Hell Night

1981

Hell Night

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

56%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 9

46%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,921
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Movie Info

This plodding, derivative slasher opus -- a surprise box-office hit -- stars Exorcist vet Linda Blair as one of a quartet of sorority and fraternity pledges required to spend the title evening of their initiation inside the spooky Garth Manor. The mansion was the site of a gruesome multiple murder, wherein the owner killed his wife and three of his four deformed children before taking his own life. After the four pledges bed down for the night (mainly with each other, though Blair is called upon for the standard "virginal heroine" role here), mischievous upperclassmen descend into the house, intending to scare them out of their wits...but something even more repulsive than a pack of drunken frat-boys beats them to it. It comes as no surprise that Garth's fourth child -- apparently the most monstrous of the bunch -- is still roaming the premises, and doesn't take kindly to strangers. An early foray onto exploitation turf for director Tom de Simone, this film has a fairly stylish look, though mired by underlit photography and silly performances. Blair is appealing, but her role is sadly underwritten.

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Critic Reviews for Hell Night

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (1)

  • You know a movie is in trouble when what is happening on the screen inspires daydreams. I had lasted through the first reel, and nothing had happened. Now I was somewhere in the middle of the third reel, and still nothing had happened.

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • This particular slasher set itself apart from the era's deluge of them by being somewhat of a genre-mashup with an old school haunted house movie ... you practically expect Vincent Price to step out and reveal himself from behind a curtain.

    Mar 6, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Hell Night may have an intriguing set-up, but ultimately it suffers from bland execution and a rather uneventful narrative, which results in just another forgettable slasher from the 80s.

    Jan 1, 2018 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…
  • In that rare company of slasher films that aren't just good by the standards of their subgenre, but manage to round the corner to being legitimately good works of horror cinema.

    Jul 13, 2014 | Rating: 7/10 | Full Review…
  • Hell Night brought out the gimp at least a decade before Pulp Fiction was even a twinkle in Quentin Tarantino's eye.

    Oct 15, 2005 | Rating: 6/10 | Full Review…
  • Quaintly entertaining combination of slasher stuff and haunted mansion material.

    Jul 26, 2002 | Rating: 3/5

Audience Reviews for Hell Night

  • Mar 27, 2017
    Trapped overnight in a haunted mansion with a homicidal maniac and doomed to making all the moves movies 30 years later would make serious fun of ("I'm going down in the basement without lights to see what that sound was. You guys stay here."), this 1980's horror turn asks the question: what could go wrong? Linda Blair stars. It's fun.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Feb 21, 2015
    To make an effective horror film you don't need lots of gore or a large number of body counts. Hell Night proves that a talented cast and clever plot could make this low budget film into a surprise hit.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Oct 16, 2012
    Effective Slasher, Hell Night is a fun treat despite its flaws. The film is an underrated horror yarn that stars Linda Blair and Vincent Van Patten. With effective kills, this one should appeal to horror fans looking for Obscured, forgotten titles. Hell Night is entertaining from start to finish, and boasts enough entertainment value to please the most demanding genre fan. This film has its imperfections, but is held together by Linda Blair's performance that is pretty good and makes the film worth seeing despite its cheesiness. As a Slasher film, this one works well and is far better than most run of the mill Slashers of the early 1980's. This is a good flick that has plenty to offer. Although Hell Night doesn't reinvent the formula, it still has all the ingredients to make for an effective horror flick. At times the acting, and dialogue suffer, but Slasher films are not going to win any big prizes. As far as the genre is concerned, this is a fine little flick that is a must see for genre fans. The gore is great and each kill is intense, also there's plenty of suspense and a hint of atmosphere due to the fact that this was filmed in a Victorian mansion, which adds a creepier feel to the picture. Although the film relies on the derivative Slasher formula, the production values and setting of the movie make it a tad more accomplished than most in the genre. I very much enjoyed this film, and it is an obscured gem of the golden era of Slasher flicks.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Jan 31, 2012
    Nowadays nobody who wants a legitimate career in the film industry would dream about starting in porn but that wasn't always the case. Back in the seventies the technical specs of skin flicks were pretty much on a par with regular movies, they were shot on film and required a knowledge of lighting that non-professionals simply didn't have. If you were a director with a list of porn titles on your cv you were taken seriously by producers of exploitation fare. Tom DeSimone, director of titles like "Swap Meat" and "Heavy Equipment", was taken aboard by Irwin Yablans of "Halloween" fame to direct this slasher. He should have stuck with porn. Having never attended college in the United States I didn't realise that Hell Night was an actual thing, the night when pledges are put through ordeals in order to be accepted into fraternities and sororities. Blair is one such pledge and to prove her worth she and her slutty English friend must spend the night in a purportedly haunted mansion with two guys who look like they belong in a "Hardy Boys" porn spoof. The fact that the guys in this movie are prettier than the girls is a clue to the directors previous career in gay porn. You know straight away that Blair will survive the night as she instantly shows no interest in sex, in fact she seems completely disinterested in anything, mumbling her way through the script like she's hypnotised. Goodwin is doomed from the start as she takes drugs, drinks, and jumps straight in bed with a guy who seduces her by using surfing as a sexual metaphor. As far as easy lays go she's right up there with Jamie Lee Curtis in "The Fog", the early eighties must have been a great time to be a horny young man. As slashers go this is particularly tedious, the kills are bland and badly shot, the attempts to build up atmosphere amounting to tedious scenes of characters walking through poorly lit corridors. Aside from a few amusing lines of dialogue there's little of interest here. Screenwriter Randy Feldman didn't get another script produced for eight years after this but it was worth the wait, the buddy cop classic "Tango & Cash"!
    The Movie W Super Reviewer

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