Originally published in Bleeding Skull! A 1980s Trash-Horror Odyssey.
If this is college, I hereby revoke my degree.
Somewhere between the sexual melancholy of The Last American Virgin and the juicy ineptitude of The Last Slumber Party lies Girls Nite Out. Filmed in New Jersey and New York City by director Robert Deubel (who never helmed another film) and distributed by Sam Sherman’s Independent-International, this film flies the reject pennant high. Stand, salute, and revel in the glory. Discovering a slasher as bizarre as this one is like receiving a letter from your credit card company that says, “Hey, we goofed up. You actually don’t have to pay us anymore because you’re the best. Plus, here’s a check for 500K so you can buy a house and be free of your upstairs neighbor’s asshole dog.”
We’re at a small Midwestern college on the night of a sorority scavenger hunt. Characters come and go, but one thing’s for sure: everyone is either high, drunk, mentally challenged, or soon will be. Sinister rumors about Dickie Cavanaugh, a crazed student who lost his mind over a girl, abound. Basketball players hug each other in their underwear while sipping Jack Daniels and playing with bow and arrow sets. Nerds dance for their lives. English majors prepare for a no-win career in stand-up comedy. Soon enough, a killer dons the school’s mascot outfit, which is a puffy bear suit. He begins slicing off the scavenger hunters with a homemade claw. Actor Hal Holbrook, surely an inspiration for Joe Flaherty on Freaks And Geeks fifteen years later, sums it up nicely in his role as a security guard: “I had a daughter like that once. You know where she is now? SHE’S DEAD!”
Filled with caricatures and late 1960s bubblegum (s)hits, Girls Nite Out is the vignette-styled slasher that Robert Altman never made. Everything overlaps. Tangents emerge. Tons of righteous scumbags talk dirty, sleep with anything wearing pants, and treat each other poorly. The script (four writers strong) bounces all over the place, never explaining any one event thoroughly enough to draw sensible conclusions. So, we’re left to pick up the pieces on our own. Just think of the possibilities! Did the killer get the bear suit dry-cleaned after the messy twist ending? Was cocaine the culprit behind the jaw-dropping group photo scene? Do farts really serve as an aphrodisiac for ladies? In my version of the movie — yes, yes, and yes.