The reason for this is a conflict of interests that rarely compromise with each other. On one end, we have low budgeted movies that try to bring us back to the golden age of horror(circa the 1970s and 1980s) with their gritty kill-shots, fountains of blood, and enough bare breasts to make Hugh Hefner blush. On the other end we have high-gloss production houses putting out cookie-cutter horror stories, many with the dreaded PG-13 stamp.
With the release of Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet, we are given the best of both worlds; a movie made by fans (in horror aficionado/director Frank Sabatella), for fans, and with a dynamic production value to capture the guts, glory, and breasts, of the film for a stellar visual effect.
The story is as follows: A young girl named Mary Mattock (played by Patricia Raven) butchers her family for no apparent reason. We later learn that this is due to a physiological problem called Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder which makes PMS look like a walk in the park. The young woman (now played by Samantha Facchi) is sent to the King’s Park Psychiatric Hospital, where she is raped by a hospital night-guard. She becomes pregnant, but loses the baby in child-birth. This brings on another intense bout of MDD in which she slaughters what seems to be all staff and patients at the hospital, and is gunned down by police.
The story brings us to the present, where high school kids celebrate that night of butchery by calling it Blood Night, and proceeding to paint the town red in a night of vandalism and excessive partying. The movie focuses on one group of kids, who decide to visit Mary Mattock, or as she is now known as Mary Hatchet, at her grave, and unknowingly release the ghost to wreck vengeance once again. One by one, the group is dispatched in various, high impact slaughterings, as they try to lay the spirit to rest.
Sounds simple? It’s not, but who am I to ruin it for you?
This movie lacks in nothing for entertainment. The kill-shots are highly detailed, thanks to the superb special effects of Monster in My Closet special effects artist Jeremy Selenfriend and Harrington Talents virtual effects artist John Morena. Dismemberments, spinal readjustments, and blood washes all become intensely realistic by utilizing Selenfriend’s definitive prop functions, from custom sculpted heads(and brains) to mouth interiors. To make sure these effects lack nothing on-screen, Morena utilized digital enhancements to help make the kill-shots pop off the screen with the addition of blood enhancements that were shot separately, and then transcribed into the final edit. With these talented artists and the fantastic camera-work, the film popped off the screen, much to the glee of fans of gore.
There is humor interlaced into the horror, as well. Graveyard Gus (played by Bill Moseley) is nothing short of the drunken graveyard-keeper who drinks way too much whiskey and yaps about Vietnam. A conversation about Tom Jones between Alex (played by Nate Dushku) and Chris (played by Anthony Marks) had me giggling out loud. A male virgin wiping his brow with a pink, “Princess” pillow while getting frisky with a hot chick? This movie has it. The comedy is just enough to help the viewer fall into the comfort trap before being shown a decapitated head flying across a room. By balancing these bits of comedy into the horror, the bar of suspense is raised, because you never become too jaded by seeing an overflow of gore. Not that either way would be bad, but for Blood Night, comic relief makes the suspense grow. And lets not forget Eric (played by Billy Magnussen), who is the pinnacle of every sex-crazed high school guy we’ve ever known.
What’s amazing is that all of these actors and actresses are able to turn their clown routines off when director Frank Sabatella calls for it, with great results of suspense. Let us not forget that scream-princess Danielle Harris, playing her part impeccably in the storyline as the knee-socked Alyssa, who can never seem to hold her liquor and brings back some intense stories of her time in school.
So what defines this movie beyond all others? High production, an extremely gifted cast, and intense kill-shots, all embedded into a suspenseful story-line where even if you think you know what is going on, you really don’t. At the same time it’s just good, head-jerking fun, a horror movie with serious overtones, but doesn’t take itself too seriously. Think Wes Craven’s Scream meets Lucio Fulci’s The House By the Cemetery, and out of that seemingly scandalous affair comes its offspring, Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet.
All in all, I give this movie 4-1/2 out of 5 bloody hatchets. Yeah, not the most creative grading prop. Kill me. Wait, don’t…