Directed by: Nick Marino and André De Toth
Written by: Kenneth J. Hall, Murray Levy, David Rigg and Nick Marino (story)
Starring: John Ireland, Cameron Mitchell, Alan Hale Jr., Staci Greason, William Butler and Michelle Bauer
Reviewed by: Josh G.
“Why don't we split up and go into different rooms?”
There are some movies you just not should expect too much from. Terror Night, or Bloody Movie as it was released in North America, is one of such films. Unreleased in the States until 2004, and boasting almost too many flushed stars, there was something fishy about this slasher outing. If the likes of Dan Haggerty, Aldo Ray and even Mr. Mitchell cameos weren’t enough to sell to the video market, the picture didn’t look too promising. However, every once in a while something magical happens, resulting in a lost gem unearthed to be watched by the dozens of cult horror followers. But like I said, only ‘every once in a while’.
Vanishing for over twenty years, the home of 20s, 30s and early 40s movie star Lance Hayward (Ireland) has been abandoned in the dust. Or so people thought. Unbeknownst to a group of six teenagers, as well as a horny drunk biker couple, someone is going around the property killing the night watchmen in ways that actors died in the vintage films of Lance Hayward. When the watchmen have all been conquered, it’s the young ones who then fall. In many gruesome ways, by hook, spear, scimitar and axe, the kids are knocked off while leads Kathy (Greason), Chip (Bill Butler of Friday the 13th Part VII, and Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III) and Todd (John Stuart Wildman) attempt to figure out the mystery behind the Hayward estate. Is Lance’s ghost truly back from the dead?
It’s 1987. While the slasher genre has not completely fizzled, and still gave us some entries directly on track, it wasn’t a secret that formula was getting in the way. Where the golden age of 1978-1984 brought many distinguishable, stylish and fun slaughter films, the end of the 80s were striving for something new. Tired comedy routines, dull casts and overall lower budgets were the breaking points in the films, which soon led to 1989/1990, and eventually the almost unbearable 1991-1995 times. Bloody Movie has an interesting idea that starts out halfway decent, but lands itself in a pickle jar by the closing. At least the effects handle things with ease, especially the decapitation and ripping apart by a movie car (lots of guts!). If only the thing that made slasher films good were the blood and gore, then maybe Terror Night could jump up higher to be noticed.
An idea also used by the same year’s Doom Asylum, of incorporating clips from old movies to help move the picture along, makes for fresh-for-then moments that go with the comedic and cheesy edges. A good numbered body count, slapstick and colorful small characters keep things alive while the annoying, cardboard, uninspired cast doddles around. Sadly, even the good parts don’t go beyond anything but a killer appearing and then slicing his victims. A sex scene evokes some laughs from one of the better actresses, Michelle Bauer, from porn and cult movie fame, who is high and drunk out of her mind, but charismatic just the same. Even a bitchy character comes out of her shell before her death, which gives her some relationship with the viewer. The setting, sadly, does nothing to improve the atmosphere. A very run of the mill home for a slasher flick, with generic pieces that make Bloody Movie unmemorable.
The information given about how films were made in the older days is a nice touch for those curious about such things. I also enjoyed how there is a final scene set out of the mansion, giving the picture a sequel feel at the end with the surviving teens being stalked by the believed-to-be-dead killer the night after. It becomes very cruel in who it allows to escape unscathed. Regrettably, in this case not even the audience is safe. Stop the film at the seventy minute mark and imagine a new ending for yourself, because what we receive is so over the top, hammy, and cringe-worthy in the realm of killer monologues. At least it tried something new, but in a strange way I almost wish it kept the same-old approach of its first hour. It was hit and miss, but standard enough to keep its charm.
At the end, it goes from being fun bad movie, to just downright awful. Bloody Awful Movie! If you want a killer who changes his getup from time to time, stick with Terror Train or Fade to Black. The appearances by veteran actors are more forced than a block of cheese rubbed against an old grater. Mitchell, Haggerty, Ray and Hale – performances worthy of Oscars, they certainly do not bring to the plate. Retromedia DVD saw fit to release this one in full screen with its trailer, and little else but a Retromedia website recommendation. Picture is decent enough, and audio is average, except when it faded out in sections where people are talking. A poor release, for a poor movie. If you want to see some stars and teens get cut up, you could do much worse. It had its moments, so it’s not ready for the trash just yet. Sherry the belly dancer will see it to that! Just know what you’re getting into. By now, you should. And hey, at least it lives up to its re-release name. Rent it!
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