He Watched It Sober.

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Girls Nite Out

a/k/a The Scaremaker

Part Two of Teenage Wastedland

      "You don't think that I had anything to do with this? Do you!?"

-- Surly Mike Pryor a/k/a the Prime Suspect    

 

     

Reviews:

Gonzoid Cinema

 

 

Buzzkillers!

Ladies and Gentlemen... the Killer.

 

Watch it!

AMAZON

DVD

 
Sights &
Sounds:
Girls
Nite Out
(1982)
 Concepts Unlimited /
 Independent International

Newspaper Ads

The Official

Talley:

Total Suspects :: 5

The Body Count :: 8

Death By:

Blunt Shovel Trauma x 2

Knife to the Nethers

Multiple Lacerations

Knife in the Back

The Most

Unorthodox
Death Scene:

Death By Stoopid Bear Costume x 3

And the "What

the Hell Are
You Doing in
this Movie?"
Award Goes to:

Hal Holbrook

 

We open at Winston Hill Sanitarium For the Very, Very Nervous, where we spy the night nurse deeply involved in a paperback until her station phone rings. When she answers to a silent line, the soundtrack clues us in that something sinister is afoot as she hangs up -- that, or the organist got their finger stuck between two keys. And when the phone rings again, this time, itís Dickie Cavanaughís room extension and -- Wait, the criminally insane are given their own phones? Anyways ... all the nurse hears is some obscene breathing, but this is enough to warrant further investigation. Entering the patient's room, she finds it seemingly empty; but after several suspenseful turns, she opens the bathroom door just in time to see Cavanaugh jump off the toilet and hang himself. Whoa! And as the body violently spasms, the nurse screams and runs for help.

Next, we abruptly switch locales to the gym at Dewitt College, where the Dewitt Bears basketball team is on the verge of making the conference championship game. Down by one point, with the ball, and only a few seconds left, the coach calls for a timeout. Chastising his star player, Pete "The Maniac" Kriesniac (Marty McChesney), to get his head in the game, the coach breaks the huddle and sends his team back on the court. Before the whistle blows, Maniacís best friend, Teddy Ratliff (James Carrel), pulls the distracted star aside and begs him to forget Leslie -- his newly minted ex-girlfriend, who recently dumped him after two-year relationship -- for just seven seconds so they can win the game. Then, as the cheerleaders and the Dewitt mascot -- a dopey looking bear costume with a blonde wig, googley eyes, and exposed tongue waggling down -- gets the home crowd warped into a frenzy, the ball is put in play and Teddy makes a perfect assist to Maniac, who sinks the winning basket as time expires.

And with a nickname like Maniac, and his jilted lover status, weíll go ahead and call him Suspect #1.

While the crowd storms the court, with hi-fives all around, Charlie Kaiser (Larry Mints), the campus radio stationís head guru and play by play announcer, reminds everyone over the airwaves about the big Gamma Sorority Retro-Party following the game, and their infamous Annual All Night Scavenger Hunt that follows tomorrow night. In the locker room, as the team celebrates its victory, Benson (Matthew Dunn) sheds the mascot costume and starts putting the screws into the surly Mike Pryor (David Holbrook). When this needling almost comes to blows, we find out why after we switch to the girlís locker room, where, as the cheerleaders change clothes, Sheila Robinson (Lauren Taylor) confides in Lynn Connors (Julie Montgomery) that sheís been seeing Benson behind Mikeís back. Bragging up Bensonís sexual prowess, Sheila plans on breaking up with Surly Mike as soon as she gets up enough courage -- I ain't calling him surly for nothing, folks. Later, Lynne meets up with Teddy, her boyfriend, and Maniac outside the gym. They also run into Dancer and Hagen (Paul Christie and Gregory Salata), our comedy relief for the next hour and a half, who break out their shtick that probably sent the majority of audiences scrambling for the nearest exit.

When does comedy relief go from odious to malignant? When itís done with a bad French accent. Thatís when!

When Teddy asks these two idiots if they're coming to the Gamma's party, we, as the audience, can only hope they say no ... but Dancer and Hagen say they wouldnít miss it, even though it pales when compared to the pending All Night Scavenger Hunt.

Next, we cut away to a drunken man, in the middle of nowhere, digging a hole. When a van pulls up, the digger yells at the driver for being late and then expositions the plot a bit. Seems the drunk and the driver are gravediggers, and the hole is for [quote/] that nut [/unquote] Cavanaugh. You see, many years ago, Cavanaugh was a student at Dewitt, who went nuts and brutally killed the daughter of the campus security chief. Thus, no one will miss him except his sister, who paid for the burial [Plot Point #1]. After laying the bagged-up corpse on the ground, the driver grabs a shovel to help dig. But suddenly, a shadowy figure comes out of the dark, grabs another shovel, brains both men in the head, and then proceeds to pummel them into a bloody pulp before dumping and burying both bodies in the shallow grave. That done, the assailant steals the van, and, as it pulls away, we pan over to Cavanaugh's body but all we see is an empty bag; the body is gone [Plot Point #2]. So, basically, everyone we've met is cheating on someone, we have a mad killer on the loose, a missing body, and a campus wide scavenger hunt pending, where plenty of potential victims will go poking into the darkest recesses of the college grounds in search of clues alone. E'yup. Smells like a guaranteed bloodbath to me, too...

Okay ... find yourself a piece of paper and a pen, and prepare yourselves to take studious notes to plug into a flow chart as we go. Trust me. Youíll need it to keep all the suspects, couples, and victims straight in our latest, and very squishy, whodunit, Girls Nite Out.

The exact origins of the film are a bit sketchy. Rumor has it that Anthony Kurgis and Kevin Gurgis, a couple of wealthy young turks from Ohio, wanted to get into the movie business. And so, following the normal protocols of breaking in, they decided to get their feet wet by spending some of their parents real estate bank by producing a low rent horror movie to establish their screen cred. Originally penned as The Scaremaker, Kurgis and Gurgis hooked up with producers Richard Barclay and Arthur Ginsberg, whose biggest claim to fame was the made for TV-movie classic, The Halloween that Almost Wasn't -- where Dracula has to toughen up his fellow monsters after they've gone soft. They, in turn, provided a director, Robert Duebel, and crew culled from their old American Playhouse days, who took Kurgis and Gurgis' script, after a punch-up from at least three other people, and committed it to film.

Now, one only has to peruse the IMDB to show that Kurgis and Gurgis' film career was stillborn after The Scaremaker premiered. Arriving just as the first wave of slasher movies had crashed against the breakers of growing public backlash, the film saw only a limited theatrical release through Sam Sherman and Al Adamson's Independent International, and then barely made a blip on the radar when HBO released it on home video under the new title, Girls Nite Out. Today, some thirty years later, Kurgis and Gurgis are still in Ohio, serving as personal injury attorneys. And their reluctance to talk about the production will leave many mysteries about Girl's Nite Out left unanswered. Like whose idea was it to make the killer a -- wait, we haven't really gotten to the killer in this thing yet, have we? Oh, man, just wait till ya see the killer in this thing...

Okay, so, back at the campus, Lynn, Teddy and Maniac stop by the Student Union for some food. When Teddy places an order with the friendly Barney (Rutanya Alda -- and isn't Barney kind of an odd name for a girl?), she tells him no charge; itís on MacVey (Hal Holbrook), the campus security chief. (Yes ... it was his daughter that was killed.) Congratulated on the big win, after MacVey moves on, out of nowhere, Maniac does his Mrs. Bates impersonation for Lynn:

Hmmmnnn ... Reenacting the climactic scene in Psycho, where Vera Miles spins the chair and we realize Norman's mother is really a corpse, and that Norman was his homicidal mother's surrogate all along, definitely qualifies as foreshadowing in this movie, giving us Plot Point #3.

Later, Lynn changes into her costume for the party. Drunk already, Teddy and Maniac send her on alone but promise to catch up later. Making her way down a lonely path, the soundtrack gets stuck in between the same two, dissonant piano keys again as a rogue POV-cam comes to life and starts stalking Lynn. But it's only Ralph (John Didrichsen), the nerdy and repressed towel boy for the basketball team, and he just wanted to return a scarf she had dropped. Together, they head into the party house and find things in full swing. Alas, Hagen and Dancer are there, too, playing strip poker with Jane (Laura Summer) and Kathy (Carrick Glenn). When Teddy and Maniac finally show up, since Lynn seems to have disappeared, Teddy starts hitting on anything with a skirt. Meanwhile, Maniac spots Leslie (Lois Robinson), tries to be friendly, but she only reinforces that itís over between them. Back at the poker game, Hagen and Dancer tell a group of pledges the legend of Dickie Cavanaugh. Seems our boy Dickie was taken out into the woods for the Bear Ritual, a fraternity rite of passage (-- otherwise known as hazing). But when he came back from the woods, his mind stayed behind and heís been loony-tunes ever since. Expositioning the plot some more, one of the pledges calls the legend a load of bunk, saying Dickie got hung up on some cheerleader and, when she dumped him for some other guy, right in the middle of that year's Scavenger Hunt, the jilted lover killed her in a jealous rage [Plot Point #4]. Also of note, Ralph, feeling his beer, is currently on the dance floor, cupping a feel wherever he can, which nets him several slaps to the face. This general behavior, coupled with all the grief he takes from his peers, makes freak-o Ralph Suspect #2. And speaking of creeps, Teddy is putting the moves on Dawn Sorenson (Suzanne Barnes), since Dawnís boyfriend, Bud (Tony Schultz), is passed out just two feet away; but that doesnít deter our boy Teddy.

Dude? Donít you have a girlfriend? Geez, from now on this guy will be known as Teddy, the Creep.

Elsewhere in the party house, when Surly Mike catches Benson and Sheila making out, confirming his suspicions, he interrupts and the two make a scene after she tells him it's over. Then, Mike loses it, claiming that if he canít have her no one will. And as his tantrum escalates, it brings the party to a screeching halt. Breaking the nervous silence, Surly Mike calls all the girls present worthless whores, promises that he wonít forget this betrayal, and storms off -- officially making Surly Mike Suspect #3. With the party derailed, Lynn finds Teddy, the Creep, and pulls him off Dawn, whom Teddy, the Creep, claims is just his cousin, and heads home. And as the campus beds down for the night, at the radio station, groovy Charlie Kaiser signs off for the night but reminds everyone to tune in tomorrow for the great Scavenger Hunt.

Back at the dorms, after finishing his shower (-- a private showers in each dorm room? Wow, this is some ritzy college), thereís a persistent knock at Benson's door. When he opens it, he recognizes the visitor and smiles -- until he takes three knife blows to the chest ... As Benson slumps to the floor, dead, the killer gathers up the mascot costume and, in a raspy voice, says "I need this more than you." That deed done, the killer then breaks into the empty radio station and copies the clues and answers for the big Scavenger Hunt. Elsewhere, Lynn and Teddy, the Creep, are having a post-party talk in bed. Knowing full well that Dawn wasnít his cousin, Lynn says she isnít jealous but insulted. Blaming his behavior on the booze, Teddy, the Creep, apologizes and promises to try and do better. (Donít feel bad. I donít believe him either.) Suddenly, they hear something outside the windwo, but when Teddy, the Creep, goes out and investigates, he only finds a spring-loaded cat soundbyte. (Honestly, I never saw the cat.)

The next morning, MacVey finds Surly Mike stewing on a park bench. Apparently, MacVey heard about the disturbance at the party last night, and what he said, and not wanting history to repeat itself, he confronts Surly Mike on what his intentions are. When Mike, being his surly self, tells him to mind his own business, MacVey (-- wisely or unwisely --) complies. Later, while Lynn meets up with Sheila, Leslie, Jane, Kathy and Trish (Susan Pitts) at the library to strategize for the Scavenger Hunt, Teddy, the Creep, sets up a rendezvous with Dawn later that night since his girlfriend will be occupied elsewhere. Also preparing for the evening's festivities, the killer has taped together four serrated steak knives into a deadly claw that he attaches to the mascot costume. (One should note that this film did beat Freddy Krueger to the punch on a choice of weapons by almost two years.) Donning said costume, the unknown killer swipes the deadly claw in mock attack and then sets out to do his dastardly deeds -- but not before checking himself out in a mirror first.

And yes, with those googley eyes and exposed tongue, I believe that this most assuredly qualifies as the stoopidest looking screen killer of all time...

That evening, when Groovy Charlie Kaiser takes to the airwaves the entire campus listens in for the start of the great All Night Scavenger Hunt, where, over the next six-hours, his listeners must find 36 items hidden all over the campus. To accomplish this, Charlie will give out six cryptic clues per hour for what to find and where to find it, with the winner getting an all expenses paid trip to a Caribbean resort. After giving out the first clue, the DJ notices that someoneís been tampering with his notes. Meanwhile, the chase is on, and narrowing down the clue to two possible places, Jane and Kathy split up to save time. Jane thinks the clue leads to the campus squash court -- turns out she was right, and finds the first item there. But while bending over to pick it up, not realizing the Killer Bear has snuck up behind her until its too late, Jane screams as the killer -- forgive me -- bear hugs her, calls her a slew of nasty names, and uses the deadly claw to rip her throat out!

Next, the second clue leads the team of Sheila, Leslie, and Trish into the campus boiler room, where they find the second item. [And I guess the absence of Lynn during all this makes her a weak Suspect #4.] At the radio station, Groovy Kaiser takes a phone call from the killer, who claims in the same raspy voice that Jane was only the first and to guess who will be second before hanging up. Writing it off as a crank call, the DJ broadcasts the next clue ... As the Scavenger Hunt progresses, Dancer and Hagen are in their room, smoking reefer and making up lewd clues to their own sex scavenger hunt; and judging by the thickness of the haze, theyíve been at this for a while -- eliminating them as suspects. Elsewhere, as Dawn relaxes in her bubble bath, the soundtrack settles on that single dissonant note again while someone sneaks up the stairs toward her bathroom. Lucky for her, itís only Teddy, the Creep, and they donít intend to spend the evening in the bathroom talking.

Well, since itís been more than twenty-minutes since they split up and Jane still hasnít come back yet, Kathy decides to go and look for her. Entering  the sports complex, she doesn't fine her friend but hears some water running in the locker room. The sound leads her to the showers, where Janeís savaged corpse is strung up like an obscene marionette. Kathy screams and tries to run away, but runs right into the Killer Bear, who drags her into the darkness and her doom! Back at the radio station, Groovy Kaiser announces that heís gotten a lot of phone calls complaining that the clues are too hard but makes no apologies. When the killer phones in again, announcing Kathy was second with another due, this time, Kaiser calls campus security and reports the disturbing calls. Taking the report, MacVey says to keep him posted if he gets any more. Kaiser then gives the next clue that, once again, has two possible answers; it's either on the beach by the campus pond or hanging from a beech tree. Telling the other two girls to check out the beech trees by the cemetery, Sheila heads to the pond, where she spots the Killer Bear and makes the fatal mistake of assuming it's Benson in the suit. Inviting "Benson" into the boathouse for a quickie, Sheila starts to strip down and gets indignant when her lover won't come inside. But before she can really lose her temper, the killer pounces, calling her a whore, and savages her throat with the claw -- making Surly Mike our Prime Suspect ... This time, the killer calls MacVey directly and says his daughter, Patty -- the one Dickie killed, remember? -- wasnít a nice girl and deserved to die. When MacVey demands to know whom heís talking to, the killer says itís obvious; heís Dickie Cavanaugh. Saying thatís impossible, since heís locked up in the loony bin, after the killer laughs and hangs up, MacVey rings up the sanitarium, demanding to speak to the man in charge. And as he rips into them for letting a dangerous lunatic like Dickie Cavanaugh out to make threatening crank calls. the doctor finally interrupts him long enough to inform MacVey of Cavanaugh's recent suicide. Asked if heís sure the killer's dead, the doctor scoff's and guarantees it. In fact, Dickie's sister already came and picked up the body to be buried. And the unknown sister, who might turn out to be any of the girls left alive -- and my moneyís on freaky Trish -- is definitely Suspect #5.

Meanwhile, Trish and Leslie find the latest item in the beech trees. Tuning in for the next clue about bats in the belfry, it again has two possible answers; either the baseball field, or the attic of the college chapel. Splitting up, Trish heads to the diamond while Leslie heads toward the chapel, where she stumbles around in the dark until the lights mysteriously turn on. She spots the Bear Mascot, assumes it's Benson, and, it turns out, the legend of the size of Bensonís *ahem* manhood is so great, that Leslie isnít too alarmed when the raspy voice promises her a good time tonight. But her convictions quickly change as he leads in with the deadly claw, which would have been a nice Dr. Tongue 3-D effect but the cameraman was having a little trouble with the focus. We cut away before Leslie can even scream, and that makes two off screen deaths -- usually very rare in one of these things.

After Teddy, the Creep, and Dawn finish doing the deed, they agree that it will be better, for both of them, if they just consider this a one-night stand and leave it at that. Then, as Teddy, the Creep, gathers his clothes and leaves we can eliminate the both of them as suspects, and Lynn, too, as she walks into the chapel while the Bear Mascot runs out. When she says hi to "Benson" and heads inside, one has to ask this question: Did Benson spend a lot of time in that bear suit walking around campus? Back at the radio station, Groovy Kaiser gets another call from the killer, who says the twins are together again.

And are you thinking what I'm thinking? Yeah. Dickie had a twin sister, pushing this unknown sibling up to our new Prime Suspect. Sorry, Surly Mike. Quick, back to the review before the killer strikes again!

When Lynn finds Leslieís body, after a general freak out, she reports it to MacVey, who calls the radio station and orders Kaiser to pull the plug on the Scavenger Hunt and asks everyone to return to their rooms in a nice orderly fashion: 

"Attention, students. Attention. There is a psycho-killer running loose on the campus. Do not panic. Repeat. Do not panic..."

The police arrive and start to tape off the chapel, when word comes that more dead bodies are showing up all over campus. This so upsets the Dean that he turns the whole mess over to MacVey. The next morning, the police begin interviewing suspects. First up is Lynn, since she found the body. Saying the only reason she was in the chapel was because of the Scavenger Hunt, she then remembers seeing Benson coming out of the chapel while she was heading in. As one of the detectives heads off to find Benson, MacVey calls up Groovy Kaiser to hash over his brief conversations with the killer. When Kaiser says heís got them all on tape, MacVey is a little indignant that this wasnít brought to his attention sooner, but tones it down and asks if he can have them as soon as possible. Next, since one of the victims was his ex-girlfriend, when Maniac is interrogated we realize he was conspicuously absent the entire night. So do the cops, but Maniac swears he has an alibi, having spent the night at the Bonaventure Hotel with a prostitute. And last, but not least, is Surly Mike, who gets raked over the coals due to his vitriolic outburst at the party. He seems sincere with his denials, and frankly, he's just too obvious so I'm not going out on much of a limb when I eliminate him as the killer. And the suspect list gets even shorter, when word comes that they've found Benson's body.

Meanwhile, Dawnís boyfriend finds out about her tryst with Teddy, the Creep, and kicks her out of his house. Frankly, I have no sympathy for Dawnís tears as she dug her own grave with Teddy, the Creep. Sure, call me a prude. But both of these characters' attitudes, actions, and mutual cheating on their alleged romantic interests is appalling. Teddy is a creep, and Dawn -- well, Dawn can't believe that Bud would get so upset. I mean, all she did was sleep with someone else, in his bed, in his house! Back at campus security, MacVey plays the tapes while perusing some old newspaper clippings about the murder of his daughter, where he spies a picture of Dickie Cavanaugh in the story -- and dang it if he doesnít look familiar. And when the tape plays the last message, about the twins being back together, the quarter finally drops for MacVey. Grabbing a pen, he starts scribbling long hair on Dickie's mugshot. Then he stops short, realizing who the sister is -- Dickie's twin, Katie -- and just realized who that really is!

Well, at this point, there arenít that many girls left and only one of them is old enough to be the killer's twin sister. So, itís obvious who MacVey has pegged. I realized it, too, and frankly, I feel the movie is getting off cheaply with this ancillary character being the killer and call shenanigans on the whole flam-damned thing! So who is it? Read on...

Night falls, and as Dawn makes her way home, a twig snaps, some leaves rustle, and the girl slowly realizes sheís being followed. Running to the Student Union, she finds a phone and calls Teddy, the Creep -- who is busy comforting Lynn in her hour of need. When he answers the phone, in between the frantic sobs, Teddy, the Creep, figures out the killer is after Dawn -- then the sobs abruptly stop, and a familiar raspy voice comes on the line and says "If you want her, come and get her."

Leaving the distraught Lynn behind, Teddy, the Creep, enters the darkened Student Union and makes his way to the cafeteria. Have you figured it out yet? He finds Dawn on the floor, bleeding, but still alive. As he tries to help her, Dawn's warning that the killer is behind him comes too late. From out of the darkness, Barney attacks him with a butcher knife and stabs him repeatedly. 

...Barney? Barney who? You all remember Barney, right? The weird named waitress we met way, way back at the beginning of the movie? Yeah. Me neither. Like I said, SHENANIGANS! 

Before she can deal the mortal blow, MacVey shows up. Calling her Katie, the killer pauses. MacVey presses on, tries to reason with her, but Katie isnít really here right now. Talking with Dickieís voice -- think Norman/Norma Bates here, and it is kinda creepy -- Dickie/Katie confesses to killing his daughter and all the others because of their philandering ways. When MacVey keeps trying to convince her that Dickie is dead, Katie suddenly reasserts herself and scoffs that Dickie isnít dead. In fact, she claims, heís here. She then walks over to the freezer door and opens it -- revealing the frozen corpse of her twin brother sitting in a chair. Slowly, the camera zooms in and we see the corpse is wearing the bear's deadly claw. And the slow zoom continues on the frozen face until the frame freezes for...

The End

You know, I really enjoyed the movie Scream; it just pushed all the right nostalgia buttons for me. Too young when the Stalk 'n' Slash films first hit big, being the little horror-movie-phile that I was, I constantly pestered my older siblings for detailed plot accounts of the murder and mayhem in the films they'd managed to see, like Halloween, Happy Birthday to Me and Friday the 13th. And then I finally saw one: somehow, Prom Night aired on NBC and it was all we talked about at school the next day -- and the day after that. Clearly, I was hooked. I also clearly remember when my entire 5th and 6th grade class -- all eleven of us from good old Holstein Public -- got invited to a birthday party, where the birthday boy's folks had one of those new fangled RCA laser disc players -- the old style, where the disc was as big as an old LP record -- and had rented for us Star Wars, Enter the Dragon and Friday the 13th. Since I had already committed the plot and murders at Crystal Lake to memory (-- thanks, sis!), I spent the entire movie warning those with sensitive stomachs to turn away at the strategic moments. However, I refrained from revealing that final jump-scare -- and my god, that room exploded when the swampy mongoloid jumped out of the water!!!

As with all genres, the Stalk 'n' Slash had its golden age before repetition and falling into formula eventually killed it off. Alas, by the time I was old enough to see these in the theater, the genre, for all intents and purposes, was as dead as it's last victim. My salvation came with home video and I went through a long phase of renting any movie that even remotely related to the genre that I missed. But any devotee of the stalk 'n' slash can see the decline in quality of the later years as production values went down, budgets shrank, and, at some point, it became more about the killing itself -- and finding newer and more inventive ways to off someone, than the reasons behind the killer's psychosis. Who cares what the motive was. Nine times out of ten, we were now rooting for the killer anyway as the loose conglomeration of people gathered, as written, tended to get on one's last nerve to somehow give the filmmakers the moral high ground. And there was also a not so subtle change concerning the victims. Most people forget that when the genre began, the killers were equal opportunity assassins and just as many guys were killed in these things as women. But for some reason, people only seem to remember the girls being stalked and slashed. And more often then not, whether they really were or not, they remember them being topless. Formula eventually became predictable, then clichť, and the films stopped being suspenseful or scary and became outright laughable. 

Iíll admit I was laughing right along with you, gawking at the naked boobies and reveling in the gore. But I was yearning for the days of intricate plots, red herrings, and not so obvious killers and truly surprising revelations. And then along came Scream, and, for a brief, glorious moment, I was eleven again and very happy. I say brief because the Stalk 'n' Slash movie went through the same decline of quality as it did before -- only a lot faster this time, beginning almost immediately with nigh incomprehensible I Know What You Did Last Summer.

Before you shoot off the e-mails, yes, I realize Kevin Williamson cherry-picked and stole the plot from a number of earlier slasher films. I don't care. And as much as I like Scream, I truly despise Scream II and Scream III.

See, it wasnít the killings that fascinated me; sure, they were morbidly gruesome, but I was more interested in the warped motives, the bodies piling up everywhere, and, of course, the false leads and red herrings. I always looked forward to the end, when the killer would reveal themselves and spill how they did it and spew why they did it. In the end, these motives seldom made sense and it was always impossible how they pulled it off, but, again, I didnít care. At some point I realized these types of films could be broken down into two sub-genres: the Whodunit, and the Psycho-Degenerate. Much, much more do I enjoy the Whodunits, where we don't know who the killer is, than the ones with the indestructible Psycho-Degenerates, who ran amok, buzz-sawed through their cast and cracked wise. Wanting to focus solely on Whodunits for this retrospective, then, I decided to sub-out Don't Go in the Woods Alone -- a pretty rotten example of the Psycho-Degenerate film -- and sub-in Girl's Nite Out as a last minute replacement. At the time of its production, the rules of the genre were pretty much set in full rigor mortis and Girl's Nite Out is fairly rote -- stay monogamous or you're dead meat -- and offers nothing new. The central mystery is fairly intricate but has no punch. And this is compounded when the filmmakers don't overcompensate with the gore, bizarre killings, or a ton of naughty bits. The only thing the film has going for it is the unintentional humor of it's killer, disguised in that idiotic bear costume, and that's stretched pretty dang thin by the end, making for one long movie to muck through. Yes ... the killer's costume is -- well, unique, but the gore effects are pretty terrible: Ketchup Splatter, another stinky sub-sub genre. Beyond that, the deaths are uninspiring and I don't recall any nudity at all, which leaves us with a lot of tedium.

Still, there is a question of the killer's identity, right? So you have to pay attention, right? No. Not really, for in the end, you didn't have to because the killer came completely out of left field. And the fact that the film foreshadows the family twist with such a lack of subtlety you can only sadly shake your head at how embarrassingly obvious to where itís going and who the killer really is. And the script really paints itself into a corner by making the killer Dickie's twin. If it had been, say, a little sister or brother, then any of the students we've met are suspects. But a twin sister only leaves one possible, and very lame, answer: a negligible side character, who only put in one noticeable appearance before she shows up at the end with knife in hand.

It's a cheat. A dirty stinking cheat; one of the few unforgivable sins in the Stalk 'n' Slash world.

Shot on the Upsala College Campus in New Jersey, the film does get its small college atmosphere right. I got the biggest kick out of how the entire school tuned into the campus radio station -- that had a golden oldies format; the same five golden oldies over and over and over ... I donít think anyone, besides the communications majors, even realized we had campus radio station at my college. (KFKX! 97.3 on your FM dial!) It didnít help that we only had like a 1/2-Watt transmitter -- if you were in the parking lot of the building, you could almost tune it in. You had no listeners, but it was good practice -- and you could get away with saying "booger!" on the air. (The station also had a kick ass collection of vinyl LPís. And no you canít look through my LPís to see how many I "liberated.") As for the cast, Hal Holbrook barely breaks a sweat as MacVey -- and I honestly donít know if his son, David, making his screen debut, had any influence on him being in this movie or not. Montgomery went on to play Betty in Revenge of the Nerds, and Alda keeps popping up occasionally. The rest of the cast does an OK job but were never heard from again.

So, Girls Nite Out is a tired and uninspired paint-by--numbers Stalk 'n' Slash. Katie going all creepy schizoid at the end is moot because the film ran out of gas long before that happens. But, as I mentioned before, the film does have the goofiest looking killer in screen history, when she's running amok in that dopey bear suit. Unfortunately, thatís the one and only reason I can think of to recommend it.

Girls Nite Out (1982) Concepts Unlimited :: Independent-International Pictures / EP: Richard Barclay, Kevin Kurgis / P: Anthony N. Gurvis / AP: Arthur Ginsberg / D: Robert Deubel / W: Gil Spencer Jr., Kevin Kurgis, Joe Bolster, Anthony N. Gurvis / C: Joe Rivers / E: Arthur Ginsberg / S: Julia Montgomery, James Carroll, Suzanne Barnes, Lauren-Marie Taylor, David Holbrook, Rutanya Alda, Hal Hoolbrook

And the Body Count Continues...

More Teenaged Wastedland.

Originally Posted: 02/17/02 :: Rehashed: 08/31/2010

Knuckled-out by Chad Plambeck: misspeller of words, butcher of all things grammatical, and king of the run on sentence. Copy and paste at your own legal risk. Questions? Comments? Shoot us an e-mail.
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