Directed by: Robert Deubel
Written by: Gil Spencer Jr, Kevin Kurgis, Joe Bolster, Anthony N. Gurvis
Starring: Julia Montgomery, James Carroll, Suzanne Barnes, Hal Holbrook
Running time: 96mins
BBFC Classification: 18
Often mean spirited but glorious slasher fun, Girls Nite Out appears to be another oft forgotten 80s stabby gem that’s thankfully getting a Blu Ray makeover allowing for much rediscovery. Low budget, certainly a little non-PC, and featuring a killer dressed as a college sports mascot (read: bear costume!) with knifes taped to its hand, Girls Nite Out offers plenty of grubby killing, groovy 80s kitsch and come the final third enough WTF moments to please even hardened slasher fans.
After partying hard (80s teen and horror movies really captured the fun of partying!), the guys and girls of DeWitt University are getting ready for their annual all-night scavenger hunt but ultimately find they have become the prey when a killer, donning the Uni’s mascot costume, starts picking them off one by one. As the kills mount and the bed hopping relationships of the good-looking cast become ever more complicated, it’s up to grizzled campus security guard Hal Halbrook to try and figure out what is going on and stop the killer.
Part party flick, part nasty killer flick, Girls Nite Out is buoyed by an authentic college/being young/party aesthetic as well as delivering some shock kills and one twisted finale. The film may not always be in a hurry to get to the killer/gore aspects as there is as much time spent on the partying and bedding antics of the cast as there is the kills, and this may make those eager for slasher kills impatient. However, it all adds to the fun of the flick as the cast are uniformly good and convincing as young students who are falling in and out of bed with one another and, as mentioned, the party scenes are connivingly staged, meaning it’s just as fun to watch them frolic about as it is hunted and killed. Sure, the thread of the basketball star (James Carroll) bedding several women gets a little tedious and melodramatic, but the makers pull it back for an awesome finale.
The bear costume and knife hand (2 years before Freddy took up his razor glove!) give the killer an equally absurd and terrifying look and when the kills erupt there are particularly vicious, not least with the killer spitting out nasty misogynistic verbal abuse as they slay their victims. That aspect hasn’t aged too well but if you can forgive the time period’s less than subtle approach to proceedings, Girls Nite Out is still a solid slasher and an interesting time capsule of bygone horror cinema.
The cast are also great, obviously sharing great chemistry (which the special features confirm!) and really convince as a group that study, party, love and die together. The makers, rather than parodying or over amplifying the more ridiculous aesthetics of the 80s, appear to capture genuine 80’s youth exuberance giving the film a little more magic than its budget may have allotted for. Seasoned vet and screen legend Hal Holbrook shows up now and again as the grizzly security guard to add a bit of grit to events (apparently having taken the role so his son could appear in the film as one of the college kids!). Seemingly his scenes were shot separately, and it shows, but it’s fun to see Hal taking it all very seriously and acting everyone else off screen.
Genre fans and lovers of all things 80s should seek out Girls Nite Out if they haven’t already as while it contains certain elements we’ve seen hundreds of times before there is enough spin on the genre trappings (and some creative cribbing of well-worn horror tropes) to make it stand out from being just another slasher cash in.
Arrow will release Girls Nite Out on Limited Edition Blu-ray (and Exclusive “The Scaremaker” O-Card) 16 May 2022.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
- Brand new 2K restoration from 35mm vault elements
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
• Original uncompressed mono audio
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• Brand new audio commentary with genre film critic/author Justin Kerswell and film historian/author Amanda Reyes
• Staying Alive – a brand new video interview with actress Julia Montgomery: fun interview with lead actress Montgomery who is very enthusiastic about the film and the whole experience and confirms how close the cast where when making the picture. Though she does, somewhat oddly, spend way too much time talking about another film franchise she was in rather than this film!
• A Savage Mauling – a brand new video interview with actress Laura Summer: again, another fun and interesting interview with one of the female cast, Summer having one of the most memorable death scenes in the flick. Some great insight into the making of the film, the movies business back in 1982 and Summer’s post Girls Nite Out career.
• Alone in the Dark – a brand new video interview with actress Lois Robbins: short but informative interview with another of the main cast and again it’s just great to hear so much about the making of an old 80s film from those who starred in them. Though Robbins can’t quite help but use this as a chance to plug upcoming projects, ha!
• It Was a Party! – a brand new video interview with actor Paul Christie: another cool interview with Christie who played the hyper jokester Dancer in the film, who again discusses the making of the film and his career. Considering how full of energy and quick of the barb his character is in the film, Christie seems like a much more chilled and subdued character in real life.
• Love & Death – a brand new video interview with actors Lauren-Marie Taylor and John Didrichsen: fun interview with 2 of the cast members who fell in love making the movie and are still very much happily married today. Taylor and Didrichsen are warm and likable sharing some great stories about the making of the film.
• Archival video interview with actress Julia Montgomery – older interview with Montgomery which covers much the same ground as in her newer and longer interview on the disc.
• Archival audio interview with actress Rutanya Alda
• The Scaremaker Alternate Title Card – cool opening title sequence with the slightly more appropriate title.
• Original Trailers – very cool old school trailers, including the infamous one featuring a character talking directly to the camera but who doesn’t even appear in the films!!
• Reversible sleeve featuring original artwork and newly-commissioned artwork by Justin Osbourn
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Michael Gingold.