The Vegan Voorhees Pre-Halloween Horrorfest Part III

So Groupie was mediocre and The Collector depressed me – next it was on to A Night to Dismember, which I’d heard “things” about, the same way you “hear” “things” about Camp Crystal Lake. Well you would if it existed.

A NIGHT TO DISMEMBER

1.5 Stars  1983/69m

Director: Doris Wishman / Writer: Judith J. Kushner / Cast: Samantha Fox, Diane Cummins, Bill Szarka, Saul Meth, Miriam Meth, Frankie Sabat, Chris Smith.

Body Count: 15

Dire-logue: “Someone was calling her – the voice seemed to be coming from the hat box.”


According to the IMDb, according to director Doris Wishman – according to the DVD commentary, the main reason A Night to Dismember sucks harder than a Portsmouth hooker is that a disgruntled lab employee burnt most of the negatives, leaving Wishman to spend some years re-shooting and re-cutting the film into the 69 minute end product.

If you could ever get a headache on to celluloid than this is surely it. There is no original sound, it was all re-recorded and dubbed back on with the haywire plot strung together (or attempted to be) by a narration leaving next to no dialogue for the people on screen.

So the story goes, in October 1986 the Kent family pretty much all get murdered after daughter Vicki (Samantha Fox – no, not that Samantha Fox) is released from an asylum where she had been residing for the past five years after murdering two local boys. Her brother Billy hates her and tries to make her crazy by dressing up in cheapo masks and emerging from a lake to follow her like a zombie.

Some people die pretty much from being lightly tapped by either a machete or the preferred axe. At one juncture, a loving couple are slain with the former weapon, their decapitations seen as shadows against a wall, both are quite literally prodded by the blade and their heads just tumble off. Then, in the next shot, their killer places the featureless plastic head of a mannequin in a fireplace, which we are asked to believe is the noggin of the woman! It’s plain white! It has no hair! Later, a decapitated head actually gets stuck to the axe blade.

Narrator man – supposed to be a detective – babbles on and watches Vicki through a window:

– “Vicki saw me through the shades and started to dance. It had been a long time since any man had paid any attention to her.”

And then he tells us about Vicki’s dream:

– “Vicki felt as though someone faceless was making love to her in bright flashing colours that were changing from one second to the next.”

nighttodismemberSome other people are murdered and then Vicki’s immediate family members begin dying. Here, the actor playing Billy’s hair changes from shot to shot. And I mean changes. It’s a short back and sides one second and then flopping around his shoulders the next, clearly after at least a year’s growth.

The killer is revealed to be Mary shortly afterwards and she is almost immediately haunted by the ghosts of her murder victims. So she runs into the woods. Then into the cellar where she hears a voice coming from a hat box (see Dire-logue). Then she packs a case and leaves and murders a taxi driver. What was her motive? Fucked if I know!

So Vicki was innocent after all but ends up getting strangled by the detective when she starts tapping him with the axe in self defence. Things end with the narrator telling us he knew all the juicy details because the entire family kept diaries.

Wow. 69 minutes has never dragged as much but if you’re really hunting for bad, bad movies then drop anchor here, it’s truly unbelievable. Everything seems to have gone wrong: the music changes completely in a snap from sort of jazzy gameshow theme to tuneless stringy shrieks but almost never attuned to what’s supposed to be happening on screen; the effects work is horrible and the camera work all over the place. Considering the title is a play on A Night to Remember, you’d be hard pressed to ever forget this. Technically speaking the worst film I’ve ever seen but at least it wasn’t a completely uninteresting experience…

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