Saturday, October 10, 2009

October Horror Fest #10: HELL NIGHT

Ah, now this is everything a classic 80s horror movie should be. Drunk college kids, a haunted house, inventive kill scenes and Linds Blair. What more do you need? Released in the summer of '81, Hell Night wasn't a huge success (it was actually the last film released by defunct Compass International Pictures) but this was the Golden Age of the Slasher, so there were plenty of quality flicks getting passed over by the public.

Four pledges (two guys and two girls) are instructed to spend Hell Night in haunted Garth Manor. While the pledge masters have been setting traps and practical jokes, the very real surviving member of the family that was massacred there has a plan of his own for the trespassers.

This movie really succeeds on all levels. The set design is fantastic; shades of The Shining, Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre can be seen throughout the mansion and its grounds. The kids aren't stupid, either. When they realize what's happening, they take charge and refuse to just be victims. The killer isn't seen until late in the movie, which is also a good effect that prolongs the tension and keeps the mood scary. Linda Blair is the only recognizable talent, but each actor's performance is decent to say the least.

Aside from some dated dialogue and lack of nudity, Hell Night has all the qualities a classic horror movie should. This is a definite must-own for serious horror fans, and even casual viewers should check this out ASAP. You'll be glad you did.

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