Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Hell Night (1981)

A group of new pledges (Linda Blair, Peter Barton, Vincent Van Patten, Suki Gooden) are willing to do anything to join a fraternity. They’re seeking acceptance from the cool people on campus, but they must pass one crucial test, if they want to become proud members of the fraternity: this particular group of pledges must spend one night in a haunted mansion. A group of brutal and horrific murders occurred at Garth Manor twelve years prior to the current stroryline. Raymond Garth (the father of the family) snapped, and he killed off the members of his family one by one, but the body of Andrew (Garth’s youngest child) was never found. At first, the group of pledges discover an obvious plot for a prank, and the “haunted” mansion doesn’t seem so scary. But a series of some very real and brutal murders change everything. The pledges aren’t alone in the mansion, and the chances for escape and survival are very slim.

Hell Night is your typical 80’s slasher flick, but everything works here, and I really enjoyed this film. Hell Night provides a spooky and chilling atmosphere most of the time (mainly during the scenes at the haunted mansion), there are a few jump scares, this film features some very likeable characters, and the acting is decent enough. Also, the kills in this film are pretty gruesome. Hell Night doesn’t go too over the top with blood and violence, but the deaths and the gore do provide some cringing moments. The story was decent enough, and Hell Night was a fun ride for me.

Yeah, this film does feature a few plot holes, this one can feel very corny and cheesy most of the time, and the humor is just dreadful. Also, this film is predictable at times, and you can clearly see who the sole survivor will be at the end of the film. Still, Hell Night works as a mindless slasher film. Hell Night features all of the elements (blood, gore, violence, scares, hot women) that would satisfy plenty of horror fans, and you can have a good time with this film, if you lower your expectation levels for anything good or great. Oh, and for what it’s worth, seeing Linda Blair in a non-possessed and evil state was kind of weird. Sorry, but after watching The Exorcist so many times, images of Blair’s zombie look and the green vomit are burned in my memory, and to tell you the truth, I have a hard time remembering Blair for anything else besides The Exorcist.

On a side note, Hollywood’s desperation for new ideas continues to be a problem, and they will reach into the bag of past horror films again, because Hell Night will receive a remake in the near future. This news was reported a while ago, and a remake for this film doesn’t surprise me at all. Hell Night has developed a nice sized cult following over the years, so the remake could gain its fair share of attention. Hell Night isn’t as popular as Halloween and other past slasher films, but with the right marketing strategy and promotion campaign, the Hell Night remake could become a respectable box office success. Although, when it comes to horror remakes, Hollywood doesn’t have a good success rate, when it comes to making high quality films, so the thought of a remake really doesn't excite me at all.

Final Rating: 7/10

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