REVIEW: Hell Night (1981)



Hell Night: C

This is a fairly entertaining little slasher film with pretty well-done suspense, some great jump-scares, some interesting murders, and Linda Blair dressed in ruffles and velvet. It doesn’t seem to have cost a whole lot, and I suspect that the biggest line item in the budget was Linda Blair’s cocaine.

But it loses at least one entire letter grade because the slasher is named ….Andrew. Andrew. When I think of a guy named Andrew…I just don’t think danger. I think of a Jewish lawyer or some red-headed perv or something.

So Andrew’s backstory goes thusly: He was the youngest son of Raymond Garth, the richest man in The Town That This Is In. Mr. Garth hated all his children, because as the movie describes them, they were “mongoloids” and “cripples”. Andrew had the bad luck to be born a “gork”-a word I’ve never heard, but it seems bad because when Garth killed the whole family and then himself, he punished Andrew by making him watch everyone die and then stay there alone. And he was never found, so he might just be living in the house.

So this Frat/Sorority combo at The College in The Town That This Is In is making 4 new pledges stay in the Garth house ALL NIGHT long after the biggest drunken, date-rapiest frat party of the year. Which is also a costume party.

There are: Slicky-Boy (who is dressed up as Robin Hood), British-Slut-Girl (who costume seems to be “whorish limey who wears underwear, boas, and flapper headbands everywhere”) the Boring Guy (whose costume is “feminine geek who has decided to assert his manhood by dressing like Lord Byron”). Then there’s the good girl, who is Linda Blair in velvet and ruffles.

So they’re locked in, and some things happen. One of those things is that Slicky Boy and the British Slut bang almost immediately, and she keeps calling him “Wes” instead of “Seth”, which is what HE says his name is. Even the last time she sees him. It was a good recurring joke seeing her strip away his identity like that.

As I said before, it’s actually a very solid slasher film with all the necessary tropes covered. It manages to provide some nice jumps and inventive kills. There’s also some subtle foreshadowing and deftly constructed suspense. But…I did see it when I was 10 and then once when my sister gave me the DVD as a joke and I watched it and then sold it to Rasputin’s. So maybe you can get it there.

There ARE some fairly glaring plot holes, but those don’t really matter if you just tell yourself to enjoy it. Don’t ask me why, for instance, if the Frat does this every year, no one’s ever gotten so much as a Wet Willie from…Andrew…all these years. Also don’t ask me who the hell is that other guy who Slicky-Boy blows away by the pool. I didn’t make the movie.

And the guys who did make it don’t care about your questions, and they’re probably laughing at you right now out on some pleasure boat somewhere while they snort blow off the butt cheeks of their Guatemalan slaves.

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