GORE IN THE STORE
GIRLS NIGHT OUT ****
Directed by Robert Deubel.
Starring Julia Montgomery, Rutanya Alda, James Carroll, Hal Holbrook, Lauren-Marie Taylor, Al McGuire.
Horror, USA, 97 mins.
Released in the UK on Blu-ray via Arrow Video on 16th May 2022.
You have to ask where Arrow Video keep finding these obscure ‘80s slasher movies, as just when you think there couldn’t possibly be any more to exhume from the vaults they come up with another cleverly costumed killer with a grudge to give a new lease of life to via the miracle of Blu-ray.
In the case of GIRLS NITE OUT the killer in question wears a bear costume; not a real-looking bear, but a mascot for the college basketball team where said killer is going to claim their victims. And this college campus is bursting with randy (alleged) teenagers taking part in an all-night scavenger hunt, so the drink and the hormones are flowing and nobody notices that the school sports mascot has a handmade set of Wolverine-style knives sticking through its fingers. Once they do notice the bodies start piling up, but who is the mystery killer?
The biggest problem with GIRLS NITE OUT is that it is so very average. It isn’t so terrible that you laugh at the total nonsense of it all but it isn’t so good that you could repeatedly watch it like you would with the better HALLOWEEN or FRIDAY THE 13TH movies. It ticks a lot of the boxes for ‘80s slasher movies without ever daring to think outside of any of them, casting a bunch of what looks like thirty-somethings to play college kids, add in a few stereotypes – jocks, clowns, the weirdo, the prom queen type, etc. – and a bit of admittedly decent gore (but not a lot of nudity) and GIRLS NITE OUT hits all of those familiar beats but doesn’t improve on any of them, except for possibly the soundtrack, which features a few well-known hits from the ‘60s.
For this release Arrow have constructed a 2K restoration from various surviving sources, and whilst it is never going to look pristine the grain and richer colours do provide the authentic ‘80s slasher viewing experience, with only a few pops and marks on the film here and there that, if anything, just add to the grimy(ish) feel. For extras there are numerous cast and crew interviews if such things take your fancy, but the best of the bunch is a brand new audio commentary from genre film critic/author Justin Kerswell and film historian/author Amanda Reyes, whose knowledgeable insights certainly enhance and improve the movie. If you buy direct from Arrow there is also a limited edition version featuring the movie’s original title of THE SCAREMAKER, just to add to the collectability.
Featuring appearances from familiar genre faces Hal Holbrook (CREEPSHOW), Julia Montgomery (THE KINDRED) and Rutanya Alda (AMITYVILLE II: THE POSSESSION), GIRLS NITE OUT sits firmly in the middle of the slasher output from the early 1980s, being neither bad nor especially good. Collector’s may wish to purchase the limited edition, connoisseurs may simply want to own an HD version of a 40-year-old slasher, but ultimately it comes down to how often would you really want to put this movie on when you could be revisiting more satisfying slasher locations like Camp Crystal Lake, Haddonfield or Elm Street, and despite it being fairly fun whilst it is playing, repeated viewings and heavy post-viewing discussions or analysis are highly unlikely.