Sunday, May 16, 2010

To All a Good Night (1980)

Somewhere I read that after Halloween and Friday the 13th there was at least one thousand slasher movies made all around the world. Big and small, bad and good. I can understand it. It's a good way to make a cheap movie. What you need is one or two nice locations, a couple of over-aged teenagers and some blood and latex. Personally I love this genre. It's not especially complicated, like candy for the brain. Often no complicated message or to advanced character developments, just attractive people getting killed my either a known lone maniac or a lone unknown killer that's unmasked in the end.

To All a Good Night is no exception from the rules. This is just a movie where a bunch of horny school kids want to do some extra partying in a big house and a killer-Santa shows up, killing them one by one with axes, knifes, big stones, airplanes and other things that happens to be around. Everything is set up with a frantic pace, with the "two years earlier"-scene over and done in a couple of minutes and after that there's hardly any establishing of the characters. This might sound a bit negative, but I actually is quite fond of this early Christmas-slasher. It has a huge bodycount over a short period, some impressive gore and the actors are absolutely not bad. What hurts the movie is the way to generic screenplay and that it's to dark most of the time. That last thing can have to do with the transfer to video, because I think that beneath that video-version there's a very atmospheric and well-shot movie. I've never seen this movie in widescreen either, which probably would help a lot.

For a slasher this is a good movie, competent told even without a strong script. And who's the director? No one other than David Hess, yes the famous composer and actor David Hess. How he became a director for this movie I have no idea, but it's a pity he never directed another one - but I guess it's not to late. There's a sense of a black comedy through out the movie, which I think was something Mr Hess came brought to the movie. Though the transfer is a bit to dark, we're treated to some gory shots of mayhem too! A graphic throat slit, stabbings and impalings - and everything is very well done. They're all done by Mark Shostrom, who went on to have a successful career in the fx-business, and just two years after this one we could see his excellent makeup-effects in Albert Pyuns The Sword and the Sorcerer. 

Even if it's far from perfect, David Hess own Santa-slasher is a nice addition to the genre. I can't understand why it's not out on DVD yet? And by the way, isn't it David Hess himself in the beginning of the movie? He's not listed as an actor in the credits, but I'm sure it's him. And every time I see this movie I'm almost convinced that it's Harry Reems playing the pilot. It sounds like him and the mustache fits - but it's way to dark to see him clearly and the actor is listed as one Michael George anyway...

1 comment:

Ray Crowe said...

I love this cheesy, rough, underrated Santa slasher and prefer it to Silent Night, Deadly Night. The synthesizer score is really weird but awesome. Ahead of its time in a lot of ways, especially the high body count.