Girls Nite Out

08/10/2022 08:29

Film: Girls Nite Out

Year: 1982

Director: Robert Deubel

Writer: Gil Spencer Jr., Kevin Kurgis, Joe Bolster and Anthony N. Gurvis

Starring: Julia Montgomery, James Carroll and Suzanne Barnes



This was a film that I believe I first heard about on the ABCs of Hidden Horror Podcast. This one didn’t ring a bell and the poster didn’t stand out either. I added it to my list of ones to check out and decided to give it a viewing on YouTube as I couldn’t find anywhere else to see this.

Synopsis: a killer, wearing a dancing bear suit, stalks a variety of cheerleaders during an all-night scavenger hunt at a remote Ohio college.

We start this movie off at Weston Hills Santorum. A nurse gets a phone call from Barney Cavanaugh. When she asks what he wants, he just is breathing heavy. This happens again and it annoys her. She goes to see what he wants and we see he hangs himself. We don’t get to see his face though.

The movie then switches us to DeWitt University in the middle of a basketball game. They’re down one and Pete ‘Maniac’ Krizaniac (Mart McChesney) commits a dumb foul. The captain of the team is his best friend, Teddy Ratliff (James Carroll). He tells his friend to get his head back in the game for the next few seconds. They do end up winning. In the locker room, Teddy tries to figure out what is going on and Maniac just says he can’t stop thinking of Leslie Peterson (Lois Robbins) who just broke up with him.

To celebrate and try to get Maniac’s mind cleared, they go to the local diner. Teddy’s mother works there, Rutanya Alda. He orders food and goes back to the table where his girlfriend Lynn Connors (Julia Montgomery) sits with his friend. That night they’re going to a party at Lynn’s sorority.

Some of the other characters to introduce are Dawn Sorenson (Suzanne Barnes). She’s dating Bud Remington (Tony Shultz), but Teddy is intrigued by her. This causes a fight later with Lynn. There’s Sheila Robinson (Lauren-Marie Taylor) who is dating Mike Pryor (David Holbrook), but she cheated on him with Michael Benson (Mathew Dunn) who is the team mascot which is a bear costume. There is also Jane (Laura Summer), Kathy (Carrick Glenn), a nerdy guy Ralph Bostwick (John Didrichsen) and Trish (Susasn Pitts).

We also get introduced to Jim MacVey (Hal Holbrook). He’s the local security guard. His daughter went to the school, but she was murdered years back by Dickie Cavanaugh, the man we saw in the insane asylum. He lost it when she left him. This has now become an urban legend where people tell the tale that might not be completely true.

There is then a scene where we learn that Dickie had a sister. She collected his body and paid a couple of gravediggers to bury it at night. They’re attacked by someone who in turn murders Benson, taking his bear suit. The killer claims to be Dickie and is using the sorority scavenger hunt to pick off the young women one by one. Who is the killer though?

Now with that recap out of the way, I know this is technically a slasher, but to be honest, this plays more like a giallo if I’m going to be honest. We have a black gloved killer, we have a few red herrings and trying to figure out who the killer is. I will warn you, do not go on to the IMDB as it spoils who the killer is with the character names. Knowing it didn’t ruin it for me, as it allowed me to piece things together much like I had seen this before.

With that said though, this movie was kind of boring if I’m going to be perfectly honest. It runs just over 90 minutes, but it drug for me. We get the opening suicide and then the kill of the gravediggers and then Benson’s kill. From there, we get a long stretch to almost the mid-way point for the next kill. I was lost interest with what they were doing for a good stretch.

To look at this like a giallo though, I thought they incorporated some cool things. We have Mac who is a security guard, but the one doing the real investigation. I like that he’s being helped by the radio DJ, Charlie Kasier (Larry Mintz) who is the hosting the scavenger hunt. Thought this was a cool way to progress the story. We also have a black glove killer who is wearing a bear costume. First off, the costume itself looks silly. I then remembered that it isn’t that much worse than Penn St.’s Nittany Lion or Stanford’s Tree mascot, so I’ll digress there. The weapon that is created though was cool. The problem though is that the deaths are all done off screen for the most part. I don’t know if this was caused by cuts from the censors or they didn’t have the budget to make the effects look good so they hid them. That did bother me. I will give credit that the cinematography was fine including the killer’s POV.

Something I will give credit to this film is the horror movie references. There’s one of Psycho, which I found to be creative in the end and I also say a bit of Friday the 13th. I don’t want to go into either of this to avoid spoilers. This also feels like it is borrowing from Halloween for being the type of film that it is.

I think I’ll shift this over the acting and I must admit, there’s a lot of problematic thinking and characters here. Lynn is good as our lead. I like her. She’s cute and smart, but I loathed when she calls out Teddy for cheating on her. She seems to just accept it. With that said, I hated Carroll, but not for his performance. More of just how the character was written. The same could be said for Barnes and Taylor’s characters as well. No one here I really like. I will give credit though to Alda in the limit role she has as well as McChesney. It is interesting that his film is introducing David Holbrook. I wonder if that is why his father also appears. I thought I heard somewhere that Hal did all his scenes in a day or two, which it feels that way. It looks like they’re cut together as no one ever appears with him. Regardless, I’m a fan of Hal so I liked seeing him here.

In conclusion, I do think that this one does do some interesting things. It is considered a slasher, but it feels more in line with a giallo in my opinion. The way of getting the characters to split up makes sense and the ending was solid. It doesn’t feel like a cheat and things are subtly given throughout to get us there. The problem that I had though was it was painfully boring. We don’t get much in the way of kills as they’re mostly off-screen. I thought the costume for the killer was good as well as casting doubt on someone else. The soundtrack was solid in getting the rights to some popular songs of the time, they just don’t necessarily fit with the movie they’re in. The characters problematic and the acting was decent in general. I would say that this just over average in my opinion. Just a few tweaks and I think this could be talked about more.


My Rating: 6 out of 10