Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hell Night (1981)

Thanks to Final Girl for alerting me to this movie, or it may have languished on my 300-strong instant Netflix queue for longer than it should have.  It's strange to see Linda Blair at age 22...she still looks a bit like the little girl whose head went 360 a decade earlier, but bears absolutely no resemblance to her current self.  I think everyone has probably seen Linda Blair at a convention or two, where she's now very skinny and cuckoo for PETA.

Hell Night is about some sort of random fraternity initiation where pledges have to spend the night in a mansion where some dude killed his whole family and himself.  Basically, there are only two couples staying there, but other members of the fraternity are lurking around the house, setting up various pranks to scare the overnighters. 

Some of my favorite things about 80s horror movies are the outfits and the ridiculous dialogue.  As I watch, I can only imagine the kind of thought that went into dreaming up these one-liners.

 "There's a dead chick in my bed!  The whole world's gone mad!"

Also always surprising to me is the "normal" size of the "sexy" actresses, especially as compared to the veritable skeletons traipsing about today's horror flicks. 

 Not an exposed bone in sight....

There are some pretty entertaining deaths in Hell Night, with everything from beheadings to full head twists (an Exorcist nod, maybe?).  There are some genuinely creepy scenes, especially those in the "tunnels" beneath the house.  I'm a New Yorker, so EW RATS!  There are some super strong gorky dudes skulking around and they want all those pesky college students dead. 

 Sexy, right?

You would suspect that this is a case of the most recognizable actor/actress survives the night, and I would say your gut instinct is probably right.  However, we do get treated to some decent acting from Ms. Blair, along with those blood curdling screams that made her so damn famous in the Exorcist days.  I did so love the final iconic shot of a sweaty and disheveled Linda Blair emerging from the house at dawn, victorious, at least for now.  Hell Night is far from the best slasher of the 80s, but it embodies so much that we loved about that decade of horror flicks -- corny special effects, delightful over-acting, hilarious dialogue and nonsensical back stories. 


Anonymous said...

Really great review, SQ.

When I first saw this thing, the world was in the throes of the first "Mad Slasher", and it all just felt like another mad killer/unusual setting/dead teenagers/lotsa blood also-ran that there were so many of back then.

The only thing that caught MY attention was Linda Blair and the kid from "The Powers Of Matthew Star" in the cast.

If you're interested, here's MY take:


The Scream Queen said...

@TGWD - Thanks! Reading yours now, and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's up on Final Girl eventually :)

Dave Enkosky said...

Great review. I totally concur about the welcome sight of normal-sized actresses in these old slasher flicks. If only that look would come back in modern movies.