Nevertheless, Hell Night has a few touches that stand it a shade above these, at least during the first half the second tends to fade into much protracted running around. The frissons created by director Tom De Simone are effective. The eerieness is aided by a sparse but atmospheric synthesizer and percussive score. The films failing is that it entirely neglects to explain the creatures behind the killings are they ghosts? the houses previous inhabitants? ordinary psychos? or what?
One advantage is surprisingly the presence of Linda Blair. Blair should probably get a title as the great-unrecognised queen of exploitation cinema. She did a good deal of cheap exploitation films following her attention-grabbing role in The Exorcist (1973), which tended to obscure her ability as an actress. Here, having put on quite a few pounds, she gives a decent performance, even if all the latter half of the film does is reduce her to running about screaming. Vince Van Patten however gives an exceedingly silly performance.
Director Tom De Simone had been making porn films, both gay and straight, for most of the 1970s, including the legendary Chatterbox (1977) about a woman with a talking vagina. He started to move legit here. He subsequently made the exploitation films Reform School Girls (1986) and Angel III: The Final Chapter (1988).
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