4.3/10
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38 user 31 critic

Girls Nite Out (1982)

A killer, wearing a dancing bear suit, stalks a variety of cheerleaders during an all-night scavenger hunt at a remote Ohio college.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Lynn Connors
James Carroll ...
Teddy Ratliff
Suzanne Barnes ...
...
Al McGuire ...
Coach Kimble
Lauren-Marie Taylor ...
David Holbrook ...
Mike Pryor
...
Mart McChesney ...
Pete 'Maniac' Krizaniac
...
John Didrichsen ...
Ralph Bostwick
...
Leslie Peterson
Mathew Dunn ...
Michael Benson
Susan Pitts ...
Trish
Paul Christie ...
Dancer
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Storyline

The day after a huge party a scavenger hunt is held. Every college-age kid in town is out for the grand prize. One-by-one they are all dispatched by a killer in a giant bear suit. But who is it? Written by Greg Duryea <gduryea@atlantic.net>

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The next time you go to a Fancy Dress Party....check who's going with you. See more »


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R | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

20 June 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Scaremaker  »

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1.85 : 1
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Trivia

Some of the eerie cello score for this film was later used in the NOAA tornado documentary "Terrible Tuesday." See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not the exploitation trash they may have you believe...
16 June 2012 | by See all my reviews

"Girls Nite Out" focuses on an isolated Ohio college campus where a group of cheerleaders are preparing for an annual all-night sorority scavenger hunt after the university's victory basketball game. What would be a fun evening for these young women is everything but when a killer dressed in the school's mascot bear suit is stalking and murdering them throughout the night, and the suspicious death of a local asylum patient and former student has the campus security guard (Hal Holbrook) on high lookout.

I had been curious about this film for a long time, and when I finally decided to get a hold of it, my expectations were low due to an overwhelming amount of negative reviews on the internet. While the title "Girls Nite Out" doesn't exactly paint this movie as a class act, I was extremely surprised at how "usual" the film was in terms of slasher protocol, and un-trashy it actually was. I went in expecting something along the lines of "Slumber Party Massacre", and ended up getting a film that had more in common with "Friday the 13th" and "Prom Night" than anything else.

Despite its little-known reputation and apparent sleaze cinema status, the film benefits greatly from slick production values, decent camera work, and surprisingly good acting. Add to that list a handful of unexpectedly bloody murder scenes at the hands of a bear mascot (wielding multiple claw-knives in hand, ala Freddy Krueger, no less), and this is actually a well-rounded slasher movie.

Despite the film's quality production, I think what makes "Girls Nite Out" most unique (and successful) is the killer himself. The bear suit, which might sound corny if you haven't seen it, is actually quite eerie. With large, yellow/green cartoonish eyes, the image of it lurking around the campus is actually really terrifying. Of course, the girls all think that it's the jokester mascot who they know all too well, and that dramatic irony adds a sense of tension to the confrontation scenes. The dark college campus is a perfect setting for the film, and the accompanying score provides heavy doses of unease.

While the film is actually something of a slow burner (the first murder doesn't take place until a good 45 minutes into the film, and the first act is made up of college kid charades which gives the audience a little time to understand the characters, and the writers to flesh out a couple of infidelity subplots), the murder sequences are a payoff for slice-and-dice horror fans. The second murder actually caught me off guard by how graphic it was, and the fact that the killer screams at the female victims, calling them "sluts" and "whores" while digging serrated knives into their necks is pretty disturbing. Like I said before, some of the scenes are surprisingly bloody, while a couple of others are suggestive rather than gratuitous (namely the scene in the chapel attic), but they are all equally effective.

As I mentioned before, the acting in this film is surprisingly good, especially for a movie of this calibre. Hal Holbrook plays a stern campus cop, and the rest of the cast is fleshed out by a group of lively college-aged kids who are more believable than they need to be in an '80s slasher flick. The only real quip I have with the film is that it loses a focal point near the end— in fact, it's hard to tell if it had one in the first place. There are a lot of characters and the script keeps the audience well-acquainted with several of them, but it's difficult to pinpoint a central protagonist, which is mildly problematic once the police and investigators enter the film in the last half hour to try and solve the murders. That said, the absence of one discernible protagonist eliminates the clichéd "final girl", so there is equal playing ground.

The reveal at the end of the film is slightly anticlimactic, but besides that is actually well-handled and bizarre, and greatly acted by the villain (whom I'm not going to name). The final frame of the film is definitely up there as far as "creepy endings" go. Overall, "Girls Nite Out" is overlooked and underrated among its counterparts, and is a lot better than it should be and a hell of a lot better than its reputation. If you like slasher films and appreciate the genre, then give this one a go. 8/10.


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