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To All A Good Night
(1980)
 

Director: David Hess                    
Cast:
Jennifer Runyon, Forrest Swanson, Linda Gentile


The most notable thing about this 80s slasher movie is that it was directed by an actor from the infamous movie Last House On The Left. Aside from that, there is absolutely nothing of interest here that would justify a rental from even the least discriminating slasher fans.

2 years ago during Christmas vacation at the Calvin Finishing School For Girls, a horrible accident occurred. As the result of a inane sorority initiation stunt, a pledge falls from the second story of the sorority house and dies. There's no mention of what happened to the other girls, nor is there any explanation why they were initiating a pledge several months after the start of school, and during vacation time.

Present day, and it's Christmas vacation time, with most of the students leaving the campus to go home. We meet the sorority's spoiled rich girls who are staying for the holiday and have plans to have a weekend party with some visiting boys. Mrs. Calvin (suspect #1) is supposedly away for the weekend. Housemother Mrs. Jensen (suspect #2) will be staying, but the girls plan to drug her nightly warm milk so she won't disturb them. Hanging around the campus are the dimwitted, garden shears-carrying gardener Ralph (suspect #3), and Mrs. Jensen's hypochondriac friend Mrs. Ranzoni (suspect #4), who keeps saying she's gonna die, gonna die, etc.

After giving their housemother the drugged milk, and waiting for her to go to bed, the boys (suspects #5,6,7, and 8) have their pilot (suspect #9) land their privately charted airplane on the convenient airstrip that happens to be next to the campus. The boys and girls, excited to see each other, decide to get down and really party! by....sitting in the living room and singing while one boy plays his guitar????

Sensing that the audience is getting bored, they send in the killer, who is dressed in a Santa Claus costume. His first killings involves one of the sorority girls (who we haven't seen before) and her boyfriend, who has only had a few seconds of screen time before. Her footage consists of her taking off her clothes in the darkness for about thirty seconds. Then she goes outside and immediately is killed by Santa. Her boyfriend is then killed a few seconds later. Ummm...okay.... Or maybe the order when they got killed was the other way around - I forget. I wonder how the actor and actress felt like when they read in the script that their characters just pretty much walk on camera and get killed.

For the next half hour or so, we pretty much get this pattern: sex, dumb chat, kill. Sex, dumb chat, kill. Sex, dumb chat, kill.... All of this is filmed either in natural darkness that's so dark it's hard to tell what's happening, or using a "day-for-night" filter that makes things just as dark. The killings here and in the entire movie usually amount to a few drops of blood. Some of the more spectacular killings actually take place offscreen, as if the director was afraid to show anything graphic. None of the characters had any personality, or anything interesting to say. And there is one full-frontal nude scene with an actress with such an unappealing body, it's hard to watch - you'll feel like you're seeing your sister naked.

Eventually, an interesting thing that usually doesn't happen in slasher movies appears - they discover there is a murderer! That morning, they find the body of Ralph the gardener! (Gasp! And we were so sure he was the one, with his creepy speeches and carrying those garden tools! Who knew...?) The police are called, and they promise to patrol the area. Hey, where are all those missing people who were killed the other night? Here's the exact conversation that puts an end to that question: "Where are the others?" "Who cares?"

I'm sure you can imagine what happens that night, despite the police in the area. So I won't get into anything else that happens, except the ending. As you probably know, in slasher movies there is usually a "twist" ending. And there's one here, except it is so ludicrous, so coincidental, that it made me groan out loud. No, it's not even bad in a funny way to make the movie worth renting.

Listen: if you want a Christmas slasher movie that takes place on a university campus, then I suggest that you rent the 1975 Black Christmas. It uses the university setting to great effect, showing it darkened and frozen by the cold and snow. There's suspense, horror, and an unexpected ending. However, if you are looking for a killer Santa Claus movie, then I would suggest you rent Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 - it shows all the "best bits" from part one, so you don't have to rent the previous one. You'll see a great number of people killed by the jolly old man, gore, nudity, and sleaze. Plus, there are a lot of unintentionally funny scenes and other kinds of camp. With both of those movies having an excellent chance of being in your local video store, there is then no reason to rent To All A Good Night, for it is devoid of suspense, horror, good plot twists, good gore, good nudity, and sleaze. And it's boring and slow to boot.

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See also: Sorority House Massacre, Terror House, Voodoo

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