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Happy Hell Night (1992)

25 years ago at Winfield College, psycho-priest Zachary Malius murdered seven frat boys and was put away in the local asylum. Now, however, the same fraternity stages a prank from which ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Larry Robinson ...
Orderly
Lisa Nichols ...
...
Irfan Mensur ...
Young Father Cane
Charles Cragin ...
Elvis Restaino ...
Jake (as Robert Restraino)
Melissa Blanchard ...
Campus Girl
Jeffrey Miller ...
Ralph
Dennis Gallant ...
Man in Bar
Laura Carney ...
Liz
Kate Delay ...
Susan
...
Eric
Scott Bell ...
Pete
Johnny Askwith ...
Bartender
Ted Clark ...
Ned Bara
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Storyline

25 years ago at Winfield College, psycho-priest Zachary Malius murdered seven frat boys and was put away in the local asylum. Now, however, the same fraternity stages a prank from which Malius is inadvertently set free and returns to the house to repeat his crime... Written by Chrys Hudson <hudson103@hotmail.com>

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Tonight The Party Animals Of Phi Delta Kappa Will Raise More Than Hell! See more »


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13 April 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Frat Fright  »

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Did You Know?

Quotes

Kappa Sig Girl: [on note she wrote to Eric] You didn't get laid, but you definetly got screwed. Kappa Sig.
Kappa Sig Girl: [to mirror] If I'm not here when you get back, feel free to start without me.
[smiles]
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Features Busted Up (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Nineties slasher oddity boasts genuine atmosphere and a superb killer
27 November 2014 | by See all my reviews

"Happy Hell Night" has a college fraternity raising hell on Halloween by convincing its pledges to break into an insane asylum and photograph a killer priest who has been locked away, motionless and static in his cell, after being involved in a Satanic ritual in a mausoleum twenty five years ago that left a group of university students dead.

Sound like the eighties? You bet. But it's not. "Happy Hell Night" is a definite misfit as far as slasher films go— not in content, but rather in that it made its blip on the radar when the slasher genre was far past its death rattle. It's one of the few, if only films of its type to appear in the early nineteen nineties, arriving to the party post-eighties slasher craze, but pre-nineties slasher revival (ala "Scream" and "I Know What You Did Last Summer"), so it kind of fell through the cracks without any bandwagon to grab onto. For that reason alone, it's something of a relic.

The film boasts a typical slasher storyline, with college kids inadvertently releasing a maniacal killer, but has enough of a spin on itself that it, at the very least, is consistently entertaining. As many have noted, the film's antagonist, Zachary Malius, is exceptionally scary; a bald, pale, black eyed demon-possessed killer who evokes Nosferatu, minus the ears. Sitting still in a thicket of cobwebs for two and a half decades, not moving an inch; simply waiting for the right time.

A series of subplots involving the college students who unleash him (including a love triangle between two brothers, family drama around a brother's commitment to pledging, and the history behind Malius' origin) swirl around in the film but are never cohesively tied together. In the third act the murders begin to kick in high gear, and there are some outstandingly creepy scenes. One of the charming things about it is that the film boasts some solid special effects akin to the early nineties, yet the film overall very much feels like a product of the early eighties— another rather beneficial idiosyncrasy the film carries.

Editing is perhaps the film's biggest weak point; it's sloppily edited, to put it nicely, but it's also decently photographed, with the camera capturing the atmospheric Gothic surroundings and eerie chill of the fall night.

To my surprise, I felt like the acting in the film wasn't half bad, despite what many other reviews have said. It's not remarkable by any means, but by slasher standards? Come on, people. The big names here include Darren McGavin as the brothers' father who took part in the ritual in 1965, with Sam Rockwell making a very brief appearance as a younger version of McGavin. Jorja Fox also appears in the film as a New England sorority girl who has one of the best and scariest scenes in the film. And Charles Cragin is downright chilling as the undead Malius, even with his hokey one-liners.

While things come crashing down rather lackadaisically in the film's finale, it ends on a fun note and somehow left me with a feeling of satisfaction. If you're a fan of eighties slashers, "Happy Hell Night" is a definite nineties oddity that is worth checking out. The villain is superb and genuinely scary, and the film boasts an effective "campus Gothic" atmosphere. It is not masterclass, nor is it particularly well directed, but it's a real treat for all of us who enjoy these things. 8/10.


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