Hell Night 1981 -Review

PLOT It's pledge night for sororities and fraternities! We have four kids here, 2 guys and 2 girls. They have one final task to complete. That is to spend one full night in the old legendary Garth Manor. Legend has it that Raymond Garth killed his wife and all of their children. All of their children had some type of deformity. Police say that the youngest Garth child, Andrew was never found. Legend has it that Andrew saw his father murder the whole family before killing himself. It is also said that Andrew still lives and roams the halls of Garth Manor to this day. REVIEW Hell Night was released August…

Review Overview

Acting
Visuals / Camera
Sound
Story
Pacing / Editing
Characters
Entertainment Value / X-Factor
Mood / Atmosphere

Great little 80's horror flick!

Four kid's from fraternities must stay one night in the creepy legendary Garth Manor. Things take a turn for the worse and kids start getting killed. Is it true that Andrew still resides behind the walls of Garth Manor? Pray for day!

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PLOT

It’s pledge night for sororities and fraternities!

We have four kids here, 2 guys and 2 girls. They have one final task to complete. That is to spend one full night in the old legendary Garth Manor. Legend has it that Raymond Garth killed his wife and all of their children. All of their children had some type of deformity.

Police say that the youngest Garth child, Andrew was never found. Legend has it that Andrew saw his father murder the whole family before killing himself. It is also said that Andrew still lives and roams the halls of Garth Manor to this day.

REVIEW

Hell Night was released August 28, 1981. Starring Linda Blair better known for her role in the Exorcist as the possessed little girl, Regan.  Peter Barton also went on to play in Friday The 13th The Final Chapter in 1984.

Hell Night was directed by Tom DeSimone,  just another one of those horror films trying to
quickly capitalize on the success of movies like Friday The 13th, and Halloween. The first few years of the 80’s people were spinning out horror movies left and right trying to make the next popular successor of its genre.

One of those movies was Hell Night. They made this in just 40 days. It’s actually a
pretty convincing and effectively decently made movie. The editing of the movie fits together pretty well and just seems to captivate, especially in certain scenes.  You would  never guess the movie used several locations to film on.

The outside portions of the Garth Manor were filmed at a mansion in Redlands, California. The inside portions of the film were shot in a residential home in Pasadena, California. And for the Frat party, that was shot in a lobby that belonged to an apartment in L.A. California.

The underground tunnels in the movie were very creepy. They were very dark and dirty looking. It worked so well that it will have you believing that those tunnels were actually under the Garth Manor. When in actuality, they were really just a couple of corridors the director had his 2 cast members run back and forth from different angles. Quite effective in my opinion. First time I saw the movie I really felt a sense of claustrophobia and intense fear from the tunnel chase scenes.

This movie really does try to break away from the exploitation of bloody guts and overly done gore. It’s made to scare and actually succeeded pretty well. The atmosphere in the movie contributes to this factor quite nicely. There are some really good intense moments in this film. I think this movie works in similar ways that the original Halloween movie worked. John Carpenters Halloween didn’t need or use large buckets of blood to make their movie work. Both of these films used genuine tension in the correct manner to keep the audience on their toes, without over doing it. The story was a good one, it added mystery and creepy elements to the character of the killers. Yes, I said killers, watch the movie again, and you will see why if you do not remember.

When you have a good story line and a great mix of other elements, you don’t always need buckets of blood and gore to have a successful horror movie. I think a lot of these elements are missing in today’s modern horror movies, as they seem to rely to much on cheap jump scares, loud music on key points, overly used CGI and unnecessary use of buckets of blood. This is not what makes horror folks, not in my opinion. We need to bring back what works, bring back those old traditional elements that captivate the audience and keeps them biting their nails.

In closing….

Once you get past the slow start of the movie and a couple of slow pockets in between, It really does make up for it later. If you want good old fashion creepy tension, check this one out!

And maybe, just maybe, Andrew wasn’t the only one who survived!

Hell Night in my opinion earns it spot in the best of the batch of its genre. Oh, and Linda Blair is a great screamer!

 

CAST

Linda Blair as Marti Gaines
Vincent Van Patten as Seth
Peter Barton as Jeff Reed
Kevin Brophy as Peter Bennett
Jenny Neumann as May West
Suki Goodwin as Denise Dunsmore
Jimmy Sturtevant as Scott

 

Lilith’s Tidbits:

The part where Jeff (Peter Barton) gets tossed down the cement stairs in the tunnel under the manor and ends up getting his leg hurt. Well, that indeed is what happened. Peter actually injured his leg during the filming of that scene. So when you see him limping in this movie,
remember he is truly in some nasty physical pain.

A bit of mystery as far as the 2 men who played the films killers at Garth Manor. They are not listed in the credits, and their real names remain a mystery. However, on the DVD release of Hell Night, during the commentary we learn that both men were of German National and spoke little or no English at all. One of the 2 men, the bearded middle aged one, died shortly after the release of the film.

They had to bring in the hedge maze that you see in film. There was no actual hedge maze on the property. The one chase scene in particular of this movie using the maze, reminded me so much of the chase scene in The Shining!

 

Remake: Yes or No?:

There has been some talk over the past few years of remaking Hell Night. I have heard that Sony was interested in getting this a done deal. The real horror here is that they wanted a PG-13 rating and wanted to target  a younger audience! Since when do you need to give a horror movie a PG-13 rating to target a young audience who love horror movies as it is?

Just HOW young are they wanting to go?

This is exactly why more modern horror movies are lacking today. The makers / producers etc are so out of touch with their audience in the horror genre want and looking for. They dumb it down for younger audiences and the older members of the audience are the ones who suffer usually. Anyway, I could really get on my high horse about this, but I won’t.

At this time, I have not heard anything currently on whether or not this remake will be going forward or not. Personally, I hope they leave it alone.

 

TRAILER:

About Lilith

Hello to all you horror fans out there! I go by the handle "Lilith", I am one of the original reviewers for TalkHorror.com. Since TH is back, I have resumed as part of the TH staff! Really happy to be back, I have missed the place! A bit about me as far as horror goes.... I am known for my old school horror ways. While I try not to be biased towards today's modern horror, sometimes it can come across. But I do try my best to bring honest, open minded opinions and thoughts to the table. One thing you will learn about me is that I am very open minded and strongly opinionated. I also have a very twisted sense of humor that I am known for. My sense of humor doesn't have to many limits. Back to horror... I tend to enjoy horror movies mainly from the 70's and 80's. I feel some of the greatest horror movies came from this time period. I find them to be more scary, creepy and more realistic and believable. Back then people making these movies seemed to take more time, effort and care in their project. Hard work had to be put into the special FX and mostly done manually. Not like today's horror, where CGI is getting overused because it is easier and faster. For me, it takes something away from the movie. I have seen good horror movies with potential become ruined because of to much CGI. I am also not a big fan of remakes and found footage films. I do give them a chance, but the majority seems to fall short. Some start off with some great potential, but then end up losing me by the end of the movie. Very few I end up actually liking. I also am a huge collector of horror movies. I collect rare hard to find OOP VHS movies. I have quite a few rare VHS. I also collect DVDs as well. I do not have a lot of horror memorabilia otherwise, but I do have a few things. Mostly the problem is that I have ran out of room, lol! I have around 1200 horror movies alone, VHS & DVD. That isn't even counting the regular movies I have. So that is about it really, if you have questions for me, just ask! I don't bite! Lilith

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