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Film Review: Pledge Night (1990)

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SYNOPSIS:

Back in the 60’s a young pledge named Sid died as the result of a hazing stunt gone wrong. Years later he returns, and he isn’t happy, slaughtering anyone he encounters at his old college in the name of revenge.

REVIEW:

My ex and I rented Pledge Night one Saturday night back in the summer of 1995 and while she hated it I thought that it was a cool little flick. Sure, its hokey as hell at times but if you ask me that is part of the reason that I dig it. I’ve always been a sucker for the whole “prank gone wrong that leads to the victim coming back for revenge” thing and that is what Pledge Night is all about. I know a lot of people that are into horror that don’t care for it, but I never quite understood why because it’s not as nearly as bad as some people make it out to be. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t the greatest horror film ever made or anything but at the same time it isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever sit through either. I think that overall it is a fun movie and it does have its moments that make it pretty darn entertaining in a lot of ways.

The premise is pretty much by the numbers and is similar to a ton of other horror films but that’s okay because it works. We have a guy (played by Anthrax’s Joey Belladonna) who is somehow accidentally killed in a bathtub full of acid by some frat brothers during pledge week. Of course, years later he somehow finds a way to come back and takes his bloody revenge on the current members of the very same fraternity (as well as some sorority sisters for good measure) where he was a pledge back in the day.

As he goes about taking out his victims in several brutal and over the top ways he discovers that he may have a connection to one of them (which leads to a legit touching moment between them toward the end when they come face-to-face) and we discover that this is the real reason that he has returned.  I know that it doesn’t sound like anything original and I’ll admit that it isn’t, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy Pledge Night as much as I did if you are into these types of films.

One of the best things about the movie if you ask me are the death scenes. We get an impressive body count and most of the death scenes are quite awesome. Yes, some may argue that they are a little over the top to the point where it could be said that some are more goofy than anything, but I think that it what makes them fun. Sid doesn’t play around when it comes to killing off his victims and we get a variety of fun and original deaths which include Sid ripping his own intestines out and strangling a guy to death with them, a cherry bomb firecracker shoved up someone’s butt, a person killed on the crapper when a hand reaches up from the toilet and takes him out, and my personal favorite that involves an electric egg beater crammed into someone’s mouth. I thought that the death scenes in this film were creative if nothing else and if you are into bizarre, sort of wacky death scenes then you won’t be disappointed.

I also dug Sid too and thought that he was a cool horror villain. While his incessant laughing and cornball Freddy-like one-liners do get old after a while I still thought that he looked awesome and that his whole backstory was cool. I liked the fact that he burns anything that he touches thanks to the fact that he was submerged in acid when he died and thought that this was a nice touch that made him stand out among the crowd a little (this comes into play in a very awesome way at one point when he shoves someone’s head into a gaping wound on his stomach and melts the poor sap’s head). In a way he reminds me of Sammi Curr from 1986’s Trick or Treat in a couple of ways (just substitute Sammi’s electric powers with acid-based powers) and if I had to guess I would say that he was most likely an inspiration for Sid. Like I said, I liked the character and if you can get past his annoying laughter and some of his cornier one-liners then I have a feeling that you will dig him as well.

I enjoyed Pledge Night and had a good time watching it. It isn’t perfect and has its share of flaws (the biggest one being that it takes forever for Sid to finally show up and start killing people) but I was able to overlook them. If you go into it not expecting to take it too seriously I think that you will like it as much as I did because honestly, it isn’t meant to be taken seriously for the most part. Are you looking for a fun little movie that has some great death scenes, an interesting premise and a cool horror villain? Then do yourself a favor and check out Pledge Night when you get the chance to do so. You won’t be let down.

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