TO ALL A GOODNIGHT ** USA 1980 Dir: David Hess. 83 mins
Written by INCREDIBLE MELTING MAN star Alex Rebar and directed by David Hess (who has an early cameo), this conventional festive slasher flick delivers the expected red herrings, tragic backstory, virginal heroine and lashings of sex and blood. The earlier death of a partying student at a girls’ finishing school prompts a series of murders in the present, where a bunch of girls smuggle some frisky boys into their halls of residence at Christmas time.Jennifer Runyon is a sweet, appealing final girl, while Forrest Swanson is a likeable bespectacled science nerd deflowered by the school bike in between murders.
These above-average characters give the movie a boost, though there is fun to be had from seeing the movie strain to sustain red herrings, including a God-fearing Crazy Ralph-styled gardener (called, er, Ralph) and a death-obsessed Jewish woman with a passionate disdain for rich girls. The climax involves a Mrs Voorhees-style grudge-bearing killer beneath the Santa suit and, although Hess isn’t much of a director, the kill scenes are fun – highlights include a BAY OF BLOOD coitus-interruptus and a unique moment involving a literal “shower head”.
Review by Steven West