Let’s get right to the point. Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet is 80 minutes of brutal murders of senseless teens, served up amidst a slimy mound of blood and guts and decapitated heads and tits and sex, wrapped in a familiar urban legend that a lot of us have – like the Ouija board – played with before. In a brutal opening segment in the Kings Park Psychiatric Facility that is easily one of the most insane and guiltily satisfying carnages witnessed in the first 15 minutes of a film – Mary Hatchet is raped by an orderly and gives birth nine months later, only to have her baby taken away by the hospital. This, along with a menstrual disorder, sends Mary into a psychotic tailspin – inspiring her to kill the entire hospital shift’s staff before finally being put down by bullets via our local hero police officers. All 100% nude. Enter now Samantha Facchi, forever into my cranial horror hall of fame.
After being force-fed more tits and ass and rape and bloody death than most horror films contain from start to finish, we enter story mode, where we are given background to this film’s Long Island Bloody Mary legend via some cameos by Bill Moseley, and his interaction with some immature, giddy school kids that are ready to celebrate Blood Night – offered to us, the viewing audience, as the lineup of victims for the next 60 minutes. Party, party, party – kill, kill, kill. We know the slasher scenario to a “T”. But how does Blood Night differ from others under the same moniker?
Blood Night professes to be a throwback to the 80’s slasher film. Younger people are generally misconceived about the 1980’s. Girls didn’t dress like Cyndi Lauper, and slasher film horror was NOT popular. It was considered pornographic violence and initiated a censorship check system like no other time in film I can remember. Renting them from video stores was a personal scavenger hunt you went upon on your own, as you were probably the only one in your town that owned a Fangoria magazine to pinpoint the bloodiest of titles. Blockbuster had not yet been born, and the internet was pre-fetus – it was not so easy to find gore and brutal killers.
Furthermore, if you were to take any slasher film from the 80’s – anything from Maniac to Madman to the legendary Friday the 13th – and put it out today as it was then, it wouldn’t make the big screen, it would go direct-to-disc, and it would be verbally be ripped a new asshole the moment screeners reached the critical public. They were rated anywhere from no stars to one star max in newspapers – they contained severely sedating amounts of meaningless plot and character personification, had 6th grade scripting across the board, and clock chunks of minutes between bloody gratifications – in some cases, an entire 60 minutes before the gore explosion. So when you hear people trash Blood Night or any other “slasher” film for the relentless partying and immature jokes and general meandering after the opening credits – what are you complaining about? This is what it’s always been – and this is what you undoubtedly get from Mary Hatchet.
Once the party enters full swing, and your eye-candy Danielle Harris arrives to tell a dirty little pussy joke, you’re on your way, and the heads begin to roll. MonsterInMyClosetFX’s Jeremy Selenfriend reawakens your sleeping Savini genes with some amazing and violently bloody special effects – scissors and hatchets and skulls and arteries, severed and indulged upon brutally right before our eyes. The scene when Anthony Marks bloody brain slithers out from between his axed-open face is stuff of legend. It had fearfully occurred to me once, coming out of the 1990’s, that we might never be graced with the type of grindhouse gore and limbs of the 70’s and 80’s ever again due to growing censorship. Thanks to the digital age of the strong direct-to-disc market – we are chin deep in blood and body parts once again post 9/11. Selenfriend delivers the crimson destruction as good as anyone I’ve seen on the big screen, once again.
First time director Frank Sabatella makes Blood Night very engaging for the viewer. Generally fun and easy on the eyes. Delivering laughs, ample sex and what you want from a slasher, Sabatella really nailed an opening prologue you’ll want to watch over and over again for the sex and gore fiend within, letting up slack on the script and editorial pacing, but filling in the fallacies with an eye for cinematographic style. With his roots grown from an image-driven background, this is noticeable and commendable, and adds to what makes Blood Night a positive experience overall.
Of course, having run the slasher gamut, Blood Night comes with its share of cons that make it a little uncomfortable to swallow. If you’re over the age of 25, you’ve probably seen it all many times before in slightly different shapes and sizes. Stupid young kids, schoolbus caliber pranks, and dweeby hometown partygoers do not drive an imagination or screenplay – so there’s really no fear factor pressing here – just delicious horror eye candy and carnage. But who’s complaining? There are up around 20 kills in this film – most with headless stumps to match – but once the first fifteen minutes are up it does slow down to a “teenage” crawl until the climactic onslaught – but its an 80’s slasher film. How can anyone be surprised or critical of this? You know exactly what you’re getting into. And it delivers exactly that.
Final analysis: Blood Night – The Legend of Mary Hatchet puts a dose of steroids into the typical 1980’s slasher, vamping it up with head severing kills executed to bloody, visual perfection, all while firming the story with an urban legend strengthened by Sabatella and crew, providing a firm backbone for the meat and veins to dangle from. That’s all you need for a good slasher film – a merciless killer, gore drenched death, and some characters to off. This is how it was done in the 80’s – this is how its being done here. If you dig Friday the 13th and other cast extinction films – add a couple of skulls to the rating. If you’re looking for psychological horror, acted without sin and written novelist caliber, take a couple off. Familiar? Blood Night pulls no punches and gives you exactly what you should expect from this sub of the genre.
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