Tom DeSimone’s 1981 feature is very close to Night of the Demons in structure. There, it was dumb students and Hull House, here it’s dumb students at Garth Manor. In terms of execution though, the effects and the fun is lacking in the latter.
And it’s not like Night of the Demons is a classic, or the only film Hell Night superficially resembles. Hell Night is a bit like House on Haunted Hill too, the classic flick where eccentric millionaire Vincent Price invites folks to spend the night in a creepy house. And when you’re talking young attractive people in an isolated setting, well…there are hundreds of horrors about that.
Frat/sorority initiates are goaded into spending a night at Garth Manor, where the family patriarch strangled the missus, and killed his three deformed kids before killing himself. But legend has it, one of his kids survived.
A mob of students herds the initiates onto the property by tiki-torch light and locks the gates behind them. One of the students is Marti, played by Linda Blair, who it should be said seems completely bored by the proceedings. And she’s not the only one. This is a dull affair, with lots of long hallways with lights shone down them.
Straddling Gothic horror and stalk-and-slash college caper, Hell Night does neither genre any favors. But if we had to choose…the former provides the best elements, as there are some nice candle-lit visuals.
For some reason, Hell Night is out on Blu-ray. And yet, it’s not even among the Top 3 films with “hell” in the title, Hellraiser being the best (of course).
So is viewing the film a hellish experience? We wouldn’t go that far…
**1/4 (out of 5)
[Check out our Hell Night discussion on the Really Awful Movies Podcast]