Tuesday, December 14, 2010

HELL NIGHT (1981) - a hazing slasher via the Linda Blair-sploitation genre, dressed up in gothic period garb

Director Tom DeSimone must have absorbed a plethora of lessons from directing gay porn, not to mention Chatterbox, that talking vagina movie with Rip Taylor (Rip unfortunately doesn’t play the title role). This seasoning allowed him to whip up the slasher classic Hell Night, which separates itself from the usual “frat hazing hose heads mangled by man-child mongoloid” plot by making the cast members (including Linda Blair and some surfer asshole) wear gothic period costumes.

Take special note of beautiful Cindra, who lives "kinda in Van Nuys and kinda in Reseda". I think she may the girl that Tom Petty is talking about in "Free Fallin'".

Anyway, these kids have to spend the night in a creepy old mansion where a supposedly murderous “gork” named Andrew still resides. Going through my medical journals, I was unable to find a definition for the term “gork”, so I’ll naturally have to assume it is in fact not a medical affliction, but rather, a nickname given to roadies to semi-popular Russian heavy metal outfit Gorky Park. Presumably, Andrew was burnt out on consuming otherworldly amounts of vodka and raping comatose groupies, and decided to come back to the U.S.A., holding up in his murdered parent’s estate. Naturally, when frat hazing assholes decide to stay the night, play pranks on each other, and “recite” dialogue, Andrew the gork, deciding he’s had enough, attempts to murder the shit out of Linda and her compadres.

Hell Night excels amidst the usual trash, what with the tightly wound suspense (courtesy of Mr. DeSimone), and the great location. No horror movie ever suffered by taking place in a big creepy mansion, complete with cobwebs, and, most importantly, secret passages. You might be sleeping in a bed with the door locked, but, lo and behold, some hunchback maniac has access to a secret trap door and pays you a night time visit. Maybe you’re in the study, reading about the history of Pez while your headphones blast The Alan Parson’s Project on your Walkman. Suddenly, and quite unbeknownst to yourself, the bookcase swings open, and a maniac with perfect posture creeps up behind you with a trident.

Relevant footage begin at 1:22. It's a stretch, I know, but if you're gonna stretch it, do so with Bob and David I always say.

Watching Hell Night as a child terrified me, as I was not witnessing some teens being slaughtered but, true to the slasher ideal, joined them in the nearly hopeless endeavor to escape their plight. It also left me with the yearning to live in such a mansion, what with this blend of elegance and decrepitude, as well as it fostering the never ending suspicion that a clearly defined space may not in fact be what it seems.

This movie was written for the Final Girl blog film club more than a year ahead of time. That's foresight folks. Here is Stacie's review way back in 2006. Maybe she will write a new review to celebrate the film club. I do not know.


  1. Did you just say talking vagina movie?

  2. @Andrew
    Yes, Candace Rialson (PETS) wakes up one day and her vagina starts talking and singing, so she eventually makes a broadway act out of it. It's from 1977. It's actually pretty funny, but the premise is pretty thin (I think it runs like 75 minutes though).

  3. Why isn't every movie a talking vagina movie?

  4. @Dave
    If every movie was a talking vagina movie, it would completely destroy the magical mysteriousness that is the talking vagina. That is why.

    Thanks for reading!