Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Friday, December 28, 2018


Katherine Herrington aka Kiva Lawrence
TO ALL A GOODNIGHT (1980). Director: David Hess.

It's Christmas break at the Calvin Finishing School for Girls, and some of those girls are up to mischief, inviting several boys to fly up in a private plane and join them for sexy hijinks. To this end they drug the den mother, Mrs. Jensen (Kiva Lawrence), so she'll have a good sleep. Unfortunately, a killer who often wears a Santa Claus outfit is on the loose, indiscriminately killing men and women alike with knives, axes, spear guns and the like.

Forrest Swanson and Judith Bridges
To All a Goodnight is clearly modeled on the original Friday the 13th, but whereas that film had atmosphere and some suspense, this has virtually none, despite the wonderful setting of an enormous estate. Director David Hess betrays no skill in crafting scary or dramatic sequences, and the murder scenes generally fall flat, although there's an interesting bit with a severed head being placed on a shower head. There are the usual stereotypes: the shy girl Nancy (Jennifer Runyon); the nerd, Alex (Forrest Swanson) who becomes attracted to her; the "personality plus" nympho, Lea (Judith Bridges, who arguably makes the best impression in the film)' etc. Trisha (Angela Bath), the British bad girl "slut", is also fun but is killed off too early in the flick.

Most of the cast members appeared in this film and nothing else. However, Jennifer Runyon went on to have an acting career, and after a twenty year gap during which she retired, started making low-budget horror films again. But the cast member with the most credits is "Dan Stryker," who was actually porn star Harry Reems, who plays a pilot and appears in two scenes. Not to be confused with The Dorm That Dripped Blood, which also has co-eds slaughtered during Christmas break. Hess had more credits as an actor than director.

Verdict: Watchable for slasher fans but not very good. **.


angelman66 said...

Will check this one out...I like Christmas themed horror films like Silent Night Deadly Night and The recent Krampus!
- C

William said...

Watch at your own risk, LOL!