Movie Review: Hell Night is One Hellacious Slasher Flick!

December 19, 2017

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Hell Night isn’t on the screen more than two seconds before we get a wet t-shirt contest…and awaaaay we go!
Truth be told, the aforementioned contest is part of a larger tableau presenting the many faceted jewel that is “teen partying”…and by “teen” I mean people that appear to be pushing thirty. Anyway, what’s with all the celebrating? Because it’s Hell Night; a night dedicated to hazing new fraternity pledges…and what does the brain trust in charge of such things offer up as a suitable challenge to endure? Why, making the pledges spend the night in a haunted house… what the fuck is this, a Bowery Boys short? Of course , the fraternity brothers have set up a myriad of cheap (and improbably elaborate) scares to screw our heroes over…but soon they are murdered by someone or something lurking the grounds of the arcane abode…and you just know it won’t be long before that murderous madman is playin’ the ol’ stalk n’ slay game with our terrified teens!
Hell Night is definitely on odd entry in the slasher genre. You have all the familiar bits n’ pieces; the sex and drug crazed teens, the isolated location, the maniac on the lose…but the mansion gives the whole production a Gothic flare, as does the backstory of the strange family that used to inhabit the place with their brood of misshapen children (this also echoes H.P. Lovecraft’s Lurking Fear…right down to the tunnels below the mansion). All that being said, Hell Night is a fun fright flick that never fails to entertain or overstay it’s welcome (despite the hour and forty minute run time that’s ten minutes past the ol’ sweet spot for these types of affairs).
Along with the feature presentation, Scream Factory has included a freaky frat house worth of bonus material! first up is an audio commentary featuring Actress Linda Blair (yup, everyone’s favorite possessee stars in this flick), Director Tom De Simone, and Producers Irwin Yablans and Bruce Cohn Curtis. It’s a solid enough listen with plenty of interesting behind-the-scenes tidbits as well as jovial conversation among folks that obviously still dig each other’s company. Next up are interviews with Blair, De Simone, Actor Peter Barton, Curtis, Screenwriter Randy Feldman, Actors Vincent Van Patten and Suki Goodwin (in conversation with one another), Actors Kevin Brophy and Jenny Neumann (another heart to heart style set-up), Art Director Steven G. Legler, Makeup Artist Pam Peitzman and Special Effects Artist John Eggett. All of these add great tales of bringing Hell Night to life above and beyond what is featured in the commentary track. Bringing up the ass-end are a tour of the film’s mansion location, a theatrical trailer, TV spots, a radio spot, and a photo gallery.
If you dig on the golden age of slasher cinema, Gothic thrillers, or both, then Hell Night is the fright flick for you; it’s full of edge of your seat suspense, Linda Blair in  a neckline that’s almost criminal in 48 states, and the world’s smallest radio…I mean, what more could you ask for!



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