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William T. Naud
It's Christmas break at the Calvin Finishing School for Girls, and the students are planning a big party while the president of the school is away. A group of boys show up and the fun begins, until mysterious killer starts bumping off couples one by one. The police show up and promise to keep everyone safe, but they prove ineffectual against the crazed psycho. Could the killings have anything to do with the girl who was killed in an initiation stunt at the school a few years earlier? Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Forget the cheerful seasons greetings, as here's another nasty little holiday slasher that's only made more interesting for the fact it was directed by genre actor David A. Hess. However his presence might have been better suited in front of the camera than just behind it. "To All A Good Night" is another addition to the Christmas --- Santa Clause slasher cycle and probably one of the least known, despite coming out around the same time as "You Better Watch Out" and even before the likes of "Silent Night, Deadly Night" and "Don't Open till Christmas". Still with that on mind, it's your typically rancid and atmospherically moody slasher that amusingly passes the time but in the end there's not too much to write about.
Sticking to a formula that seems to be popular; it opens in the past showing a prank going horribly wrong then moves to the present time which has a group of horny rich girls at Calvin Finishing School for Girls waiting to secretly smuggle in their boyfriends for some late-night parting, but after doing so they start disappearing as someone in a Saint Nick costume is going around making ends meat of them. Does the past have something to do with it I can't see it any other way.
It had its moments (death by propeller was a neat touch), an unhinged, if wonky sounding electronic score and a cast (mostly no-names) that weren't too bad either. There's colourful bunch of characters (with expected red herrings; like Ralph the creepy looking gardener who can pop out from anywhere) and gladly they stood out from each other. The angelic Jennifer Runyon (in her debut performance --- although that's pretty for all the young cast) brings a grounded reality to her lead character. Her cute character was more sympathetic, thanks to her forlorn naïve innocence, but even so not worthless for that. Linda Gentile and Judith Bridges have titillating fun with their buxom parts. While Forrest Swanson and William Lauer are tolerable.
The location (a large sorority house) for such butchery is ominously remote, but David Hess' glum direction was kind of clunky with many murky set-pieces with a real uneven focus on the deaths or a real lack of build up to them. Some happen off-screen, while others come off jarringly quick. Some passages are lethargic, like the long stretches of fooling around, bickering and then the waiting game for the killer to strike (oh there's numerous leg shots of our psychotic Santa killer walking stairs). The story kind of starts of plain (with some flat writing) but when it begins to open up to where its actually going, it brings out some rather amusing (though not all that intentional) and odd developments. Plenty of contrived instances make there way in and there's one scene that paints it perfectly. After discovering a dead body one of the characters run to the phone to call the police, but *drum roll* the phone is dead. But just before picking it up the killer perfectly times it by cutting the phone line just before it reaches his ear. But in the end it's the sudden revelation well more so the outrageous second one that's a groaner.
A so-so seasonal low-budget slasher.
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