The Curator of Schlock #262 by Jeff Shuster

Hell Night

Pray for day!

I keep thinking I’ve covered Hell Night. This would have seemed like the perfect movie to review when I was a younger Curator of Schlock, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. It’s got Linda Blair in it. She plays the final girl. This is a tried and true American slasher movie. It isn’t some stupid whodunit where I have to figure out who the killer is. Just a deformed maniac. That’s how I like it. Don’t try to make me think when I watch these movies!

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1981’s Hell Night from director Tom DeSimone begins with a raucous college party hosted by the fraternity Alpha Sigma Rho. Everyone is attired in various costumes raging from Playboy Bunnies to Vikings. There’s also a bit of drinking and puking going on. This is Hell Night, when new pledges of Alpha Sigma Rho and its sister sorority must test their mettle by spending the night in Garth Manor, an abandoned mansion where a rich man once murdered his entire family after his wife gave birth to one too many malformed children. The legend goes that his youngest son, Andrew, survived and still skulks about the mansion.

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The initiates have to spend one night in Garth Manor. We have Seth (Vincent Van Patten), a surfer dude dressed as Robin Hood who likes to party hardy. He also wears boxers with little red hearts on them, but that’s neither here nor there. Denise (Suki Goodwin), a sorority initiate dressed as some kind of flapper. According to Wikipedia, Denise is “promiscuous.” We won’t comment on that, but she does sneak some Jack Daniels and some Quaaludes into the mansion with her. I think I’m in love. Where was I? Oh, there’s Jeff (Peter Barton), a rich kid who’s bit of a goodie good. He’s dressed as a cowboy. My name is Jeff. Why can’t I be rich? I don’t even have a cowboy costume! And last, but not least is Marti, a studious girl from a working class family (her father is car mechanic), who’s just joining the sorority for the free room. Marti (Linda Blair), take a page out of Denise’s book, please!

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The fraternity has the house rigged up with speakers that provide spooky sounds such as screaming and moaning. There’s even a projector that emits the ghostly visage of what I’d imagine to be old man Garth. The members of the fraternity are having a good time with their tomfoolery until the real Andrew Garth shows up and starts hacking them to pieces. To be fair, he doesn’t just use sharp objects. For the fraternity nerdlinger, Andrew simply twists his head around. Andrew later makes his way into the house and Denise is the first to go. Seth returns from the bathroom to find her decapitated head lying on the bead.

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It’s around this point that the three remaining initiates start freaking out. Seth wants out of there. Naturally, Alpha Sigma Rho locked up the huge front gate so our initiates wouldn’t be tempted to flee Garth Manor after hearing those scary sound effects. Seth manages to climb over despite getting cut up by the sharp spikes atop the gate. Jeff and Marti make him promise to get the police over to Garth Manor pronto. I won’t say anything more about the film to avoid spoiling it for you lot except to say unless Jeff can fly like Superman, he’s in trouble.


Jeffrey Shuster 2

Photo by Leslie Salas.

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.