Saturday, August 7, 2010

DVD Review: Girls Nite Out (1984)


“The Next Time You Go to a Fancy Dress Party….Check Who’s Going with You.”

DIRECTOR: Robert Deubel
CAST: Julia Montgomery, James Carroll, Hal Holbrook, Suzanne Barnes, Rutanya Alda, David Halbrook

ANECDOTAL: I first heard of this obscure 80’s slasher on The Dark Hours Podcast or perhaps the Cadaver Lab Podcast segment called Slasher Central, I recommend both podcast, they’re pretty awesome. Soon thereafter I picked it up on the cheap for $5, oh yeah, I love a bargain.

SYNOPSIS: The day following the homecoming basketball game and victory party, an all-night scavenger hunt is held on the campus of a small Ohio college. Against the backdrop of campus shenanigans, the school mascot is murdered and his bear costume is utilized by a psychotic killer.

DVD: The DVD is on the Media Blasters imprint Guilty Pleasures. The film is 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, 2.0 mono audio. Special features include a brief interview with actress Julia Montgomery (who seems a bit horrified to be talking about her involvement in the film), a trailer, and an alternate title sequence featuring the unfortunate original title – THE SCAREMAKER. The print is pretty decent for an obscure early 80’s slasher, a few minor blemishes/fading, but overall good print. The audio is rather unimpressive, but sufficient. GIRLS NITE OUT is also available as part of the Shriek Show Bloody School Girls 3Pack.

THE FILM: DeWitt College’s basketball team has won the homecoming game.

Que the Team Winning Game Montage.

 Que the Celebratory College Party Montage.

Alright, the 80’s clichés are in place, were right on track here, folks! Almost forgot, the film opens at the Weston Hills Sanitarium. OK, now were good to go. A killer is on the loose, the team’s mascot has been murdered and a killer is wearing the mascot’s bear suit having modified it with a deadly claw fashioned from steak knives, and is now taking out co-eds one by one. Hal Holbrook, he of CREEPSHOW and THE FOG fame, is really slumming it here as Jim MacVey, the Dewitt College Security Chief. His daughter having been killed 20 years prior in a similar fashion, he vows to get to the bottom of the murders, suspecting that his daughter’s killer may have escaped the sanitarium. Well, there you go, that’s the premise of the film. The characters are one dimensional and stereotypical, I couldn’t recall their names, and stopped caring about 1/3rd into the film. You’ve got the class clowns, ditzy chic stoners, athletes, the cheating boyfriend (and his good natured girlfriend, of course), slutty girls, and a horny nerd. The film tries to throw a few red herrings into the mix, and while I don’t think they were effective, I did not see the twist at the end coming at all. The kills are rather uninspired, you get two stabbings, a couple of shovels to the head, and the bear claw of death several times. No gore, just a smattering of blood here and again. One of the more intriguing aspects of the film is the title GIRLS NITE OUT, and the tagline “The Next Time You Go to a Fancy Dress Party….Check Who’s Going with You.” - it has nothing to do with this film in the least, and was used solely for marketing purposes.

VERDICT: GIRLS NITE OUT, there are so many better slasher films, but, if you, like me, love the genre, and are willing to overlook its shortcomings, or revel in them, there is a good time to be had here. Of note, I particularly enjoyed the quirky 80’s humor of the film. See GIRLS NITE OUT for the KILLER IN A BEAR SUIT and the twist at the end, by far the two best elements of this film.
**1/2 (2.5 out of 5 stars)