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Halloween Night

Directed by Mark Atkins

Written by Michael Gingold

Starring Derek Osedach, Rebekah Kochan, Scot Nery, Sean Durrie

Produced by David Michael Latt, Sherri Strain

Not Rated

85 minutes

*

Join me in a collective gasp of shock as The Asylum puts out a movie that’s NOT based heavily on previously released work! That’s right, no cheesy knockoff this time around, just a really-loosely-based-on-a-true-story romp called “Halloween Night”!

Nope…no cheesy knockoffs here—this is all original cheese. Well…sort of. And the flaming bag on our video store doorstep this week is the positively cheese-laden story of an asylum inmate who kills a couple guards, breaks out of prison wearing a mask, heads back to the house of his birth and goes on a murder spree back in 1982. I’m really, really hoping that there was no pun intended back there, because if there was, I’m going to be fantastically disturbed.

And yes, I’m aware that that’s really similar to the plotline of John Carpenter’s “Halloween.” What, you were expecting originality? Be grateful it’s not a complete ripoff! At least there’s a larger victim pool to separate the classic from its pale imitation.

Pretty much from the get-go, something’s going to be direly wrong here. Whether it’s thoroughly illogical contract killings or incredibly familiar hospital exterior shots or just the incredible fun of a hand somehow being inserted into a throat via an uncannily circular hole, The Asylum’s going to spare way too many expenses to trot out the cheesiest low-budget romp it can possibly dredge up. At least the ripoffs were halfway decent! I emphasize halfway; I still shudder every time I think about “Hillside Cannibals.”

And when our killer wanders out of the hospital clad in a bedsheet and plastic mask, I begin to realize that we’ve left logic and decent storytelling far behind us in favor of a series of mostly-related plot holes so large they can be seen from light aircraft.

At least, until we trot out the lesbians. Then they become visible from orbit.

The plus side about having Michael Gingold of Fango Legend writing this sucker is that he’s amply familiar with all the standard cliches. The minus side is that he’s so familiar with all the standard cliches that he apparently thinks their use is required by Federal law, because there is not one he will hesitate to use. From the nigh-invulnerable serial killer performing impossible feats of strength to the appearance of titties to cover the sheer lousy of the plotline, Gingold knows all the oldest tricks in the book and will execute every. Single. ONE.

Even worse, Gingold starts mixing his mythoses. While he’s using “Halloween” to kick things off, by the time things end, he’s lapsed into “Friday the Thirteenth Part Two,” giving the hulking silent masked killer a mommy fixation of such depth that he actually stops in the face of a woman wearing her old necklace,thinking it’s mommy. And yet, to his credit, he has engineered an elaborate ruse to take place about the middle of the film that goes surprisingly and interestingly awry.

Despite how truly abysmal this film turned out to be, I’m still glad I watched it. Remember when I said, not so long ago, that a movie involving Eric Spudic was likely to turn out really unpleasantly? Well, my theory has just managed to bear fruit again—Spudic’s playing a bit part in here, credited with the role of “Stu.” Thank you, “Halloween Night,” for adding credence to my “Spudic as Coal Mine Canary” theory!

The ending is a long, drawn-out sequence of slasher film nonsense that Gingold should have known better than to perpetrate. Honestly, it’s been done to death so many times that it’s not even relevant any more. Even the twist ending is no longer a real twist—most horror buffs will see it coming from at least three minutes out.

The special features include audio options, cast and crew commentary, a behind the scenes featurette, bloopers, outtakes, deleted scenes, and trailers for “Snakes on a Train,” “The 9/11 Commission Report,” “The Straun House,” and “Halloween Night.”

All in all, a couple of fair innovations can’t save “Halloween Night” from being the rock in our trick-or-treat bag that it is. This sad, sorry sight engineered by people who should have known better makes me weep for the genre just watching it.

Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.


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