Night Killer (1990) Poster


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Beyond obscure and inane and awesome
BandSAboutMovies29 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Say what you will about Claudio Fragrasso. From the films he co-wrote with his Rossella Drudi for Bruno Mattei, like Robowar, Zombi 3, Rats: Night of Terror and Shocking Dark to the films he's either co-directed or directed, such as Scalps, Troll 2 and Beyond Darkness, he's created films that you can see as inept and strange films created by someone who has no understanding of how human beings think, act or speak. Or you can see it my way - they are works of pure genius, the fruits of a demented mind that doesn't need to be grounded by such concerns as budget, traditional storytelling or common sense.

Fragasso saw this as a tense psychological thriller with little to no gore and the original cut of the film resembled his vision. However, the producers wanted more violence, so they brought in Bruno Mattei to add the gore. Those very same producers also retitled the film Non Aprite Quella Porta 3 (Don't Open the Door 3) so that it would appear to be another film in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series (yep, this is getting into La Casa/Demons territory).

Within the first eight minutes of this movie, we've seen nudity, aerobics dancing on stage while a director has a near meltdown of amateur acting proportions, the killer disembowered two women and the director falling off a balcony to her death, all set to some of the most chipper synth turns you've ever heard. Buckle up - this movie gets even weirder from here.

This movie is utterly confounding. This is why traditional movies end up boring me, because they make too much sense. If you're looking for narrative jumps that leap into orbit, if you're seeking out the unhinged, if you have ever wanted to watch a movie that goes from Elm Street to giallo to pre-Seven box related ending five years before that film was released and if you watched Troll 2 and said, "But what if the same people made a movie that makes even less sense?", please consider this a strong recommendation.
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Freddy Krueger-inspired homicidal maniac.
HumanoidOfFlesh6 March 2015
Claudio Fragasso's "Night Killer" features masked Freddy Krueger-inspired serial killer who murders women with a glove with finger blades.Melanie Beck is the only surviving victim of this homicidal maniac,but she suffers from amnesia and is suicidal.She tries to kill herself on the beach but is saved by mysterious man named Alex who may be Night Killer."Night Killer" is obviously inspired by Italian gialli and American slasher movies like "Halloween" or "Nightmare on Elm Street" series.There is gore and nudity plus some jaw-droppingly absurd plot twists that almost made my head spin.I enjoyed "Night Killer" even more than infamous Claudio Fragasso's "Troll 2".6 deadly gloves out of 10.
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Damn, what could have been!
udar5526 July 2009
Melanie Beck (Linda Hamilton look-a-like Tara Buckman) is the only surviving victim of a killer-rapist who wears a Freddy Kruger-esquire mask and claw. Despite having seen the killer's face, Beck has blocked it from her memory. Becoming suicidal, she tries to kill herself on the beach but is saved by Axel (Peter Hooten), another rapist sleazeball who keeps her locked in his hotel room. All this builds to a mind blowing conclusion that actually has a pretty clever and dark twist. I had higher hopes when I saw this billed as an "ELM STREET ripoff directed by Claudio Fragasso." Sadly, this is no TROLL 2 or ZOMBIE 4. The film is pretty ordinary for the genre and features the requisite gore and nudity. To its credit, it might be the only non-porn film in history to feature the "Little Red Riding Hood" inspired line, "Oh, grandma, what a big schlong you have!" The real surprise here for me is that this was filmed about 45 minutes from me in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, VA in 1989. Sadly, I wasn't living here at the time, but it is comforting to know that Fragasso and I have walked the same streets.
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Obscure Italian horror
christopher-underwood28 February 2015
This obscure Italian horror (my copy has Portuguese subtitles embedded!) has an appalling start with a group of late eighties dancers jerking about to just as appalling music, whilst the slasher style violence and nudity commences. It recovers, however, despite the low budget and average acting and whilst it becomes rather confusing, we never loose interest and in the end the film wins out. Much is mundane and predictable but the central performance is very good and there are impressive scenes including a sexy take on Red Riding Hood and a most enthusiastic, tying to the bed, sequence. As I say from the beginning you will wonder if this is worth sticking with but gladly it is and there are some decent twists along with the occasional hysterics.
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From the GENIUS who brought us "Troll 2"
Coventry11 January 2019
The day Claudio Fragasso (or Clyde Anderson, as he prefers to call himself) dies and arrives at the gates to confront Saint Peter for the trial whether he belongs in heaven or hell, I strongly advise him to plead "temporary insanity" for the year 1990! I don't know what Fragasso smoked back then, but it must have been great stuff! How else would you explain the fact that he spawned both "Troll 2" and this "Night Killer" in in and the same magical year? These two films are extremely different in terms of content and atmosphere, but both are incredibly awful yet wondrously absurd and insanely entertaining. "Troll 2" is legendary trash-heritage and world-famous, whereas "Night Killer" is obscure and unknown. Undeservedly so, I must emphasize, as this utterly bonkers horror oddity should urgently be discovered by all fans of slasher movies, rape & revenge thrillers, gialli and bizarre cult films in general!

You know that indescribably joyous feeling you experience when watching something truly bad and amateurish, but simultaneously so much fun? Well, "Night Killer" guarantees this feeling from start to finish! According to notes in the trivia-section and some random interviews I read on the internet, Fragasso initially intended for this film to be a psychological thriller without gore, but behind his back the producers instructed Bruno Mattei to shoot an additional load of nasty and sleaze-laden sequences. Personally, I think this is a bunch of nonsense. Fragasso is simply incapable to pen down a serious psychological thriller and, besides, he and Mattei have been best friends and business partners since the late 70s already, so I find it difficult to believe Mattei would "betray" his buddy Fragasso like this. "Night Killer" is indeed unstructured, clumsily edited and totally senseless, but that's just the regular way these two geniuses work together. Pure entertainment is what matters, and "Night Killer" delivers.

The film opens marvelously, with 2 random beauties in standard 80s aerobic outfits savagely getting slaughtered during their dance rehearsal by a maniac in a monstrous mask and a glove with sharp claws. You'll read in other reviews that the killer's mask resembles Freddy Krueger's face, but the people who wrote that should urgently re-watch the entire "Nightmare on Elm Street" series. The mask looks like an ugly demon's face, mutilated by a flamethrower and then resurrected again. The claws on the glove are clearly made of rubber, and yet the maniac manages to bore holes through women's stomachs with them! The script then suddenly seems to realize the 1980s are over, so the action moves away from the dance academy. Our sick killer subsequently targets beautiful single mother Melanie Beck, and stalks her with obscene phone calls before perpetrating into her house. Maybe, just maybe, Melanie is a logical choice because she fondles her naked breasts while talking to herself in the mirror. He attacks and viciously rapes Melanie, but she survives the attack and enters in a state of shock and complete amnesia. Melanie escapes from the hospital and attempts to commit suicide, but the poor thing runs into a crazed madman again and he holds her captive in a sleazy motel room. The film then insists that we believe Melanie's new kidnapper, Axel, is the same person as the ugly mask murderer, and meanwhile he also cheerfully continues to slay other women, like a prostitute with whom he enacts a perverted Little Red Riding Hood role-play! If you think "Night Killer" can't possibly get any more jaw-droppingly absurd or delirious, just wait until you witness the completely deranged denouement!

But now for the hardest part of this review. How to possibly rate this fantastic piece of rubbish? In terms of sheer entertainment, I'm honestly tempted to reward "Night Killer" with a perfect 10/10, simply because I was rejoiced from start to finish and even watched some key sequences several times because I couldn't believe my eyes the first time. Other arguments for a high rating are the fast pacing, the copious amounts of reasonably decent make-up effects and the truckload of bloodshed and perversion. A massive score is also quite misleading, of course, because "Night Killer" inarguably remains pure trash with terrible acting and lousy scripting. Still, I had a tremendous great time and I give it 8/10. Finally, one last example of unscrupulous and typically Italian horror marketing. The "official" title of the film is "Non aprite quella porta 3", which literally translates as "Don't Open That Door 3". It's the local title under which the horror classic "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" got released in 1974, and thus they wanted everybody to think this was a sequel. Never mind the fact there isn't a chainsaw in sight, and the producers also didn't take into consideration that the actual "Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part III" also came out later that same year, in 1990.
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Obscure - but not in a good way..
homecoming817 July 2019
This Giallo Slasher from Italy is rather unknown, even for fans of the genre. The plot is simple with a lot of scenes that make no sense at all. Leading actress Tara Buckman is best known for her small part in the classic "Silent Night Deadly Night" and she also starred in the awful "Xtro II: The Second Encounter". The rest of the cast in unknown but not bad. That cannot be said when it comes to the dialogue which is painfully bad and laughable.

There is some nudity and there is a scene in the beginning where Buckman goes topless for no reason at all. The scene makes no sense and it that same scene her sweater is miraculously on and off her shoulders during different takes. Talking about some bad editing.. you have to see it to believe it.

There is no tension or any scares. The gore is limited and fake, apparently is was added later and it shows. The effects are bad, certainly considering that this was made in 1990. the "Friday the 13th" films did it so much better a decade earlier. The killer has claws on his hand and it is obvious that they're made of rubber and couldn't even cut through butter. But somehow he's able to slit a woman's throat and ram it right through your body. That last (poor) effect was considered effectively enough by the makers to repeat it again and again..

For a Giallo (whodunnit) picture, "Night Killer" also fails miserably. You can pinpoint the killer from the moment he's introduced. When another (obvious) suspect appears you know not to fall for it.

I've been watching Horror and particulary Slasher films since the '80's and I had never heard of this one. But now I know why because it's hardly worth your time. For die hard fans of the genre only but don't get your hopes up because "Night Killer" has not much to offer.
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kirbylee70-599-52617915 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
As the horror genre gave way from creatures to masked murderers stalking their prey theaters were inundated with various interpretations of this style of killer. By 1990 camp counselors were not being attacked as often, dreams were being invaded less often and the giallo was for the most part considered old hat. But a few films were still being made that would play in grindhouses and fill the shelves of the video stores that remained. Among them was NIGHT KILLER.

At a rehearsal for a group of dancers a masked stranger murders one of the girls involved, shoving a pointy fingered gloved hand through her abdomen. When her instructor goes to check on her she too is attacked. These are just the first victims of this odd killer.

Another potential victim is Melanie Beck (Tara Buckman), working at home after she sends her daughter to school. Beck survives the attack on the physical end but not the psychological. A single mother whose husband hasn't been seen since their divorce, her daughter goes with friends to be taken care of while she recuperates.

Instead she gets more depressed and wanders alone to the beach where she attempts to kill herself with pills. She's saved by a man whose been stalking her named Axel (Peter Hooten) who takes her to his hotel room. While watching you're not quite sure whether she's stepped out of the frying pan and into the fire or if he could be her last hope. Could this stalker be the killer?

More murders take place and the list of suspects is present for almost everyone but Beck. Thrown into massive shock by the attack she can't recall anything that took place. With no suspect, no description and no clues the police don't have much to go on. But Axel pushes Beck in an attempt to force her to remember. Will she do so? Will she be able to identify the killer or will he return to finish the job?

While the movie is entertaining in the right places and stupid in others if you don't see what's coming before the end then you've not seen many movies like this. Still, it does provide some decent acting, some terrible acting and is well crafted when it comes to the making of the film. The mask and glove may remind you of someone else (cough cough FREDDY cough cough), they don't do that character justice but still come off okay.

My biggest thought while watching the film was what ever became of Peter Hooten? This was the first person to portray Dr. Strange in a TV movie, made ORCA with Richard Harris and Bo Derek and was in the original INGLORIOUS BASTARDS. He seems to have disappeared though.

Severin has brought the film back and as with many of their releases has strived to make it look as presentable as possible, doing their usual excellent job with a version scanned in 4k from the original negative. Few extras are on hand but most likely due to the lack of items made when the film was released. What we do have is The Virginia Claw Massacre an interview with director Claudio Fargasso, an interview with screenwriter Rossella Drudi and the trailer for the film.

Horror fans will want to add this to their growing collections already fueled by previous films Severin has released. Movie fans will want to give it a watch since it does a decent job of offering a solid horror film.
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It's Fragrasso and Mattei: that's all you need to know.
BA_Harrison13 July 2019
Directors Claudio Fragrasso and Bruno Mattei, the men responsible for such Italian trash classics as Troll 2 and Rats: Night of Terror, have done it again! And by that, I mean that Night Killer is another godawful piece of low-rent horror garbage so bad that it has to be seen to be believed.

In the film's pre-credits sequence, a killer in a demonic rubber mask (that looks nothing like Freddy Krueger, despite what it says on IMDb) and armed with a rubber glove with long talons, kills a dancer and her director, punching holes through their abdomens.

Following the credits, we meet mother Melanie Beck (Tara Buckman) who, moments after sending her daughter to stay with friends, slips down her sweater and fondles her bare breasts in the mirror. Unfortunately for Melanie, the masked killer who has been raping and killing local women, also has her in his sights; breaking into her home, he subjects her to an eight hour ordeal, which she narrowly survives when the killer is interrupted. The only problem is, Melanie's trauma has resulted in a complete loss of memory, meaning that she cannot identify her attacker.

Discharged from hospital, Melanie is subsequently pestered by a mysterious man while on her way to commit suicide at the beach. The stranger saves her life, but proceeds to keep her captive at a motel, submitting her to another terrifying experience. Is this man the same psycho who attacked her in her home? You'll have to wait till the end of the movie to find out, suffice to say that Fragrasso and Mattei have one hell of a silly revelation up their sleeves for the finalé.

Sadly, as nutty as it all is, Night Killer is also rather tedious, despite plenty of nudity and some hokey gore. The direction is ham-fisted (no surprises there), the dialogue is terrible (no surprises here either), the acting is awful (ditto), and the plot often perplexing (Why does the killer have an art studio full of really bad drawings? How does he manage to punch through someone's body? Why is the policeman's phone held together with Sellotape? What's with the Christmas gift for Clarissa?). I don't know how they do it, but Fragrasso and Mattei manage to botch things up at almost every turn, yet still avoid making their film 'so bad, it's good'. It's just plain bad.
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