Happy Hell Night (Yugoslavia/Canada, 1992) (AKA "Frat Night")
Starring: Larry Robinson, Lisa Nichols, Sam Rockwell
When brothers clash for the same gal, things are bound to get ugly; this was the case for Eric, the house president of Phi Delta Sigma fraternity, when he found out that his younger brother, Sonny, was seeing (and canoodling) his ex-girlfriend.
Apparently bitter about this and the fact that he had to initiate his brother to the fraternity for the annual Halloween Hell Night (under the nagging of their father,an ex-sigma), Eric decided to give Sonny a fraternity stunt that he originally thought was too risky for his pledges, out of revenge: there is a local boogeyman named Zachary Malius, a man in a priest's garb that was arrested for the murders of seven sigmas and a local girl some years ago, apparently out of a Satanic ritual. Everybody claims he's still alive, waiting motionlessly for something inside his cell at a local nuthouse, Sonny and another pledge's task is to take a picture of the man straight from said asylum should he exists.
After nosing around where they're not supposed to be, the two found the priest in his cell, covered in cobwebs yet very much alive and deadly. Malius grabbed the opportunity, killing his way out of the building and apparently trails back to the frat house, where a convenient blackout had driven most of the partying guests out of the house, leaving several frat members and their dates in the dark, ripe for Malius' slaughtering spree.
A very 80s-esque slasher released in the early 90s, Happy Hell Night is your typical college initiation gone wrong type of horror flick, with a side of supernatural creepies. It has the cheesy tone of a late 80s entry, siding with a nyctophobic atmosphere as well as some really gory killings at the hands of an effectively unnerving demon, which harks back at the early 80s entries of the sub-genre.
Sadly, the movie is underrated by many fans for some perfectly good reasons. For starters, editing made the film look weird at times; if it wasn't for the killer's supernatural state, it would had been strange seeing him in so many places at once, but for the rest of the movie, it were edited in a messy quick-cut fashion that looks like it was done off in a hurry, leaving some scenes to look like two separate scenarios pasted together to create a jaggy flow on the plot. This gave the movie an unbalanced tone when it comes to its otherwise cheesy plotting and scripting, but once the spree killing starts, it thankfully decided to ditch the cornball frat party atmosphere and went straight ahead with being a bloody bodycounter.
Then, there's the fact that there's a lack of any real sympathetic characters, with majority of the cast playing frat boys that are either douches or bears the brain of a horny preteen, as well as foreign chicks that is just there to be fucked and killed.Character development is never a thing for slashers, but at least give them a personality that sets one apart from the other. The final girl is a variation, at least; she's not a virgin, established quite early in the film, and the only form of accomplishment she had done against the killer was that she recited some spell while the two brothers tangos with a homicidal demon.
Not a strong set of casts, but at least said killer was well worth seeing. In fact, he is one of the major pros this movie had offered; pitch black orbs for eyes, lean built with a bone white skin, and a creepy voice that sounded like a homicidal Stephen Spielberg's ET, Malius's presence is so unnerving that the cheesiness of his otherwise hammy one-liners are lost in the abyss. His kills, though a good number of them are simple ice axe kills, are gory and bloody enough to satisfy avid bloodhounds, even if some of the murders fell victim to the movie's quick-paste editing.
It definitely had its moments once the action kicks in, Happy Hell Night is far from perfect but it didn't fail to entertain. It's paint-by-number approach to a basic slasher did made it predictable, a sure disappointment for those looking for something out of the ordinary, but for the right audience who just love to see a killer do away dumb frat boys via bodily mutilation and hackings, this is a worthy title to add to their collection, or at least see for the hell of it.
7 males and 1 female found slaughtered with a knife
1 male had a hand cut off, killed offcamera
1 female had her neck slashed with a scalpel
1 female gets an ice axe through her head
1 female killed offscreen with an ice axe, later found dismembered
1 female hacked to death with an ice axe
1 male found dead with hack wounds
1 male found crucified with nails driven to his face
1 male bled to death from hack wounds
1 female decapitated
1 male ice axed through the head, exits to an eye
1 male ice axed on the chest
1 male disappears
|"No judging until seeing this movie"|