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The 31 Greatest Horror Movies For Your 2005 Drunken Halloween Bash
(That Probably Cost Less To Make Than You Paid to Rent Out A Few Kegs*)
Horror Movie # 18:  Hell Night

Halloween is a weird holiday. It's the only one where we celebrate spirits, reanimated corpses, and death (if you don't count Christmas). It's the one day out of the year where freaks can look normal and normal people go out of their way to look like freaks. And, best of all, it's a great excuse to pull out your stash of horror DVDs -- ranging from laughable low-budget garbage to quality low-budget classics -- and party like those dancing corpses in the Thriller video. Since many people consider a Halloween Party with the Scream trilogy and some Old Milwaukee a "smashing success," I figured I would put my unhealthy obsession with all things horror to good use and let the world in on the cinematic secrets to giving the best damn Halloween party ever! A new movie will be added daily, right through until the morning of October 31st! You can thank me later. Now, would be fine, too. Either way.

You could go into the ER looking
like this, and the doctors would still
claim that it's simple anxiety, and
your chest pains are all in your head.
Then they'd give you some Tums and
send you home.

Hell Night
Review written by: Alex Sandell

The Story

Four pledges must spend a night in a big mansion where, 12 years earlier, a man murdered his family and killed himself.  Only, when the scene was investigated, there was one body missing.  Some say that the gimp still lives in the dank manor.  If the pledges hope to join a fraternity, they must brave a night alone in the gloomy place.  It's surrounded by gates, has no phone or electricity and is virtually impossible to escape from.  It doesn't take long (27 minutes, to be exact) for the monster/gimp/mongoloid thingie to start killing the pledges off one after the other. 

How Many Beers Should Be Consumed Before Watching?

Hell Night makes for a great drinking game.  For every time a character in the film uses the word "radical," slam a drink (and then toast the screenwriter for his limited vocabulary).  Being that the word's said at least 3 times in the first 20 minutes, people will be too drunk to care by the end of the movie that nobody shows any tits and the gore scenes are edited so fast that you'll miss them if you blink (if you're not too inebriated to find the pause button, you can always use that, if people want to actually see the killings rather than have them pass by like some sort of subliminal message in a Microsoft ad -- come on, would any of us be buying Microsoft products anymore, if the company wasn't using some sort of brainwashing tool?  Their crap doesn't work, you have to license it, if it doesn't work properly you have to PAY Microsoft tech. support to troubleshoot, and we all keep coming back for more.). 

Gore Score

Choosing between a score of "Light Bruising," "Recently Deceased," "Badly Decomposed" and "Puke-Inducing," Hell Night is somewhere between "Recently Deceased" and "Badly Decomposed."  The gore isn't anything spectacular, but there's a darkness to the film and a grotesqueness to the monsters that make it too discomforting to merely be a "Recently Deceased."

Would You Like Cheese With That?

Horror movies can be "Easy on the Cheese," "Regular Cheese," "Extra Cheesy" or "Instant Cheese Based Coronary."  Hell Night is "Extra Cheesy."  The dialogue is shit, the acting is worse and the lame attempts at jokes are pathetic.  The worst part is a police station that just leaves a pile of rifles and guns out in a room with both an open door and open window that leads to the outside.  Maybe that belongs under a "Lazy Screenwriting" category, but if I added one of those, I'd be spending 24 hours a day writing these reviews.  Horror movies aren't generally known for their tight, credible screenplays.

Drug Use 

With "Let Off With a Warning," "Pay a Small Fine," "Put on Probation" and "Go Directly to Jail" to choose from, Hell Night gets "Put on Probation."  Some drugged out chick does quaaludes and booze.  Oddly enough, for a slasher flick, nobody smokes any pot.  That's just wrong.

Sex and the Psycho

Horror flicks and sex go together like romantic comedies and crap.  A terror movie can be rated "Nun," "Curious Schoolboy," "Chick After 8 Beers" or "Paris Hilton."  It's a "Curious Schoolboy."  There's nearly non-stop sex talk through the first half of the film, but the dirtiest it gets is a guy showing a girl how to surf, using her semi-clad body as the board and the same couple having sex, both of them wearing their underwear.  That's what the kids call "dry-humping."  It's an ironic name, since usually both partners end up with wet underwear.  I dry-humped this chick at a graveyard once (no, it wasn't a corpse) and must have literally shot out a month's worth of semen.  Some cop came by and said the church located in the center of the grave had its silent alarm going on and off throughout the night.  He told us it was okay if we were out there, but to stop going in and out of the church, because it was messing with their radio.  I kept trying to cover the wet spot on my jeans as he shined a flashlight all over our bodies, and almost thought I was getting away with it.  Then, just before leaving, he asked if everything was okay.  The girl I was with said everything was fine.  I agreed.  He then said it "looked like I had an accident" and directed the beam of the flashlight to my cum-stained levis.  That was embarrassing.  My girlfriend used it as comedy material for the next month.

When Should it Crash the Halloween Party?

If you plan on playing the "radical" drinking game, this should be your second movie of the evening.  People will already be on their 3rd or 4th beer before it starts, and within 20 minutes of its runtime, they'll have doubled the number and will be drunk enough to enjoy just about any crappy horror movie that violates your DVD player, from that point on.  It doesn't hurt things any that the film starts with a big drunken bash, itself.  And if a bad actor in a cheap Robin Hood outfit pouring a beer while proudly proclaiming, "yessiree bob" doesn't say "party," what does?

Will You Hate Yourself in the Morning?

Waking up from a night of partying can be downright depressing.  Waking up with a cheap horror movie in your DVD player can feel like "Sex With a Hotty," "Sex With Someone in Your League," "Sex With Your Sister" or "Sex With a Sheep."  Hell Night is like having "Sex With Someone in Your League" or "Sex With Your Sister."  I can't decide (maybe because I don't have a sister and I'm in a league of my own).  The movie is pretty generic, but mixing the haunted house and slasher genres works better than you'd expect.  The monster in the film is freaky as hell and there is one scene in the movie where you see him teetering over an unknowing girl that has always given me the creeps (the monster teetering, not the unknowing girl).  It's the kind of movie moment that will have you looking behind you before you go to bed.  The film moves at too slow a pace, and doesn't have as much gore as these kind of movies probably should, but it's ahead of its time in a lot of ways.  The killer twists a victim's head all the way around, at least 3 years before Jason Voorhees did the same thing.  A character is killed with a scythe 3 years before Children of the Corn was released.  The gimp in the haunted house came a full decade before Wes Craven used a similar idea in The People Under the StairsHell Night is closer in spirit to the Resident Evil video games than the Resident Evil movies have been, which should earn it at least a small following.  Also, the set-design is pretty convincing for a movie of this budget.  The labyrinth that is the basement is claustrophobic as hell and straight out of Edgar Allen Poe's worst nightmare.  Garth Manor is the most ominous looking house of horrors since the Bates' home in Psycho.  This movie has too many faults to be considered a classic, or even a good movie, for that matter, but by the time you get to the end and finish watching the well-executed scene featuring the gimpy monster thing on top of poor Linda Blair's car, you'll be satisfied.  It's not the best, but it gets the job done.  That's more than you can say for 90% of horror movies out there.  If you're a fan of slasher films, mangled monsters or Linda Blair, check this one out.  Remember, Hell Night brought out the gimp at least a decade before Pulp Fiction was even a twinkle in Quentin Tarantino's eye.

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Fellow horror hound?  Have any comments on this film?  Recommendations for the list?  Email Alex!

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