Girls Nite Out


Girls’ Night (1982)
Directed by: Robert Deubel
Written by: Anthony N. Jorvis, Jill Spencer Jr., Joe Polster, Kevin Corgis
Starring: Julia Montgomery

Directed by Robert Deubel
Available on Arrow Video Blu-Ray

After winning a basketball game at the last second, DeWitt is on cloud nine to hit the night festivities as the sorority girls plan their annual stalking. However, someone is eager to put an end to the follies, decades after a young woman is murdered on campus by her jealous boyfriend. With college girls and boys hanging around in bed, someone spies on the opportunity to teach slutty young women a lesson they’ll never forget.

When the movie opens, we’re introduced to the star basketball team, towering player Pete ‘Maniac’ Krizaniac (Mart McChesney), not giving his best due to being eliminated by his girlfriend. He’s not the only one who has a problem with women. It seems that Mike Pryor’s girlfriend (David Holbrook) likes Michael Benson (Matthew Dunn), who wears the team’s mascot during basketball games. She has no qualms about staring at him in front of Pryor, so it’s no surprise that he starts out with her at a party after her winning basketball game. However, it is not only college girls who have fun with each other. Another college basketball player, Teddy Ratliff (James Carroll), seems to also try on other women’s pants despite feeling comfortable with the sweet, stable Lynn who adores him. In his mind, the grass is always greener on the other side as his head is turned by Dawn Sorenson (Susan Barnes) who has a longtime boyfriend and a wealthy boyfriend at it! The only person who doesn’t seem to sleep in bed is nerd Ralph Bostwick (John Diedrichsen) who seems happy not to go to the party alone.

All this lust, jealousy and flirtation stirs tension at the university as stories resurface about a young woman on campus who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend decades ago. The student was the daughter of the current campus security officer, Jim McPhee (Hal Holbrook). Unfortunately, old wounds will be reopened tonight as the university hosts the murder once again.

Even though all the students are mixed, regardless of gender, this particular killer seems to have gotten in on the female students and doesn’t kill the males unless they get in their way. The killer utters humiliating insults while slashing the throats of his victims, and slanders and slashes his prey disguised as a DeWitt University mascot. Whoever’s inside the costume has cleverly taped four blades together that were inserted into the claw of the costume, ready to dump any teenage girl, loose or not, who might cross her path. With the girls participating in a nightly scavenger hunt, where the campus radio is tuned in to receive clues about hidden objects they need to find to win a prize, they are often isolated and alone in the dark, providing the perfect opportunity for the bear to pounce.

The murder scenes themselves aren’t bloody or scary compared to other plots of the era, but there is something scary when a student encounters the body of his school friend. POV shots of a bear observing its prey increase stress and fear because it is not a question of whether the killer will strike, but when.

Although it’s a sinister movie, the movie is also packed with humor, especially with the nerdy Bostwick characters, two best friends who can’t stop making jigsaws and even Teddy who loves to flirt and try his luck with every lass he meets. Another aspect of the humor in the movie is the songs that are played. I suppose they were only able to afford to play a couple, as we heard “Yummy Yummy Yummy” by The Ohio Express and “Summer In The City” by The Lovin’ Spoonful at least twice throughout the film. This same one started tickling my funny bone.

Looking at the movie as a whole, Nite’s Nite Out It leaves much to be desired, but, undoubtedly, there are elements that can be more effective if sharpened. The bear mascot as the killer costume is completely unique and makes the movie stand apart from the rest. Unfortunately, the film has such a loose feel to it that its impact, across the board, is so diminished that it comes out loud rather than screaming. I wanted to see more blood and a bit of a fear factor. The abundance of the characters involved also got quite a bit too much. At one point, I would lose track of who it is, especially when we get to the scavenger hunt as most of it is filmed in the dark. A narrower set of characters would have helped keep the focus, especially on the sprawling campus location which I have to say is a very effective place for horror!

While it may not be the highlight of the movie fanatic, Nite’s Nite Out It retains some features that are worth watching.

evaluation: ★★★★★½☆☆☆☆

In the Blu-Ray edition of Arrow, they captured the best quality shots possible from the prints available for what we see here. The visual is clear enough but retains the lines and imperfections of a movie from this era which helps give it that raw feel reminiscent of watching a video. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of movies that look overly polished, especially horror movies like this, so I was happy enough with the typography on offer.

The disc itself is packed with extras, especially new video interviews with the film’s co-stars, including Julia Montgomery, Lauren Marie Taylor and John Diderichsen (who met on the movie and later married!), Laura Summer, Louis Robbins, and Paul Christie. There’s also an archival interview with Julia Montgomery and trailers for the movie. Genre critic and screenwriter Justin Kirswell and film historian and author Amanda Reyes provide insight into the film in Blu-Ray’s voiceover.

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