Hell Night (1981)

Hell Night came out in 1981 and was an independent horror film that stared Vincent Van Patten and Linda Blair. The film came out during the early period of the 1980’s horror decade. A decade that saw horror films hit their prime and many films that spawned a decade of unforgettable characters.

The movie actually combines some of the horror ideas and stories that made the 1980s a staple of modern horror. The film contains things from a college party, an insane family and a group of college students left alone. These are things that become synonymous with many horror films that have come since this movie was made.

Hell Night starts out with a college party in which both a fraternity, and sorority, is having their annual party. The goal is to get the new pledges initiated into the appropriate group by having them stay the night in the Garth Manor.

We find out that Garth Manor was at one time filled with a man who wanted a lot of privacy for his family. They refused to have their home updated with a lot of modern technology of the period and preferred to live away from prying eyes. This could be caused by the fact that Garth’s did not have much luck when it came to having children. The viewer gets told a tale about the Garth family and how the children each had their own deformity that eventually drove Mister Garth insane.

The man killed his entire family, strangling his wife, and killing his children before hanging himself. The police do become involved and after a complete search were unable to find two of the bodies. This is the story that the main characters Marti (Linda Blair), Seth (Vincent Van Patten), Jeff (Peter Barton), and Denise (Suki Goodwin) hear before being locked in.

What happens from here on out is a story that has some unique twists along with some that have become horror norms. The unique thing is that it must be that many of those involved in the college have already gone through this initiation with no problems. This can be said as we find those in charge of the initiation have set up screaming effects and other gems to scare those inside. The problem is after twelve years this isn’t going to go as planned.

Hell Night can be seen as a predictable film by today’s standards due to the fact many of the scares have been done before. What makes this interesting is the fact the film in away makes fun of itself in the way the scare machines are used.  We get the sense that the college students are not falling for the devices and that the old tricks are not working. Those behind them continue to try with no luck. It’s when the new element of real fear comes in to the film that things get interesting.

Fans of the 1980’s horror films should really like this seldom seen classic. Linda Blair fans will also get a real charge out of the film as she does a great job in this film. At the time she made Hell Night she was of college age being about 22. Hell Night is one of those movies that can last with today’s movies and although the effects maybe out dated it is a film that is worth a viewing.

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