After multiple title changes, even following an initial release as The Scaremaker in 1982, the college-set slasher Girls Nite Out was released in 1983 with questionable grammar. The intention to mislead audiences into believing the horror film was full of sexually explicit content was clear, though Girls Nite Out is actually quite tame for the genre. Although the film’s resistance to exploiting the bodies of its young female stars can be commended, the mildness of the slasher violence is likely to disappoint.
Directed by Robert Deubel, Girls Nite Out follows a group of college coeds who are hunted by a killer dressed in the school’s bear mascot costume during a scavenger hunt on campus. Though the film begins with psychiatric patient Dickie Cavanaugh committing suicide in a mental institution, the film suggests his involvements in the murders. This is not a supernatural narrative, however, and there is another answer beneath the bear’s mask worn by the killer.
Girls Nite Out begins slow, attempting to draw the audience in with the young adult characters and the drama of their relationships before the killings truly begin. After the basketball team of DeWitt University wins their championship game, they celebrate at a party where couples bicker and flirt with infidelity. The audience is introduced to an ensemble of characters, none of which are likeable enough to forgive their casual immorality. There is partner-swapping among the disloyal young adults, resulting in drunken arguments and a few suggested sexual encounters, though nothing explicitly seen.
The young adult characters are so unlikable and bland, it is difficult to care much about their relationship drama. It mostly serves as filler in-between the murder sequences, which are also fairly bland and forgettable. Even the inclusion of actor Hal Holbrook as campus security guard Jim MacVey is unfortunately wasted. Build up to the final twist reveal seems to be the primary focus of the film, though there are a couple memorable moments along the way. The best is the killer’s repurposing of the mascot costume into a deadly weapon, with a fist full of knives which preceded Freddy Krueger.
The Limited Edition Blu-ray release for Girls Nite Out from Arrow Films contains a brand new 2K restoration from 35mm vault elements, though there is a great deal of static and degradation in the image. This may be the best available version of the early ‘80s slasher, but it is far from pristine. The film also has the original uncompressed mono audio soundtrack and comes with new artwork for the limited edition packaging. A reversible sleeve features newly-commissioned artwork by Justin Osbourn, as well as an original film poster on the opposite side. The collection also comes with a booklet insert featuring photos and an essay by Michael Gingold on the film.
Additional Special Features:
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
new audio commentary with genre film critic/author Justin Kerswell and
film historian/author Amanda Reyes
Alive – a
brand new video interview with actress Julia Montgomery
Savage Mauling –
a brand new video interview with actress Laura Summer
in the Dark –
a brand new video interview with actress Lois Robbins
Was a Party! –
a brand new video interview with actor Paul Christie
& Death –
a brand new video interview with actors Lauren-Marie Taylor and John
video interview with actress Julia Montgomery
- The Scaremaker Alternate Title Card
- Original Trailers
Entertainment Value: 3.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 4/10
Historical Significance: 3/10
Special Features: 8/10