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Hell Night (Widescreen)

Linda Blair , Vincent Van Patten , Tom DeSimone    R (Restricted)   DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 73.54
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Is there a cheesier, funnier (without meaning to be) actress than Linda Blair? A victim of early Hollywood success with The Exorcist, she hit puberty, tried being a teen queen and a scream queen, and then hung around on the basis of the success of her first major role, exploring the limits of her talent in a series of sub-B movies. This 1981 film, about bad shenanigans during Pledge Week at college, wasn't exactly one of the high points. This surprisingly tedious venture features a group of fraternity and sorority pledges forced to spend the night in an abandoned--and, of course, haunted--mansion that once housed a killer. And would you be surprised to find out that it still does? The cast includes Vincent Van Patten and Peter Barton, as though that's an attraction. No scares, no skin--what's the point? --Marshall Fine

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Hate those iron fences! July 19 2004
So many horror movies came out in the early 1980's that movie makers sometimes had a hard time finding locations and situations that hadn't been used yet. Sorority and Fraternity initiations were a great way of sticking teens into situations no sane person would go into voluntarily.
Hell Night sticks four unfortunate twentyish kids into Garth Mansion, the site of a grisly family slaughter years before. The sadistic pledge masters lock the huehuehuege iron gates behind them and inform them they have to stay the night. The pledge masters then begin setting off special effects they set up earlier to try and scare the four hapless pledges. As you might guess, there are real horrors inside which start thinning out the cast.
Linda Blair is the obvious star of the show. I am a fan of Linda's but for some reason I just get the feeling while watching this that she is disinterested. In fact early on she seems to be improvising her lines. The GREAT commentary track explains some of this. Apparently everyone on the set had a great time and was loaded half the time. The director (Tom DeSimone)and producer (Irwin Yablans who brought us Halloween) are on the commentary as well. It's obvious everyone got along well and had fun making the film.
Having seen the film before getting the DVD, I really liked the feel of it, although I wasn't sure why. The commentary hit on something I hadn't considered. The pledges are all in costumes since the Hell Night festivities were part of a costume party. The director mentions that this was done so they could logically dress the characters in gothic, period costumes without having to make an actual period film.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Alpha Sigma Rho doomed / 80's classic horror May 7 2004
Entertaining little movie by the executive producer of Halloween you can see the style evident in this. The story four college students are rushing Alpha Sigma Rho Frat/sorority on hell night. They have to spend the night in Garth Manor mansion that has been shut down for 12 years because story has it Raymond Garth slaughtered his family here 12 years ago. Except little deformed Andrew Garth who slipped through the cracks and apparently doesn't like any visitors. In true 80's slasher fashion the head fraternity brothers have to try to scare them to death one by one there killed off. The acting isn't the greatest except Linda Blair but it's 80's horror. The film is quite suspensful the way the cinematography and music is handled very well. More of a messing with the mind jump out of your seat horror film than typical blood/gore slash films in that decade. One of my favorite 80's horror films I own the DVD & special features are good. You can't be a fan of 80's horror films without liking this movie. Recommend to fans of
Terror Train
The Burning
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3.0 out of 5 stars Guilty pleasure April 20 2004
By A Customer
This is a surprisingly effective little semi-chestnut from the "glory days," if that's the term, of slasher flicks. Just as "Nightmare on Elm Street" raised itself, somewhat, above the genre with a nifty touch of psychology, "Hell Night" raises itself through clever scares and good production values (although its essential cheapness is evident whenever a candle flame or other light source is reflected in the camera lens rather than being filtered out), and through mostly sympathetic and likable characters. It is also intriguing to see that Frank Darabont, who would later go on to acclaim for his scripts, does technical work on this movie.
The plot is simple: four college fraternity/sorority pledges must spend one night in a decrepit mansion, on the 12th anniversary of the last tenant's massacre of his entire family, save for his youngest child. Of course, it is still believed that said child still lives in the house, which comes equipped with trap doors, tunnels, and secret rooms, a belief that, as the pledges find out to their dismay, is correct.
Despite her top billing, Linda Blair really isn't the star; she shares the screen equally with the rest of the major cast. She plays an appealingly sweet-but-smart heroine, and though she's hardly a beauty (and would be considered obese by today's standards), she looks downright luscious in her cleavage-baring Bo Peep getup, with her normally frizzy hair in a bun. Blair and Peter Barton interact so well together that you scarcely notice that Barton could give Rob Lowe a run for his money in the pretty-boy department, nor his badly-dated early 80s haircut. The scenes where they talk to each other about their respective backgrounds are actually interesting, and you want them to end up together.
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Linda Blair stars as a sorority pledge who, along with three others (Van Patten, Barton and Goodwin) must spend the night in Garth Manor, an old abandoned house, as a part of her initiation. According to legend, the house's former owner killed his wife and three children there years before, though one of the children (who was said to be horribly deformed) is rumored to have survived and may still be lurking in the labyrinth of tunnels below the house. After Blair and the others start finding the mutilated bodies of their classmates on the grounds of Garth Manor, they begin to wonder if the legend is true. Blair turns in a surprisingly effective performance as a teenager from a working-class background who feels a little out of place among her well-heeled counterparts. She manages to make her character seem almost three-dimensional, which is rare indeed for a slasher flick. It's a shame that Blair didn't get more screen time. The film has some real pacing problems: after a great setup in the first 15 minutes, the film really lags, making the middle third tough going at times. But the intense final minutes of the film feature some terrific scares, and are definitely worth waiting for.
Two and a half stars out of five.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Has some good qualities...
Hell Night is not scary, but it is still entertaining. The charectors (the four in "Garth Manor") are likeable, and the mansion is cool and the hidden room with the... Read more
Published on June 24 2004 by Xanadu
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply ingenious
Now this is a great flick! You get scream queen Linda Blair and HALLOWEEN producer Irwin Yablans in one little dvd! Read more
Published on Nov. 26 2003 by Ryan
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Horror Hybrid
That head-spinning little girl from THE EXORCIST (1973), Linda Blair--now all grown-up and gorgeous and causing all the guys' heads to spin--stars in HELL NIGHT, a surprisingly... Read more
Published on Nov. 4 2003 by Michael R Gates
1.0 out of 5 stars HELL TO WATCH=HELL NIGHT
The movie Hell Night looked ok so I thought I would give it a try,I'm glad it was a rental,this movie [smelled. Read more
Published on July 4 2003 by Ted
2.0 out of 5 stars A very fitting title.
This movie is another 80s teenage sex and terror flick, done with a minimum of inspiration and talent. Read more
Published on May 1 2003 by Cody
5.0 out of 5 stars Not hell to watch-heaven.
Hell Night is definitely an above average horror flick and one of the best horror films ever made, although it is a little dark through some parts and hard to make out what is... Read more
Published on March 27 2003 by Adam Paul Bailey
5.0 out of 5 stars Not hell to watch-heaven.
Hell Night is definitely an above average horror flick and one of the best horror films ever made, although it is a little dark through some parts and hard to make out what is... Read more
Published on March 27 2003 by Adam Paul Bailey
3.0 out of 5 stars A forgotten 80's Horror
It's hard not to think that Linda Blair was offered the part in 'Hell Night' in 1981 to cash in on the ever popular 'The Exorcist'. Read more
Published on Jan. 18 2003 by William
5.0 out of 5 stars Horror at it's best !
This movie should be up there with the likes of "Halloween" as a classic of the genre. Unlike most of the slasher flicks of the eighties, "Hell Night" is not full of gruesome... Read more
Published on Sept. 5 2002 by Grant Allan
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