Tag Archives: terrible movies

Really Awful Movies: Ep 213 – Hell Night

Watching this is a hellish experience. Well, not really, but close enough to warrant the terrible pun. Hell Night is one of those forgotten films from the slasher boom, and only known today because of two things: 1) incredibly cool cover art and 2) the presence of genre icon Linda Blair in the lead role as sorority/frat pledge Marti Gaines.

When a movie has “hell” in the title, there are basically three places it can end up: 1) a stone-cold classic like Hellraiser, 2) perfectly serviceable like The Legend of Hell House, or 3) total ineptitude like Motel Hell. Hell Night is the latter, although not even that fun.

The premise is pretty straightforward: a bunch of pledges are put through their paces in an initiation rite. They have to spend a night at a dwelling where SOMETHING TERRIBLE TOOK PLACE.

This is boilerplate horror, stretching back to House on Haunted Hill with Vincent Price. And with the frat kick, it’s a bit like Pledge Night with that singer from Anthrax with the poodle hair who is killed in a frat stunt. Either way you slice it, Yawn Town population, you.

So, in a perfect world, what do you get when there’s a neat backstory, attractive people and a scary scene setting? Usually, there’s a twist, nudity, and filmmakers exploiting the terrifying sense of place. In Hell Night, none of the above happens, which is…hella weird, it should be said.

Hard-partying coeds are all talk (and all clothed). The killer isn’t all that interesting…and the “haunted/cursed” house is pretty and candle-lit, but meh.

On this episode of the Really Awful Movies Podcast, we put this film in context.

We talk about our indifference to Linda Blair post-Exorcist, we chat about Passover seders (for the first time on the show!), silly plot devices, heroism in Hell Night, the old house motif, Italian Gothic horror, and movies similar to this one.

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Really Awful Movies: Ep 209 – Zombie Nightmare

What do you get when you mix ancient Haitian voodoo mystery with uber-cheap tax shelter bargain basement Canadiana? Why, Zombie Nightmare, of course.

Zombie Nightmare is a 1986 Canadian zombie film produced and directed by Jack Bravman. It stars Jon Mikl thor, who had a lengthy career fronting the eminently forgettable power metal band, Thor. The movie also stars a young  Tia Carrere (the babe from Wayne’s World) and of all people, Batman’s Adam West. West portrays a grizzled, stoagie-puffing police captain.

Zombie Nightmare was filmed in the suburbs of Montreal and cost all of $180,000 to make. And it looks it.

Because this was the 80s, and because it is a sorta-horror movie, there has to be a prologue. Prologues are deliciously fun any way you slice it, whether it’s this one, or the kid from Hospital Massacre getting rejected on Valentine’s and then growing up to be a vicious healthcare serial killer (whoops, spoiler. do check out our Hospital Massacre podcast!) Here, young Tony witnesses his father dying at the hands of two street thugs, as the guy is intervening on behalf of a woman who’s being attacked.

Years later, and our boy is Tony all grown up and a baseball playin’ fun-lovin’ guy. Jon Mikl Thor plays our protagonist, and there’s one thing we should mention about Mr J.M.T: he was a body builder of some renown. Hence, Tony is totally RIPPED and looks like he’d tear the cover off a fastball.

Tony, it seems, inherited his father’s Good Samaritan tendencies. While thwarting a robbery, Tony is run over by some street toughs. The victim, a store proprietor garbling one of the worst Italian accents in celluloid history, drives Tony’s limp, lifeless body to mom’s place, and it’s there that she enlists the help of a Haitian voodoo priestess to raise Tony from the dead.

Tony, thus revived, seeks vengeance on everyone who was in the vehicle that bowled him over.

Silly in the extreme, Zombie Nightmare was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Join us, as we discuss the film on the Really Awful Movies Podcast.