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Review: A Night To Dismember (1983)

Reviewer: Christopher Youngblood


Well I decided it was time to write another review for "Retro Slashers" and I began my quest for an older slasher film to review. I settled upon an old film called "A Night To Dismember". Intrigued by the title I decided to give the film a look and share my findings with you fine folks who visit this site. The 80's brought upon some of the finest slasher films ever made and well...some of the not so finest slasher films ever made. This title would fall into the ladder of the two. Although this film was an atrocious mess, I was able to find some mild amusement from the film.

The films plot focuses on "The Kent Family". A wealthy family residing in upstate New York with several grown children. One night in October the eldest of the children Vicki goes on a murderous rampage butchering two of her siblings. Her parents send her to a mental institution where she remains for 5 years. After her stay in the hospital, her doctors deem her sane and able to return to society. Vicki's younger brother and sister are not happy of the homecoming of their sister and decide to take it upon themselves to get Vicki sent back to the hospital. The brother and sister were fearful that their parents would be showering her with the all the attention and ignoring them as the younger brother and sister became accustomed to the parents doting on them in their older sister's absence. The brother and sister hatch a plan to make Vicki think that she is still sick and then her parents would have no choice to send her back to the hospital. So begins their plot when a hatchet wielding maniac shows up to reign on their parade. As members of the family begin to show up dead, the others begin wondering if Vicki is up to her old tricks again or if someone or some people have decided to finish off what Vicki started five years earlier.

Alright let's get down to the nitty gritty of this film. I would be shocked if this film production had a larger budget of more than $40.00! That is not always a bad thing as lower budget movies can be very well done ie; George Romero's "Night Of The Living Dead". The film sported a wide variety of music that ranged from "Leave It To Beaver" style music to "Love Boat" music with some 70's disco thrown in. The music is constant through out the film and it appeared all of the talking was looped into the film after filming had completed. One of the things that I enjoyed about this movie were some of the death scenes. As cheesy as they were, some of them were very unique and it appeared a large part of that $40.00 budget that I was speaking of went into the effects of this film. The blood looked totally fake but some of the gore was actually decent. There were some funny parts like when the killer decapitated someone's head and had to throw the hatchet around to get the head to dislodge. It even appeared that some of the effects could have been done by a "just starting out" Tom Savini. However Tom Savini had nothing to do with this film.

As I mentioned earlier it appears all of the voice work was looped in at a later time and the editing of this film was horrible! As I was watching this film I remember telling myself that I could have done a better job editing this film. Low and behold though, there was a reason why the editing was so bad. As I do when ever I write a review for this site, I first watch the film and then do as much research on the film as possible so that a comprehensive review can be written. There was not that much information on this film out there, but I was able to locate some. Apparently this film was filmed in 1979 then was shelved by the production company who financed the film. The company that held the rights to the film then went out of business and thus the negatives were lost. The director was able to salvage some of the original film that was shot and had to re-write the script around the original footage that remained. Then some reshoots were done and the film was thrown together and released in the height of the slasher frenzy of the 1980's.

I am unsure if this film had a theatrical run in Drive-In's or went straight to video but the film has found a bit a cult audience. The acting was bad, the music was cheesy, the direction was horrible and the editing even worse! However some of the death scenes were memorable this film is not the worst of the 80's slasher films that arrived in the 80's. If you want to sit back and watch some cheesy horror at it's best than this film should be considered. Just don't take it to seriously.



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