Hell Night

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Besides being a prime contender for a remake, and being the name of a b-side Misfits song (with little relation to the film), 1981’s Hell Night (directed by Tom DeSimone aka gay porn director Lancer Books!?!) is one of the best looks-like-it-would-be-a-piece-of-shit film…that surprisingly is fucking awesome….check it out…

Peter Bennett (Kevin Brophy) is the President of Alpha Sigma Roe and tonight is Hell Night. What is Hell Night? Well it’s Bennett’s fucked up version of “Pledge Night” for people pledging to get into his fraternity/sorority-what do the four pledges need to do??? They need to spend a night locked in Garth Manor; a place where 12 years earlier a man named Raymond Garth murdered the majority of his family (he left one mutant son alive) then killed himself…. legend has it that there is still a Garth family member roaming the halls of Garth Manor WAITING for co-eds to come by so he/she/it can fuck with them. Enter the four suckers who will be spending the night; Seth (Vincent Van Patten), Jeff (Peter Barton), Denise (Suki Goodwin) and Marti (Linda Blair). After the two couples pair off to party in Garth Manor, Bennett and some of his flunkies show up to set traps, drop one-liners and generally just fuck with the pledges. The pledges put two and two together and realize that Bennett is fucking with them, but while Bennett can take the credit for loud screams and various other hokey “scares” he isn’t guilty of killing off his crew of cronies. Who is killing the co-eds? Is Garth Manor really still inhabited? Does this movie deserve more credit than it gets? Pick up a copy and see for yourself.

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Each character is pretty much what you would expect; Seth is a surfing version of his character from Rock N Roll Highschool (and he still can’t act), Jeff is a rich emo guy, Denise is a British party chick and Blair is the good girl (but oh so sexy) in her quest to be taken seriously and break her type-cast Regan character-and she succeeds. In fact Blair and the crew (minus Van Patten) handle the what-could-have-been-boring script very well, and the movie itself is a great chiller/slasher that sadly gets lumped in with all the no-name slashers from the early 80’s. It’s not super gory and there are a few jump scares, but what it lacks in gore it makes up for in atmosphere. Dan Wyman’s score is great and moody and deserves a release all of it’s own.

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Hell Night is not a “classic” in the sense that something like Halloween is a classic but it definitely deserves more of a following/respect than it has. Producers Irwin Yablans & Joseph Wolf dissolved their company Compass International Pictures after the release of Hell Night due to poor ticket sales and it’s a shame because Hell Night is not a bad film at all, but due to over saturation in the market no one cared…sad but true.

Anyway, if you ever hung out at video stores in the 80’s then you KNOW the iconic movie box/poster probably more than you know about the movie, but that said, don’t overlook this piece of history-it’s available on a wide variety of DVD releases and a must have for any 1980’s horror complete-ist.

Charlie “You’ve got a date you little beach bunny” Brown.

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~ by exploitnation on March 2, 2008.

One Response to “Hell Night”

  1. […] Night Remake…? The good news is I am a fucking psychic (read the first sentence of my review from two months ago). Sony has announced they ARE in fact remaking Hell […]

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