"To All A Goodnight" is a movie that has been on my radar for sometime now, but I have never gotten a chance to actually see it until I picked up a copy from the VHSPS last weekend.
Since the film does not have a proper DVD release and a VHS copy goes for $75+ on Ebay when I saw a copy on the VHSPS display rack for $5 I had to snatch that shit up!
Going into this movie I was familiar with the box art and knew it was a pioneer of the 'Killer Wears a Santa Suite' genre, but that was about all I knew.
The first thing about "To All a Goodnight" that really surprised me was that the film was directed by horror icon David Hess!
I always applauded his acting in Sleazy Exploitation Classics such as "House on the Edge of the Park" and "Last House On The Left", so I was interested to see what he could do behind the camera.
The opening is almost identical to the start of another 1980 horror film, "Prom Night"; a College aged girl is being chased all around the house by her fellow Sorority Sisters in a
frighting game of Cat & Mouse when thing go too far and she falls to her death.
Now two years later and around the time of the school's Christmas Break the girls responsible for her death start getting knocked off one by one. It is a simple enough plot to follow and one that by now you have seen many times before.
It has all the plot points you have come to expect from a Slasher Film . . . A Masked Killer looking for revenge, The Virginal Final Girl, a group of horny ones, the isolated setting, and enough red-herrings to fill an ocean.
But since this came out in the early stages of the slasher boom this must have been pretty fresh stuff for it's time! Also the fact that this movie was made in less then 10 Day on a small budget is quite impressive.
While I figured out who the killer was easily right from the start I still loved the 'whodunit' aspect of the movie, and each persons' motives would have made a lot a lot of sense.
The systematic way our Killer Santa takes out each girl or their respective boyfriends is extremely entertaining, while incredibly stupid at the same time.
They all know there is a killer on the loose, but they still insist on partying and sexing it up. So as you can image with the dumb people at the house there a lot silly moments in the film that really stand out!
The introduction of the Main Cop trying to solve the on-going murders immediately made me think of John Bender's question to Vernon in the Breakfast Club. . . "Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?"
My favorite scene without a doubt is what can only be referred as the "Shower Head" scene . . . Like most slashers, after awhile the living character start finding the bodies of the dead ones, well this has one of the best ones I ever have seen!
There's a nice little twist towards the end that I didn't see coming, and also a great murder that happens while the killer is decked out in a full Knight Costume! After viewing this movie I just wished David Hess made more movies while he was alive, this had a very fast pace and got everything across without being drawn out.
I don't want to ruin too much more of this movie, cause I feel if you like Christmas related slashers you need to watch this one for yourself so, I'm going to cut today's Shitmas featured title a little short today. If you are interested in checking this one out I highly recommend grabbing a copy from the VHS Preservation Society. It's just as good as Silent Night, Deadly Night . . . Just not as well known.
- Tom Bryce