To All a Goodnight (1980) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
37 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
5/10
A silly psycho Santa flick.
Scott LeBrun1 December 2014
The set-up is somewhat like that of "Black Christmas", with an opening minute that will remind the slasher fan of "Prom Night". At a finishing school for girls, one poor lass plummets to her death (or rather, a dummy does) after being chased around by her peers. A year later, a small group of gals who've stuck around during the Christmas holidays will find themselves stalked by a murdering fiend in a Santa Claus costume. The cops show up on the scene, but much like most things in this movie, they're not very good at their jobs, so our killer isn't going to face very much of a challenge.

This demands a viewing on the basis of its curiosity value. It's scripted by The Incredible Melting Man (a.k.a. actor Alex Rebar), and is the feature directorial debut for Krug (a.k.a. actor / composer David Hess). Rebars' sorry excuse for a screenplay is bad enough to make one think that he and everybody else were just sort of winging it throughout the shoot. Hess delivers no tension or suspense. Then again, you DO get the impression that they're not taking themselves that seriously. You couldn't, not with dialogue and performances as bad as this. The one rather cool moment occurs when the maniac is actually wearing something other than a Santa Claus suit.

The lovely Jennifer Runyon ("Ghost Busters", "Up the Creek") made her film debut as Nancy, a standard issue Nice Girl. Forrest Swanson is nerdy Alex, who seems to take a while to really notice the girls. Kiva Lawrence is not that bad as the kindly housemother Mrs. Jensen. And that's porn star Harry Reems playing the hapless pilot. Gore effects are supplied by the young Mark Shostrom ("Evil Dead 2"), and some T & A is delivered by Judith Bridges as the slutty Leia (however, some may be disappointed by the latter).

This doesn't go on too long, and tends to alternate between being dull and being uproarious. Only die hard devotees of slashers and bad movies really should bother with it.

Five out of 10.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Not as bad as popular belief
Raidar12 May 2004
To all a Good Night has long since been touted as one of the worst of the genre pieces from the benchmark year in slasher shenanigans. But to be honest, it's really not that bad. Mark Shostrum's gore effects are great, and Jennifer Runyon makes a cute and approachable surviving girl. This is, of course, the first SLASHER movie to include a killer santa, which would be repeated in Santa Claws, Silent Night Deadly Night, Christmas Season Massacre etc. etc. Just for the sake of originality (!), Don't Open Till Christmas opted for a masked killer that killed people in Santa suits instead!

The only problems with To all a Good Night is that it's poorly lighted, a little off the wall and perhaps too under-produced. But it's certainly not the worst of its kind and is just about worth hunting out.
10 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
"The devil is here"
lost-in-limbo3 September 2010
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.
8 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Way too harsh on this
vagrantfilms7 January 2008
OK People come on... TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT , may be marred by some poor lighting, but overall this is a serviceable and nasty lil' holiday treat. There are some fantastic kills in it, and hell anything directed by Mr. Hess, Written by The Incredible Melting man and starring 80's teen film regular Jenny Runyon, is well worth the price of admission. If anything, watch it for a Plane propeller killing. Worth a rental. Keep your eyes peeled for a DVD release. I mean, if Christmas Evil can get a fantastic repackaging, then surely something like this can get some decent treatment. 7 out of 10 definitely, for a myriad of great gruesome deaths.
8 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
2/10
Krug's directorial debut!
capkronos18 March 2003
Krug from LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (David A. Hess) made this slasher movie with a script from the star of THE INCREDIBLE MELTING MAN (Alex Rebar). The night scenes are so incompetently photographed that you can't tell what the hell is going on, which could cause some alarm if the daylight scenes were any good, but since everything is equally stupid, blame whoever, in front of or behind the camera, you want.

Jennifer Runyon is the sweet, milk-drinking blonde virgin Nancy, who is stuck at a boarding school with her obnoxious and lascivious female friends. When their boyfriends fly in for a sex-filled Holiday weekend, a nut dressed like Santa Claus prowls around and kills most of them off. People are killed with arrow, knife, axe, rock, airplane propeller and various other sharp things, most of the women get naked and a decapitated head hangs in the shower. One girl does a cop who comes over to help them. This forgettable horror film wraps up with a pathetic and desperate twist ending.

TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT is noteworthy mostly as one of at least three killer Santa Claus movies to predate SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT. The other two (which are both much better) are the Joan Collins segment in the anthology TALES FROM THE CRYPT (1971) and the wonderfully bizarre Christmas EVIL (1980).
7 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Really bad,but watchable slasher flick.
HumanoidOfFlesh23 February 2004
"To All a Good Night" is directed by David Hess-the star of "Last House on the Left" and "House on the Edge of the Park".The plot of this obscure slasher is pretty simple:some college girls are stalked and killed by a mysterious Santa Claus after they have drugged up their housemother and invited some boys over.This film is so incredibly bad that it truly has to be seen to be believed.The acting is atrocious,the plot is stupid and highly unoriginal and there is no suspense at all.Still there is a seriously high body count and some of the killings are actually fairly gruesome for example a guy has his head split open with axe.The twist ending is okay,but nothing special.So if you love early 80's slasher films give this one a look.6 out of 10.
6 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
A superb, fun slasher that is sadly underrated and unknown...
bfan831 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
TO ALL A GOODNIGHT was arguably the first slasher flick to feature Santa Claus as a killer. In my opinion, it is also way better than Christmas EVIL, or SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT. Unfortunately, it has become all but forgotten by horror fans.

The plot revolves are 5 young women, who are boarders at the exclusive Calvin Finishing School who are staying behind for the holidays. They decide to drug their housemother and invite their boyfriends over for a late night frolic. During the night, two of them are murdered. The next day, the rest of the group discover their friend's bodies and they soon must fight for their lives as they begin dying one, by one.

Granted, TO ALL A GOODNIGHT is far from a good film, but it does try. It doesn't present itself anymore than just being a straight slasher. They are a few odd moments in the film. One having to do with one of the girls ballet dancing on the balcony (I'll let you find out that one for yourself.) The only other complaint that I have is that the ending felt rushed and anti-climatic.

Horror fans will be pleased to know that it has one heck of the body count and the gore is decent. We have a death by a wire garrote, another at the receiving end of a private plane's blades, a decapitation and so on and so on.

Overall, it's an entertaining and woefully underrated slasher film that needs to see a resurrection on DVD. If you can locate a copy on ebay (did I mention it's rather rare?) pick it up. It makes a nice addition to any hardcore horror movie collector.
5 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
To All a Good Night
Scarecrow-8823 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Promiscuous college girls, who remain at their school for the Christmas holiday, coerce their resident cook to go to bed, awaiting gleefully for their boyfriends to arrive by plane(..one of the boys has a rich daddy)so they can gather together and enjoy a night of naughty debauchery, not knowing that a psycho in Santa costume plans to ruin the festivities.

The film opens with a game that ends disappointingly as one of the female students falls off of a balcony, stoned, falling to the ground below..it seems this unfortunate incident might just be the root cause of the Christmas slayer's mayhem.

There's a nerd who talks about the advances in medical science with great detail, some wannabe lothario with an acoustic guitar, an obvious nympho who doesn't get a chance to bed her man, a virginal blonde with a soft voice the gardener wishes to protect, a couple of practical jokers(often criticizing the blonde girl and anyone else they find annoying or bothersome, these two girls are the kind you see in school whispering to each other about people they don't like), etc. As usual, the medical nerd is uneasy about making a move on the girl(..she's this lovely gal with a great body who is practically throwing herself at him, yet, as often was the case, he's too nervous, or focused on his studies, to get a clue). There's a funny scene where our 'final girl' is drinking her milk and listening to the moans of passion from another room! The gardener is one of those old religious kooks dispelling doom to Nancy, the pretty innocent he wishes to protect("There's something wrong, I feel it."). Nancy spends time skulking about being lonely, until her and nerd Alex(..having lost his virginity with one of the girls, Melody)hook up, forming amateur detectives, and searching out the place in the dark.

One of the funniest scenes, to me anyway, has a naked Leia, who had just bedded one of the cops assigned to protect them, finding the severed head of her pal stuck on the shower head! I was amused as I watched this flick how characters are blunt and honest about others giggling and insulting them while they are still in the room(..such as gardener Ralph who seems to be the butt of everyone's jokes, even though he moves about, saying little, without really warranting such constant ridicule, despite the fact that he's a wee bit creepy).

To All a Good Night is what it is, a prototypical slasher which doesn't distinguish itself from the others of it's ilk. The cast of characters have little personality and will probably not appeal to the masses who look for obscure slasher fare, and when they die you could care less or feel little pity.

Jennifer Runyon is Nancy, Forrest Swanson(Alex), Linda Gentile(Melody), William Lauer(..as TJ, the rich jock with the plane), and Judith Bridges(..whose Leia goes bonkers, singing to herself a lullaby as she dances around in her own little world after discovering the decapitated head and killer Santa with a butcher knife)round out some of the cast in trouble of being chop suey. Sam Shamshak is Chief of Police, Polansky and Katherine Herrington is cook Mrs. Jensen, both of which have pivotal parts of importance as the film unfolds. Buck West is the weirdo gardener. Neither cult star David Hess' direction nor Alex Rebar's writing seem very inspired(..it feels like the cash-in of a fad, with little spirit or innovation), although the concept of a killer dressed as Santa was somewhat fresh at this time. I guess the most memorable murder sequence will be when Santa starts up the plane while a pilot is working on the engine, the spinning propeller blade chopping him and a female student to pieces. Something to think about..it seems impossible that one Santa can be at two places at one time, even in the wonderful land of movie time where a killer can move at warp speed.
3 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Christmas slasher
acidburn-1011 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
A typical 80s slasher with teenage girls getting stalked and murdered by a masked killer. But giving the fact that this is one of the first slasher movies to come out, and has an original costume idea with the killer dressing up as Santa Claus.

This movie does have a lot of gore and a high body count, but it can get a bit dull at times. This movie does have faults like at times it's so dark you can't really see what the hell is going on, and the best parts of the movie happens at night. The acting is anything but good. We get a lot of overacting and some of the most pathetic screams I have ever witnessed. These girls look like they have never experienced fear in their lives.

"To All A Goodnight" isn't a bad movie, it may be weak and slow in parts but it's still highly enjoyable and it follows the slasher formula quite well. I pretty much guessed who the killer was at the end but there is more this has a double twist ending and If you're a fan of masked slasher movies from the 80s I definitely suggest you give this one a shot because it is quite gory and as I said before, the body count is relatively high.

The killings are brill though we get bloody stabs, some slit throats, a rock jammed into ones head a brutal decapitation, an arrow through head, an axe in head and the bit where the two people get chopped up by a helicopter propeller.

All in all i'd say Fairly enjoyable slasher which gets a bit too slow at many times. Follows the basic slasher formula and has a high body count. A definite must for anyone who enjoys the occasional 80s slasher. If you've seen many of these before however, you might feel that it is a bit too unoriginal even though it was one of the first in its class.
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Nice vibe, well thought through story.
Jason Voorhees19 June 2018
Similar movies to this imo would be Hell Night (1981), Happy Birthday to Me (1981), Nightwish (1989) or Next of Kin (1982). These sorts of movies you may like. What I like a lot about To All a Goodnight are the subtle clues you can easily pickup on when watched again. There are plenty of hints that the enemy is at the gates. The acting is easily good enough, it captures that 80's vibe well enough and doesn't waste time getting to a bit of slashy fun.

Its a cheap thrill for an hour and a bit, the promiscuousness of girls makes this one of those types of slashers where the victims are totally caught off guard. Most of the thrill comes from seeing how many people get killed until they realise what's going on. There is a bit of mystery as well.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
Ho-Ho-Hum
kamikaze-49 January 2018
To All A Good Night (1980) It takes creativity to make a low budget film that doesn't look low budget. If I am to believe the IMDb, this movie was made for 25K. It looked like it was made for a lot more. The producers were very creative in the production of this film, and it shows. Sadly, the writers weren't creative with this killer Santa movie, and it shows. An early performance by Jennifer Runyon. Also with Harry Reems.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The Ending...
brundlefly-2485016 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Spoiler warning..

I saw this on vacation after renting it from a mom and pop video store.

At the end, I remember the Final Girl escaping by jumping off a roof. Another sorority sister, the mean one, was doing some kind of dance on the roof while the killer watched from a second story window. What the heck did any of that mean?

Anyone know?
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
You'd better watch out....
hwg1957-102-26570411 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
A group of female teenagers at the Calvin Finishing School are menaced during the holiday break by a maniacal killer in a Santa Claus costume. The motive of the killer is easy to work out and so is the identity of the killer. The teenagers and their boy friends (who come in a plane to meet them) are stalked and most of them get killed. So a pretty routine slasher movie. The gore is OK but apart from that it is rather dull. There is a final twist at the end which comes out of nowhere and is not necessary.

The cast are ordinary and the characters on the whole are annoying so one looks forward to them being bumped off, which they are in standard slasher movie ways. As normal for a teen horror film they act stupidly most of the time. The director David Hess has genre connections but only in acting. His direction is routine.

I was puzzled about the title of the film but an erudite friend told me it is the last line of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' by Major Henry Livingston Jr.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
Weak Slasher!
gwnightscream22 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This 1980 horror film features a crazed killer dressed as Santa Claus stalking a group of friends at an all-girl school where an accidental death occurred 2 years prior. What can I say? This film is disappointing. Many scenes are dark which makes me want to go to sleep, the characters are unlikable, except for the main girl, Nancy (Jennifer Runyon), the editing stinks and the ending is kind of predictable and ridiculous. Also, The film obviously rips off "Prom Night," "Black Christmas," "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th." The only plus is the girls showing some skin and a couple of kills/deaths. I'd only view this if you're into slasher flicks, but it's a weak one.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
Bland, unimpressive killer Santa effort
GL848 December 2015
Staying late over the holiday break, a group of girls at a boarding school find themselves stalked by a psychotic killer wearing a Santa outfit in retribution for an earlier prank and must find a way to escape the killer's wrath.

Overall this one here was a pretty disappointing slasher. One of the main issues here is the fact that the film is just unbelievably slow and doesn't really offer up much of an enjoyable pace here, content merely to cruise along without really getting much of anything going. The early scenes of the girls getting ready for their party and ensuring that their festivities go uninterrupted is a long, never-ending series of bland, wholly unappealing moments here that just grind the film to a halt, not the least of which here is also caused by the film's seemingly curious decision to start the massacre fairly early on, then instead let the bodies be discovered the next day and wait until the following night to continue things. While the decision not to carry out the single-night rampage is rather unique, instead this causes the film to appear as though it has two character-building montages here as we get the initial arrival and pairing off in day one then we get them doing this again on day two as now that they're aware of the killer at the beginning of the day it wastes all the time until later that night to finally unleash the killer again and this set-up isn't that enjoyable. Still, beyond this the film's main detrimental strike comes from the majority of the actual horror factors involved not really being of much interest here, from bland and wholly un-suspenseful stalking scenes to bland kills that don't offer up much of any blood or gore and never really lets itself play with the supposedly-chilling idea of a killer loose in a dorm-room house the way this one could've as this one just goes about in a round- about way of getting to the carnage. There's almost nothing scary about the killer here beyond the damage done to the victims' bodies, and that tends to really wash over this one quite easily with a series of forgettable scenes with a hilariously-nonthreatening Santa-suited killer running around in a matter-of-factly manner that doesn't come close to giving this anything to get worked up over, and all combined really takes this down a notch. There's a few areas here that this does get right, namely from the fact that the film's body count offers up some potentially intriguing fun here with a lot of bland-conceptually but gruesomely-executed kills here, as the fact that there's two big rampages that knock them off in groups makes for a generally fun time in those parts with some decent chasing being done to satisfy the slasher fan in those moments. Those in and of themselves are much better than expected here just for the sheer cheesy fun they offer here as there's not much else about this one that works here only than the body count and how many stalking scenes there are, even though they're not always impressive.

Rated R: Violence, Language, Nudity, sexual discussions and mild drug use.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
Nighty night Mr. Hess... Warning: Spoilers
Ho Ho Ho! This early post Halloween slash fest is intriguing and collectible for two significant reasons. It was the first slasher movie to include a Santa-suited psycho, before Silent Night-Deadly Night, Psycho Santa and Christmas Season Massacre made the costume a slasher cliché. Secondly it was the directorial debut of David Hess – a man who was to the horror genre what Johan Cryuff was to football. Not many people know about Hess' hugely impressive contributions to show business and the things that he achieved prior to his acting exploits. His professional career began as a singer-songwriter for a small label called Shalimar Music in 1957. His first recording was a song called 'All Shook Up', which of course became a massive hit for Elvis Presley that same year.

Throughout the months that followed, Hess would see Conway Twitty, Andy Williams, Sal Mineo and Pat Boone take his tracks to the top end of the charts and then he settled for a career behind the scenes as head A & R man for Mercury Records. Then in 1972 his fortunes continued to improve when he was offered the lead role in Wes Craven's cult classic 'The Last House on the Left'. He gave such a nasty and memorable performance that he would continue to play tormented characters in movies like 'The Eleventh Commandment'. To all a Good Night gave him the chance to broaden his horizons in the film industry and it was a solid opportunity to express his talents in the director's chair. It's something that he'd like to try again, although he admits that he has neither the time nor the cash flow to direct a second feature. Nowadays David Hess says that his main priority is spending time with his family.

The opening scene is conveyed so rapidly that it felt like I had my finger on the fast forward button. It's Christmas vacation at the Calvin Finishing School for girls and the co-eds are celebrating by chasing one female around the dormitory. She heads out onto the balcony, trips over a plant pot and takes a fatal tumble to the concrete floor below. We can only presume that the girl died, although we're never given an explanation to the scene. We don't even know who any of these characters were?

Two years later and its Christmas time again. A large majority of the youngsters are going home, but a few party animals are preparing for their own on-site celebrations. The gang of fun-loving ladies includes a curvaceous man-eater called Melody (Linda Gentile), who spends her time being swapped among the guys like a football card. There's a suspiciously plum accented English girl named Trisha (Angela Bath), and then we have the traditional bed-hopper and inadvertently billed comic relief character, Leia (Judith Bridges). Finally we meet the Jamie Lee Curtis-lite goody-two-shoes called Nancy (Jennifer Runyon). Their house is run by Ruth Jensen (Katherine Herrington) and Trina Ronsoni (Judy Hess), who must be related to the director – maybe his wife? She also shows a brilliant knack for comic timing, by quipping at one point, " I'll stop off on my way back. That is if the grim reaper doesn't come calling". Ho-hum!

Anyway, Christmas alone for the girls wouldn't be much fun, so they literally fly in a gang of randy would-be lotharios including the stereotypical geek, Alex (Forest Swanson). It doesn't take long for the masked Santa-suited slasher to turn up and begin cutting his way through the revellers. He then buries their bodies in the backyard with the professionalism and speed of a gang of landscape gardeners. So who will survive this Christmas Massacre?

To all a Good Night isn't as bad as its hideous reputation would lead you to believe. In fact it's actually fairly watchable in a so bad it's good kind of way. It's helped no end by some breathtaking dialogue from the dim-witted cast. At one point, Trisha bumps in to the maniac and goofs in her comical sub-Brit accent, "Oh Tom, take that bloody mask off and take me to bed!" She gets what she rightly deserves. Then on planet eye test, all the guys are captivated by the hilariously unattractive Leia, but they defy logic by completely ignoring the much better looking AND virginal Nancy. The aforementioned flat chested redhead also provides most of the nudity, while the buxom and shapely Melody remains fully clothed throughout? Not being content with constantly ripping off her clothes, Leia goes insane towards the conclusion of the movie and spends the final third of the runtime singing and ballet dancing round the corpses of her chums!

Mark Shostrum's gore effects may well be the most spectacular ever filmed. We'll never know if that's true however, because the picture is just too dark. Day for night filters are used without any other form of lighting, and at times the lack of clear vision ruins the movie. The only good killing that I remember featured the maniac dressed in a suit of armour and it was thankfully filmed inside the house, so the lighting was at least passable. Despite loosing about six of their colleagues in the first thirty minutes, the remaining victims fail to acknowledge that there is a maniac stalking the campus. Instead they continue to mouth inept comments the following morning, such as, "They must have gone to bed." Even when they uncover the heavily-mutilated body of Ralph the albino gardener, they still refuse to accept that a maniac is trying to cut down the guest list for their Xmas party. The utter stupidity of the youngsters destroys any sympathy for their eminent demise.

On the plus side, there is a humongous body count and as I said, it's fairly amusing in an inadvertent kind of way. Watch it with a few beers and you'll probably enjoy it a lot more.
6 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
To All A Goodnight
Toronto8529 May 2012
The idea of a killer dressed as Santa Claus attacking a group of young people at a sorority house sounds great to a horror fan like myself! Which is why I was so excited to this the other day. Unfortunately, 'To All A Goodnight' was a major disappointment. It had so much potential, but with so many flaws to me this is a below average slasher film that I wouldn't care to see again.

The movie begins with a girl accidentally falling to her death during a prank/initiation. Flash forward two years, this time with a group of new girls who are staying at the sorority house over Christmas. They invite a bunch of boys over to spend the holidays with them which of course was added just to increase the body count. Eventually, a killer dressed as Santa kills a few people and one of the body is discovered the next morning. A cop comes to the house and tells them to stay and lock up for the night (not sure why they listened, I would have gotten the hell out). Anyways, a few more murders happen that evening leading to the killer's revelation.

There are so many things wrong with the movie. The main group of characters are so annoying and make it hard to get through the film at times. The dialogue and acting are so bad, it just makes most scenes seem awkward. Plus, it's Christmas. Where is the snow? I feel that the movie could have been much more moody and creepier with a snowstorm outside or something. And why would they stay at the house an entire day after finding a bloody corpse. It makes no sense. Also, the lighting is pretty bad so don't expect to see everything clearly, including some of the kills.

The killers identity was sort of obvious to me anyways, but there is a second twist which came out of nowhere for me. It felt rushed and fell flat. 'To All A Goodnight' has it's moments, like a helicopter propeller kill and making one of the characters go completely insane after finding a decapitated head in the shower. But after I had so much anticipation in seeing this, I felt that it wasn't a very good movie and could have been so much better.

4/10
3 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
Ho Ho Ho!!!
FrightMeter13 March 2002
Certainly not in the same league as "Silent Night, Deadly Night" or "Black Christmas," but definitely better than the god-awful "Don't Open Til Christmas" and "Christmas Evil," this is an ultra-low budget film that tried to be effective and original, but fails in many aspects. It is, as far as I know, the first slasher film that utilizes a killer disguised in a Santa suit which became so controversial with 1984's "Silent Night, Deadly Night."

After a dream-like, and silly opening scene, (some sorority girls accidentally kill one of their sisters in a childish game of tag) the film deals with a spooky sorority house where we meet up with very, very cardboard sorority sisters who we care nothing about who are staying at their house for Christmas break. A group of their boyfriends show up in an airplane (???) to spend the weekend with them. Well, before we can say, 'have yourself a Merry little Christmas' they teens begin getting murdered one by one by a killer in a killer Santa suit who uses such weapons as an axe, a bow and arrow, a piece of thin wire, and the airplane propellars. The main problem with this film is that it lacks any direction or characterization. We meet a character, and 2 second later, they are dead. The lighting is horrible and makes it nearly impossible to know what is going on in many parts of the film. The acting is god-awful, even from "Charles in Charge" star Jennifer Runyon. She is so whiney and downright annoying here that it is hard to have any feelings whatsoever for her. I guess the films only redeeming factors is the pacing and the murders, and the "twist" at the end when the killer is revealed. It's not as obvious as one might think who is behind the Santa costume. I would only recommend this to those people who don't expect Oscar-worthy efforts with EVERY film they watch...remember, this IS an early 80's slasher film. Keep that in mind and you may find this to be an interesting, if not slightly entertaining film. 4 out of 10
3 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
A Fun Little B-Movie Slasher from Krug
forecastfortoday22 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
David Hess, infamous for his terrifying character Krug from The Last House on the Left (1972), has gone from playing the rapist in a film, to making a film of his own. Unsurprisingly, the movie he made was a poorly acted, poorly lit, and violence filled slasher film. However, the film is definitely a favorite of mine. Despite how admittedly terrible the film is, it's B-Movie charm makes it worth watching.

At the Calvin Finishing school, several young coeds enjoy their winter break at their sorority house. They have drugged their house mother and snuck their boyfriends into the house to have a little fun. But little do they know, a murderer dressed as Santa Claus is in the house with them, ready to invade their little party. After a night of party, sex, alcohol, and murder, one of the sorority girls, Nancy (Jennifer Runyon) stumbles upon a dead body, making her, and the rest of the group, aware that they are in for one hell of a night.

Like, I said before, this movie is doubtlessly a bad one, yet still I hold this movie close to my heart for several reasons. One of those reasons is the shocking twist at the end, where we find out the identity of the mysterious killer. Another reason is a FANTASTIC chase scene between the killer and Nancy (Who is cute and likable as the final girl), which is fast-paced and exciting to watch. The acting is not really very good, but it's not really TERRIBLE. Jennifer Runyon is really the only person who is truly worth mentioning in this movie, especially since she's probably the only person involved in the movie that ended up in other movies afterwards.

Overall, the movie is definitely something slasher lovers would enjoy. The movie is strange, funny, dark, (somewhat) creepy, gory, fast-paced, and overall just a fun movie to watch. I would recommend it for those boring nights alone when all you have is a beer, a bag of Doritos, a TV, and a VCR.
2 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
Krug Stillo's "stab" at directing...
Jonny_Numb7 October 2005
As far as slasher flicks that cast Santa Claus as a mad killer are concerned, this is a passable yet forgettable offering from actor David Hess (in his one and only directorial effort). One of the main problems, which detracts a lot from the tone and atmosphere, is the lack of snow–it would have complemented the killer's exploits perfectly, yet there's none to be found. Also irritating is the insufficient lighting during nighttime sequences, in which the action is sometimes impossible to make out. However, "To All a Good Night" is a cut above most derivative slashers, even though it starts out with the mandatory sex-obsessed sorority girls (plus one cute wallflower) and assembly-line violence, it gets progressively better as it goes along–creating an adequate atmosphere of dread and giving its surviving characters a bit of personality and humanity.
2 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
low on the red stuff
trashgang17 May 2011
To All A Goodnight has two reason to search for it, one, it's a slasher made when Friday the 13th was made and secondly, it was directed by David Hess most famous of Last House On The Left. It is in fact his only film he directed. But up to this writing it never had any proper release. It's only available on ex-rental NTSC VHS. Was it worth searching, well, it's low on gore or even blood. There are killings all through the movie but there are almost no effects so they used editing to shown the killings. Axes do go in heads and beheadings and stabbing take place but not as in the much acclaimed Friday The 13th made the same year. There is a bit too much blah blah in it to keep you attracted although all things to make it a slasher are available, some full frontal nudity with pubic hair, shower scene, first person shots of the killer but still, it do has his failures. If you watch with attention you will know who's the killer from the first minutes but luckily there are some surprises concerning the killer. Surely a low budget but being searched due David Hess and one of the earlier attempts of a slasher.
2 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
A slasher flick directed by everyone's favorite psycho that transcends bad.
Junkie-628 October 1998
David Hess (yep, the same brillo haired psycho you know and love) made his directorial debut with this downright bizarre slasher flick that transcends bad. Ol' Hess must have been blazing on coke and pot when he made this flick, because while it follows the formula of the ol' stalk n' slash (featuring the first Santa Clause killer, too) the college co-eds do and say some seriously surreal stuff: in a scene in which a couple of co-eds are about to get it on, the foreplay includes her dancing around the bed in a leotard with a tray of hors d'oeuvres! The plot is a rather blatant knock off of Friday the 13th with a Sorority house being stalked by a killer who is avenging the death of a loved one, killed years back in an initiation hazing (this scene is particularly amusing as the girls chase after the initiate screaming "sorority!" over and over until she is frightened by a girl wearing a Santa Clause mask and wielding a butcher knife causing her to plunge off a balcony to her death ten feet below). Some good gore FX courtesy of a young Mark Shostrum, but the real attraction is the surreal heights of badness that only a drug-addled first timer could create. Also of note: Hess' mother actually has a small role in the film and in the credits her character is listed as a "Mr. Ronsoni". If you love bad cinema this is a must see, if not, avoid it like the plague.
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
2/10
Worst slasher of all time
pumaye14 July 2002
I don't have enough words to say how terrible and how boring this slasher movie is. The movie try to get back to Christmas horror that have been made before with more taste, like Black Christmas. A sorority house where girls that looks more like thirty years old prostitutes than college coeds have organized a party for Christmas is invaded by a crazy killer masked like Santa Claus. After the worst series of murders in a slasher movie and after dialogues and love scenes that are really bad, the movie ends with a "surprise" ending that is too silly to be credible. Avoid like the plague
2 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
Lame and uninspired Ho-Ho-Horror
Coventry29 December 2014
Another year, another holiday-themed horror movie! Watching my annual holiday horror flick on Christmas day is my second favorite tradition, next to getting drunk on Jägermeister and argue with my siblings! This year I found in my Christmas stocking a movie that I've wanted to see for a long time, even though I always knew not to expect too much from it. "To All a Goodnight" holds quite a bit of cult-value, but that's almost solely linked to the fact that it is the one and only film directed by David Hess; the legendary infamous lead actor of exploitation classics such as "Autostop Rosso Sangre", "House on the Edge of the Park" and – particularly – "Last House on the Left". I don't know why Mr. Hess suddenly thought it would be a good idea to contribute something to the genre as a director, especially because his "To All a Goodnight" is extremely formulaic, dull and forgettable. You know the routine: a group of girls that don't return to their families for the Christmas period remain at their finishing school, sedate the landlady with sleeping pills and invite their horny boyfriends over for a wild night of jingle bells. Unfortunately for them, there's a maniacal killer dressed in a Santa Clause suit running loose on the premises. Could his rage perhaps have something to do with the fatal accident that occurred in the same finishing school one year earlier, when a poor young girl fell to her death during an initiation prank gone awry? My guess is yes… Working from a script from Alex "The Incredibly Melting Man" Rebar, Hess isn't too shy to insert literally every single slasher cliché that exists. The sorority setting and payback for a deadly prank are two examples of this, but also the presence of a suspicious and perverted looking gardener who always pops op out of nowhere, the surviving virgins and the dead phone lines are terribly overused clichés. Of course, on the other hand we also have to bear in mind that "To All a Goodnight" was released in 1980 already, and thus prior to the enormous slasher boom later that decade. Still, even for a low-budgeted film, the killings are disappointingly uninspired and bloodless. Due to the poor and dark photography, the murders are often even impossible to see! The final twist, as in the revelation of the killer's identity, is fairly obvious from early in the film, and it's not even that difficult to foresee who will survive the Christmas massacre. There isn't much to mention regarding the cast, neither, except maybe that one-time actress Linda Gentille has a ravishing body and that porn king Harry Reems ("Deep Throat", "Educating Mandy") makes a bizarrely insignificant cameo appearance as a private airplane pilot.
1 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed