be Team captains, responsible for assembling a Team and transportation. The winner will receive a trophy, and more importantly, “prove to the other Teams that there’s is the best group of all.”

All five ‘Team Captains’ laugh in scorn at Leon’s game, and leave the premises. Candy and Sunshine are distressed, but Leon reassures them that after designing his game for over a year, he put much research into the choosing of Team Captains. He predicts that by Friday, all five will be “dying to play.”

Later… Wesley is giving a lecture on the evils of jocks. His fellow debaters are on stage with him, moving in unison, demonstrating the unity of thought within their group. At the end of his speech, Wesley invites any comments from the floor. The jocks (Lavitas and his friends) begin throwing food at Wesley and his fellow debaters, proving Wesley’s point very nicely for him.

Later… At the sorority house, Donna is happy with the way the party is progressing. She tells her sorority sister, Berle, that if all continues to go well they may have more than 4 members, which include Donna, Berle, Peggy and Lulu. At that precise moment (if only real life had the timing of movies) Lavitas and his friends crash the party, spraying all of Donna’s guests down with a keg of beer. Donna swears her revenge.

Later… Adam is once again counseling Flynch (what kind of sadist names their kid after a physical reaction?) and finds out that Flynch has a problem with girls. Adam asks Flynch is he’s still a virgin. Flynch says “No!” ,emphatically, “not exactly.” He’s just never had a date. Adam’s highly original advice to Flynch is, “Remember, never walk away from a challenge. Just be confident.” Laura, a friend of Adam’s, walks in just as Adam says this. Flynch leaves, presumably to follow Adam’s advice. Sappy music plays the moment Adams lays eyes on Laura, and we already know where this is heading.

Laura tells Adam to follow his own advice and join Leon’s game. He finally agrees to it after hem hawing around the subject. He invites Laura to be on his Team. (Okay, in unison: aaawwwww!)

Later… Harold and his ‘friends’ are all hanging out in a hallway, where Harold harasses the maid. Harold’s girlfriend, Lucille, berates his weight problem. Melio obviously takes great pleasure in this. Just then, Harold’s father walks by and orders him into his office. Harold’s father demands that he join Leon’s game. He constantly compares him to Adam Larson, wishing he had a son like that. He’s determined that his son will win the game.

Adam is assembling his Team. He coerces his friend Marvin into joining, using his feelings for his jeep against him.

Back at Harold’s, Harold shows his friends what his dad got them to help win the game-a brand new blue van with a state of the art computer system. (It looks like a Commodore 64 in a big plastic box to me – but this was 1980.) This computer can solve any clue in five seconds.

Wesley has convinced his friends to join the game to show the jocks how real men compete.

Lavitas has to do more convincing to get his friends to play. He shows them a picture of Wesley. “We’re in!!!”

Back at the sorority house, Donna has convinced her friends to play. Berle is very enthusiastic, and Peggy and Lulu giggle in agreement.

In preparation for the big night, Harold is in the van, stashing away such health food items as Oreo cookies and marshmallows. Melio catches him and Harold explains that Lucille has him on a diet that he doesn’t think he can handle. Melio promises not to tell about his stashes, but he certainly isn’t doing it for Harold’s friendship.

It’s Friday night! Adam and Laura are waiting for Marvin so they can leave for the game. Adam is lamenting that he couldn’t find a 4th and 5th for their Team. Just then (more of that movie timing) Flynch arrives with good news-he has a date! After one glance, Adam and Laura ‘save’ Flynch from his ugly date, nabbing their 4th Team member in the process.

The game has begun. In front of Leon’s apartment complex all five Teams have assembled and have been given colored sweatshirts matching the color envelope their captain had received. Leon hands out the first clue.

The sea is reversed. SS Itari is
mixed up and blind.

All of the Teams jump into their cars and take off…except the Blue Team. The Green Team jumps into a green Volkswagen bug, labeled “Meat Machine.” The White Team drive away on white mopeds. The Red Team drive away in a red truck, Peggy and Lulu riding in back. The Yellow Team is in Marvin’s yellow jeep. (I guess Leon did some heavy research.)

We see the Teams work on the clue, getting the same results
The Sea is reversed = See the
SS Itari is mixed up and blind = the word is scrambled, and take the eyes out. “This unscrambles to form the word: Stars”
Which means the entire clue reads, See the Stars, and there’s only one place where you can see all the stars:

The Green Team: “The Wax Museum!”
The Yellow Team: “A Map to the Stars Homes!”
The White Team: “The Stars on Hollywood Boulevard!”
The Red Team: “The Stargate Disco!”

Back in the van, Harold is playing PONG. He finally types the clue into the computer (look at his fingers-there’s no way he’s really typing in that clue). The computer solves the clue and tells them to go to the Griffith Observatory.

Speaking of Leon…back at Game Control, Mrs. Grimhaus, Leon’s landlady, storms in complaining about the noise. She tells him that if she hears one more complaint, she’ll serve him his eviction papers. She leaves, hurling insults at him, such as, “you pervert!” and “you student!”

The White Team is on Hollywood Boulevard and count off the steps by the numbers on the clue. They end up at Mickey Mouse’s star.

The Green Team are at the Wax Museum. Lavitas takes measurements of some of the busty figures, and Armpit destroys some property. But no clue. I’m sure this isn’t a new occurrence for them.

At the Disco, the Red Team have no luck, but Peggy and Lulu sure can dance!

The Yellow Team are on a hill overlooking L.A., examining a map to the star’s homes. They figure out the real solution to the clue, after Marvin sits in the jeep and looks up at the night sky.

The Yellow Team arrives at the observatory just as the Blue Team is driving away. They go in to find the next clue. They hear the Green Team arrive after them.

The Yellow Team has figured out that the numbers are telescope settings. They find the telescope, but a bratty kid is already using it, looking at “Venus’ two moons.” When Adam notices that the planet Venus is on the other side of the dome, the kid grabs his dad and leads him off to the magnetic exhibit. Marvin finally sets the telescope as Adam looks through it. The clue is on a digital Southern California Savings billboard:

To unlock the next clue find the 8800 keys!

The Green Team busts in, but Adam resets the telescope to ‘Venus’, buying them some time.

At Game Control, Leon welcomes his fellow tenants to the game. They’re fascinated. (Be on the lookout for the man who did Piglet’s voice in Disney’s The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. He also appears in the original series “Star Trek” episode Wolf in the Fold.)

Harold’s computer has solved clue #2: Proceed to the Los Angeles Piano Museum. 1250 Beverly Boulevard. They head straight for it, but Harold lingers behind.

The Yellow Team has stopped at a stop light, which happens to be at a bus stop. Marvin recognizes Adam’s brother, Scott, sitting on a bench, waiting for a bus to San Francisco. Adam doesn’t have time to take him home, so he takes him along with the Team.

At the museum…Harold is in the van, eating marshmallows. Lucille gets suspicious and goes back for him. He hears her coming and is barely able to hide his marshmallows before she opens the door. He hides the marshmallows under the computer.

Inside the museum, the Blue Team has trouble finding the clue. Barf and Melio start playing a great arrangement of “Heart and Soul” which really ticks off Harold. Just before he and Melio come to blows, Lucille finds the clue. At the front of the room, a toy piano is set up with some music. The notes are: A B A A G F E F E E

The Yellow Team is the next to arrive. Harold trips Adam as they go in, and the Green Team bellows by them. As they go in, Laura turns back to Scott and tells him to hurry. And now for Michael J. Fox history!!! Michael J. Fox’s first words in a major motion picture were: “This game is stupid. Who cares about it anyway?” (Tah dah!!)

Harold types the clue into the computer, but it goes dead. Computers don’t like marshmallows as much as Harold does.

Back in the museum, Lavitas (of all people) has the brains to actually play the notes on the keyboard. Blaylak immediately recognizes the tune as the Pabst Blue Ribbon beer song and states very loudly, so that all of the Teams can hear, that the next clue must be at the Pabst Brewery.

The Green Team is the first there, and almost fall in worship of their favorite thing…Beer.

The Red Team is sidetracked as Peggy and Lulu jump out of the truck to go to a Fair to weigh themselves “and eat things.”

In a classic Midnight Madness moment, Barf, another Blue Team member, tries to unscramble the letters from the last clue. His solution is “Fagabeefe?”

At the brewery, the Green Team is in awe. Blaylak goes nuts, surrounded by all this beer and not being able to get to it. Meanwhile, Scott tries to get a beer sample, but the bartender won’t give him any because he’s underage.

In other parts of the brewery, Blaylak is being restrained by his Teammates. He fights his way to a balcony, overlooking a beer vat. He seems to calm down, but when his Teammates release him, he jumps over the balcony into the vat.

Not as inventive as Blaylak, Scott simply jumps over the bar to get some beer for himself. The bartender pushes him away angrily, and Scott’s witty comeback is “Hey, mellow out.” The yellow Team is thrown out of the brewery. It just so happens that the next clue is outside the brewery, just where the Yellow Team has been thrown. Some beer boxes, with the clue painted on them, are stacked perfectly so that we see a picture of Leon saying:

“Mr. Carson’s Obese Male Child.”

Marvin and Adam figure out that the clue means Johnny’s Fat Boy Burgers.

Wondering, “What ever happened to the Blue Team?” They’re riding around town, aimlessly. Melio asks Harold, “Hey Harold, can I have the van after your dad kills you?”

Back at the brewery, Blaylak emerges from the beer vat, very, very happy.

At Game Control, more tenants join the party.

As they aimlessly drive around, the Blue Team spots the Yellow Team and follows them to Fat Boy Burgers.

Back at the fair, the Red Team has rounded up Peggy and Lulu, but now their truck is being towed away.

The Blue Team is now back in the game. But to ensure their advantage, before they go into the restaurant, they siphon the gas from the Yellow Team’s jeep and let the air out of the tires. Harold even steals a hubcap. An amusing moment occurs when it is realized that Harold bears an uncanny resemblance to Johnny’s Fat Boy. He is not amused.

The Teams converge on Johnny’s Fat Boy Burgers. On the sign at the front, is a hint:

Leon’s Special
Have a Seat
and Enjoy!
Between the two
Giant Melons!

Everyone orders the melon platter, becoming very confused. Barf is happy though, reading his comic book, Adventures of Fat Boy. Finally, everyone figures out that the two giant melons are the rather ample breasts of the waitress. She is wearing a necklace. After much manipulating and trashing of the joint, they finally read what the necklace says:

Hug Me

Everyone runs out to get back to finding the next clue, but Lucille stops, wanting a stuffed Fat Boy doll. She whines and Harold gets it for her. She names it Little Harold.

Outside, the Yellow Team figures that ‘Hug Me’ must be scrambled. Flynch jumps in and uses his brain (he has to be smart; he’s a geek, remember?) to figure out every word possible from Hug Me. They figure out that it unscrambles to form the word, Huge M. And Laura points out that there’s a Huge M on the top of the sign at Miniature Golf World. Everyone’s excited and runs to the jeep. Adam passes up yet another opportunity to confess his feelings for Laura.

Marvin is quite upset about his tires. Harold drives by, feigning innocence over the destruction of the jeep. He giggles maniacally and speeds away. Scott runs off, unnoticed. The Yellow Team splits up; Marvin goes to get new tires, Adam and Flynch take off for Miniature Golf World and Laura stays with the jeep and Scott….but where is Scott?

The Green Team is still at the brewery, looking for Blaylak. They eventually find him and start on their way out. Blaylak faints, making their exit a bit more difficult.

Back at the Fair the Red Team’s truck is being towed away. However, Berle hijacks the tow truck, the others climb aboard and they drive away.

Laura finds Scott, playing with a Dog locked in a car. He tells Laura that his brother doesn’t care about him and that he even forgot about his birthday, which is today.

Adam and Flynch hitch a ride with the slowest drivers in L.A.

The Blue Team finds Miniature Golf World.

At Game Control, Grimhaus busts in, and tries to give Leon his eviction papers. However, everyone at the party assures her that there are no complaints. She leaves in a huff.

Adam has decided to give up, but Flynch berates him, throwing his own words in his face. He takes over, gets them out of the slow car and gets them another ride with two young girls.

At Miniature Golf World, the Blue Team is the first to arrive. They find their envelope and Lucille reads the contents:

Play a round of golf.
Somewhere you will find the clue.
No Cheating. You must play the entire round.
Do no go directly to the 18th hole.

So, guess where Harold goes? That’s right, directly to the 18th hole.

The Green Team has given up, never having found the clue at the brewery. They have to pull over to let Blaylak get sick, and just happen to find Harold’s van. They’re back in the game!! Woo hoo!

Flynch and Adam arrive at the park next, but before they go inside, Flynch gets the phone numbers of the girls in the car.

Harold plays the 18th hole, and even gets a hole in one. A card pops up from nowhere. Feeling smug, he gives it to Barf to read out loud.

“Dear Team, I told you not to cheat.
Now, if you want to find the clue, you have to go back and start all over.
Love, Leon. P.S. you lost your ball.”

Laura, Marvin and Scott arrive in the jeep, sporting newly aired tires.

The Blue Team starts all over, stuck behind a squabbling family of at least 5.

Adam is playing for the Yellow Team. Scott tries to help Adam out with one hole but Adam tells Scott to be quiet so that he can concentrate. Scott gets out of his way, but another group is making a lot of noise. Scott yells “Hey!” at them, to get them quiet just as Adam is putting. Of course, Adam misses. Adam gets in Scott’s face and says, “Scott, why do you persist in making my life miserable? Please just stay out of my way.” Laura is obviously disappointed.

The Green Team is in prime form, ambushing the White Team. They throw the White’s ball in an artificial creek and take their place. The Green Team finds the clue:

Look at Xylophone (Initially) 5:30 a.m.

As the Green Team is speeding out of the parking lot, the Red Team arrives (how did they know where to go? Hmmm) They start following the Green Team.

Laura solves the clue, looking at the initials of the words, which makes LAX, the initials for the Los Angeles International Airport. They start to go to the airport, but the jeep runs out of gas. Harold drives by, tooting his horn.

The White Team are at the airport and figure out that 5:30 a.m. is a radio station. They tune in, just as Leon breaks in:

Greetings, Teams. This is Leon.
In case I have you running around in circles,
you might want to know the clue can be found
in terminal number 3.

The White Team is the first there, and they are confronted by a religious group who forces Wesley to take a flyer. Wesley dumps it in the nearest trash can, not even noticing the picture of Leon on the cover.

In the airport gift shop, Laura tries to talk to Adam about Scott, telling him that Scott acts up to get Adam’s attention. To prove her point, Scott purposely drops a vase, shattering it.

No one wants the brochure. Harold, known for his sweet disposition and slow temper, throws the fliers all over the terminal. Barf picks one up and notices Leon is on it. Everyone converges. The flier says:

“His Holiness says you’re off your rocker
if you don’t look inside the locker.”

They all run and find the 5 colored lockers. In each one there is a gift-wrapped box.

Back in the van, Lucille (with a little help from Harold) opens the box. It contains a red ball, a picture of a safety pin, a picture of someone sitting down on a chair and a Large E. Melio’s guess is “Cherry Point.” Chair, E, Point (Pin). Harold asks what the ball is for and Melio flips it away. Harold loses it and smacks Melio.

Adam figures out what it really is: Pinball City. They head for the arcade and find a fortune teller animatronic figure named Madame Leona (it even has a fro and a beard). It spits out a card that says:

“Play the Star Fire
video game. Beat the
machine and you’ll
see the next clue.”
-Madame Leona

The game looks mysteriously like the Star Wars video game. Everyone loses. Laura notices Scott laughing at them. Turns out, he’s an expert. She has to convince the others to let him play, but he does and wins on the first try. Leon appears on the screen wearing antennae. He says:

“Greetings, Earth People.
Congratulations. The finish line is somewhere…
in the Bonaventure hotel.”

Everyone congratulates Scott, except Adam who just runs out, hurrying everyone.

At a stop light, Scott, who is obviously upset at Adams’s snub, jumps out of the jeep and runs off. Adam, tired of worrying about him, decides to let him go. Everyone else goes to look for Scott, abandoning Adam who storms away in Marvin’s jeep. Laura yells after Adam, reminding him of his brother’s birthday.

The Green Team has arrived at Pinball City, just as the Red Team wins the game. They overhear the clue and try to block the Red Team from leaving. Peggy and Lulu start shooting at them with nerf balls. The Green Team gets behind a counter and arms themselves. After a little rationalizing from Peewee, the fight ensues.

Scott is sitting on a street corner bench. The Blue Team’s van stops at the corner and we hear Harold screaming, “All I want to know is where’s the damn finish line!” Scott walks up to the van and tells them he knows where the finish line is.

Back at Game Control, Grimhaus has brought some cops to shut down Leon’s operations. The cop is more interested in Leon’s equipment. He gets sucked in.

The Yellow Team is having no luck finding Scott. Adam comes back for them so they can all look for Scott together. Laura is so proud of him! (insert sappy music)

Scott is in Harold’s van, surrounded by the Blue goons. Scott now refuses to divulge the finish line’s whereabouts, probably feeling some kind of loyalty to the Yellow Team. Harold, fed up, physically threatens Scott and Scott tells all. They throw him out of the van as they speed away. Little Harold falls out as well.

Here’s that timing again. Just as Scott is falling out, the Yellow Team drives up. Adam runs out of the jeep, all concerned for his brother, who runs into his arms. All’s forgiven, I guess. Scott tells Adam that he told Harold where the finish line is, but Adam doesn’t care, as long as Scott is safe.

Meanwhile, the White Team has arrived at Pinball City. They ignore the war going on around them and proceed to the Star Fire game. Before they can even get their quarter in, Blaylak throws a toy pony at the machine, which breaks the monitor. (That’s one heavy pony) The White Team is not amused and joins in the fight. The Green Team sneak out and take off for the finish line. They back into the Red Team’s truck, sending it over an embankment. They find this highly amusing.

Back in the van, Lucille has noticed that Little Harold is missing. Harold refuses to go back, even when Lucille cries. Upon Melio’s suggestion, Lucille grabs the steering wheel and forcefully turns the wheel so that they can go back for the doll.

Back at the corner, the Yellow Team has decided to quit the game and go to Adams’ for some food. Marvin says that the only thing he regrets is that out of all the Teams, Harold’s is going to win. Just then, the van pulls up and Harold runs out to grab Little Harold. Marvin honks at him and Adam says, “I’m sure it missed you too Harold.” The Yellow Team takes off for the hotel. Harold performs a vivisection on Little Harold and rushes back to the van.

At Game Control, Grimhaus has had enough. She destroys one of Leon’s scanners and demands that the cop do his duty. He does, arresting Grimhaus. Everyone present applauds.

Back at Pinball City, the Red and White Team join forces because the Red has the clue and the White has the transportation.

Game Control begins it’s trek to the hotel complete with Police escort. The two policemen arresting Grimhaus take her along, not wanting to miss any of the fun.

It is now morning, and all of the Teams are on their way.

At the Hotel, Leon sets up Game Control in Room 2704.

The Yellow and Blue Teams arrive at the same time and scowl at each other. As they run off to find the finish line, Adam gives Scott his yellow sweatshirt.

The White and Red Teams are kicked out for riding mopeds in the lobby, but Wesley gets them back in as bellboys and maids.

Security is aware that something strange is going on and starts chasing everyone. The Blue Team hides in the Main Power room until it’s safe.

When it is determined that all the Teams have arrived, Leon has the front desk announce over the P.A. system, “Paging Mr. Players. Paging Mr. Game Players. Please pick up a hotel courtesy phone.”

All the Teams pick up the phone and Leon says,:

“Look at the pool area. I mean this expressly.”

Grimhaus, in room 2704 with the rest of Game Control, calls security and reports a bunch of hooligans in the room.

Adam figures out that expressly means to look at the pool area from the express elevator. The Yellow Team goes into one of the express elevators. Harold sees them and the Blue Team takes the other express elevator. From the elevator, they see that the pool’s deck area is full of white chairs that spell out : RM. 2704

Security is on their way to 2704 via a regular elevator.

Yellow gets into a regular elevator and Harold just misses them. He remembers the Main Power room and stops all the elevators, including the Security group’s. The Blue Team starts running up the stairs.

In the elevator, Marvin figures that he can jimmy the elevator if he had some wire. And guess what, Scott happens to wear a retainer. Scott gives him his retainer and it works!

The Blue and Yellow Team arrive on the 24th floor at the same time. Harold pulls the fire hose on them and is about to turn it on when Adam notices the Security people trying to get out of their elevator. He uses Marvin’s nifty retainer jimmying device and frees Security, causing Harold to spray down the fuzz. Security seizes the Blue Team.

So, you know what happens after that?

YELLOW WINS!!!!!!!!!!!!
(aren’t you shocked?)

At the gala reception, Blaylak refuses some champagne, Peggy and Lulu giggle and eat, Scott finally gets his birthday cake and Wesley hits on Donna.

Leon is about to present the Yellow Team with their trophy when the Blue Team is brought downstairs. Harold sees the food and flips out, breaking free and gorging himself. Lucille tries to stop him, but he pushes her into a fountain. Everyone finds this so highly amusing, and Laura and Adam kiss.


–Brandi M. Mills

All original text © Copyright by Brandi M. Mills