It’s time for the annual all night scavenger hunt at Dewitt university. A psycho dressed as the bear mascot and armed with a fist full of steak knives is stalking the young ladies of Dewitt. It sounds like such a simple premise, but director Robert Deubel gives the viewer so much more than a slasher. Severe overacting, bad dialog, unlikable characters, and the lack of a central heroic figure turns a routine slasher into a garbled mess. I suppose a generous reviewer would call Deubel a maverick, braking new ground by throwing away most of the slasher formula. Unfortunately, Deubel threw away the parts that make slasher films great.
The first thirty minutes is more soap opera than slasher. Guys complain about their girlfriends, girls brag about screwing other guys. Far too much screen time is given to characters that vanish midway into the film. The middle section focuses on the killer stalking the girls while on the scavenger hunt. One can tell the hunt is a big event because there are five, count’em, five girls involved. The bear costume is sad, more Hooty the owl than scary bear. The third reel plays like a police procedural. Drag in the red herrings, ask them a question, then show flashbacks while they answer.
Hal Holbrook literally “phones” in his performance. He spends most of his screen time behind a desk clutching a receiver instead of patrolling the campus. His son, David Holbrook, plays red herring #3. David growls and stomps through his scenes. Lauren-Marie (Friday the 13th Part 2) Taylor is a welcome sight as one of the bad girls, but fans might cringe when she brags about having great sex with her cousin. Her line “It hurts when I sit down.” is one of the worst in the film.
Girls Nite Out does have a couple of good points. The soundtrack is golden oldies from the sixties. Tommy James and the Lovin Spoonful have some nice songs, but the songs don’t generate suspense when a killer in a silly bear outfit is stalking drunk or high cheerleaders. The only scenes of suspense involve the killer calling the campus radio station after each murder. The best part of the film is the appearance of Klaus Kinski and the Creature From The Black Lagoon on posters during a poker game.
Only the most die-hard slasher fan will enjoy Girls Nite Out. There is no nudity and no gore. The film is heavy on talk and bone dry on action. The annoying comic relief characters all live and the good girl never confronts the killer. She stayed in her room and locked her door, a first in the slasher genre. The killer’s identity is easy to figure out. Slow viewers, don’t worry, enough Psycho hints are dropped that you should be able to catch on quick. The film is dull, slow, and devoid of any likable characters. It doesn’t even qualify for “so-bad-it’s-good” status. Buy Girls Nite Out only if you’re trying to complete the set for Every Slasher Made in the Early 80’s.