Festive Frights: To All A Goodnight (1980) Simon Fitzjohn December 11, 2020 Editor's Choice, From The Vault 2453 Right, just where do I begin with To All A Goodnight? I suppose I could say that the first twenty minutes or so are absolutely terrible, with one of the lamest ‘pranks gone wrong’ sequences in horror, backed up by some atrocious acting and bloodless kills. But then, just as my mind was entering the ‘why am I watching this again?’ phase, something strange happens – the pace picks up, things get slightly more inventive and I actually found myself enjoying some of it. It is still not enough to make the film anything good, but if you stick with it, then it certainly proves watchable. Directed by none other than ‘Last House On The Left’ villain David Hess, To All A Goodnight came at the start of the slasher cycle really, turning up in 1980. And the film does serve up the requisite slasher format, with the film opening with one of those tragic pranks that only seems to happen in films like this. To be honest, I didn’t really understand what was going on, but for some inexplicable reason a group of college girls chase another through a dorm (presumably for an initiation), even though that chase leads her directly off a balcony and to her death. Fast forward two years and it is festive time again, with semester coming to a close and the kids/young adults heading home for the holidays. Not all though, with a gaggle of girls having to stay at the dorm – making them ripe to be victims for a Santa suit-wearing killer who turns up and starts offing them. As stated above, the acting is absolutely woeful – arguably some of the worst I have seen, even in a slasher movie. Stilted delivery, no emotion, jokes that fall flat and awkward silences as an actress waits her cue are very much order of the day. Even the early kills are dull – a stabbing here and there, but with very little in the way of blood. Things certainly do pick up though, especially when a bunch of young jocks turn up (by plane no less), eager to get it on with the girls – leading to some nudity of course. From that point it is carnage aplenty, with garrotings, slicing and dicing and even death by plane propeller on the menu. In another nod to the familiar format, we even get a ‘Crazy Ralph’ – literally called Ralph here, a creepy gardener who pops up every now and then to say he ‘likes girls’ and to wave a pair of shears around. There’s also the innocent ‘final girl’ in the shape of Nancy, played by Jennifer Runyon. The whole thing builds to a vengeance-filled climax and everything gets resolved nicely – although we do get a camera cut before the credits which adds to the bizarreness of the whole thing. To All A Goodnight is by no means memorable, but it is an (eventually) solid addition to the ‘festive frights’ canon.