The Red Devil
Director: Frank Sabatella / Writers: Elke Blani & Frank Sabatella / Cast: Bill Moseley, Danielle Harris, Nate Dushku, Samantha Facchi, Anthony Marks, Billy Magnussen, Alissa Dean, Mayam Basir, Samantha Hahn, Michael Wartella, Russell Lewis, Rich Ceraulo.
Body Count: 21 (give or take)
Dire-logue: “There’s a bond between mother and child that should never be broken. Some say that’s why the evil lives on.”
1978: Mary Mattock is a little girl who goes mad and kills her folks with scissors and an axe. She’s carted off to the psyche ward and, in ’89, gets raped by an orderly, gives birth and is told that child was stillborn. Mary loses it again and attacks the hospital staff, killing an unspecified number, before being shot dead by the cops. Why does she do all this? This chick has premenstrual dysphoria – when she’s surfing the crimson wave, we all gotta suffer! I’ve survived 32 years without really knowing what periods are but they look kinda…icky. I’m not really that surprised they’d drive Mary to kill.
…Plus she wants her baby back.
The legend of ‘Mary Hatchet’ becomes part of local folklore and the youth of the obligatory small town where it all happened celebrate ‘Blood Night’ in a Halloween-lite sorta way: pranks, parties and horror flicks galore. We’re soon introduced to the gaggle of high schoolers who’ll throw a party and suffer the wrath of Mary Mattock – twenty years after her child was born…wonder if one of the characters’ll turn out to be said offspring, eh?
For much of the ensuing hour, not a lot happens in Blood Night: the slightly more rounded group of teens (slightly translates as they were on screen more but I still never worked out who was who) have a seance at Mary’s graveside, are warned off by the groundskeeper Gus (Moseley) – who is dressed to the nines as a Crazy Ralph tribute act. Afterwards, they go back to Nichole’s house to party.
About 40 minutes in, Danielle Harris comes to the party. Everyone drinks, people pair off and have sex – complete with some really audible gulping sounds when one sophomore horndog is being ‘seen to’ by the girl he lusts after. Some of the party guests die and the seven remaining kids run screaming from the house only to find Gus trolling by in his pickup. They board and he drives them to the abandoned asylum to put a stop to the madness once and for all. Isn’t it fortunate that nobody ever cleared out all the files from the institute’s office? Now they can find out who Mary’s child is!
It’s Danielle Harris. Colour me totally shocked, ’tis she who turns out to be the adopted child. Some handy flashbacks show her getting some gushy, nasty looking period and then either getting possessed by mom or just choosing to kill everyone as well. It ain’t that clear. Anyhoo, she turns up at the creepy old madhouse and clip-clops up and down the halls, chopping and thwacking everyone else.
Blood Night is a weird one. On the pro side, it’s quite well made with an eye for the kind of visuals that adorn slasher flicks of yore and the teen-scenes are staged as sort of docu-drama Real World thing, which reminded me of the style in The Asylum’s cheapo cash-in flick, Halloween Night. The downside of this approach is that is serves to expose the teenagers as annoying, shallow blade-targets and pretty much nothing more – plus the fact that there’s too many of them to keep track of and almost all the boys look the same.
Sabatella keeps things liberally gory and throws in copious amounts of female nudity. Mary’s spirit appears full frontally nude and it makes me to wonder if the film had had a male killer would we have ever seen the goods? No. Even the boys who get laid miraculously manage to keep it all off screen. Gender inequality in a teen horror film, who da thunk it?
Danielle and Bill are good in their respective, though limited roles. Everyone else fades into a teen-victim blur. Is it a budding franchise? Well, women will probably always get a bit moody when they’ve ‘got the painters in’, so there’s no reason not to expect more of the same…
Blurbs-of-interest: Danielle Harris played Jamie Lloyd in Halloween 4 and 5 and Annie Brackett in Rob Zombie’s Halloween and Halloween II, was Tosh in Urban Legend, Marybeth in Hatchet II, and was in ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2. Bill Moseley was in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, the 2013 sequel, Silent Night Deadly Night III and Home Sick.