A Night to Dismember (1983)

July 16, 2009 - 4:05am | FrighT MasteR
  Tags: 80's, 80's Slashers, Doris Wishman, exploitation, POS movie

Your rating: None Average: 1.3 (3 votes)
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Doris Wishman
Samantha Fox, Diane Cummins, Saul Meth, Miriam Meth, William Szarka, Chris Smith, Dee Cummins, Norman Main, Mary Lomay, Rita Rogers

Its been a long time since I last gave a movie a 1-rating, but A Night to Dismember certainly deserves it. With its horrible editing, script, directing, acting, and even dubbing, exploitation director Doris Wishman surely exceeds herself when it comes to making crappy films. Born in 1920 Doris Wishman didn't hit the film scene until the 60s with cheesy nudies and eventually exploitation flicks. Though, by the time Dismember was released the exploitation scene went more mainstream, leading this mess without proper distribution.

Doris has been considered the "queen of exploitation" and the "female Ed Wood", but when it all comes down to it, unless you're big on incoherent storytelling, a lot of shots of people's feet, and dubbing not far off from an 80's Kung-Fu film, you're going to hate this dung pile. According to Doris, someone destroyed some negatives of the film, leaving her to make use of what was left, which would explain the 69-minute run-time and the re-use of certain scenes (like running up the stairs!). Either way, I'm sure what was destroyed probably wouldn't have been much better than what's presented.

So the "story" (written by Doris Wishman's niece -- probably when she was 12-years-old) follows a young woman named Vicki (porn star Samantha Fox) as she's released from a institution after murdering a couple people. Hoping that the trip home and time-spent with the family will do her good, Vicki is instead subjected to various scares by her siblings in hopes of making her crazy again and get sent back to the institution. Things take a turn for the worst when people start turning up dead, and naturally Vicki is to blame, but is she really the killer? Honestly, who really cares? This movie sucks.

This movie is bad for many reasons -- namely the horrible editing, which may or may not have been due to the missing footage. Not only do we get some of the same scenes used-over, but a lot of annoying and nauseating fast-paced close-up shots of various people or objects. Also, not only do we have to sit through an annoying narration by the detective character in the film (who sounds kinda like the narration guy from A Christmas Story), but all the actors had to dub their own voices.

In fact, only 5% of the film is actual dialogue, and most of the time we'd hear someone talking while seeing the back of their head or a shot of their feet or some other inanimate object. Oh, it doesn't stop there! We also get to listen to old-school elevator-type music in the most inane scenes, leaving the audience to wonder whether they should laugh at the girl running away from the knife-wielding maniac while happy elevator-music is playing in the background, or to cower under the covers because knives are oh-so horrifying!

A couple of the most comedic scenes in this film have to be one instance where someone's head is crushed and instead of hearing the appropriate sound effect, we get someone doing a squish-type sound with their mouth; classic! The second instance is a scene where instead of using slow motion, we get the actors actually mimicking slow motion as one of them gets stabbed with an axe; pure gold! Now we're to expect that with exploitation there is at least some decent gore. It does have a fair amount, I'll give it that, but given its no-budget we witness some of the worst in make-up effects, like when one person gets their fingers chopped off, we clearly see them simply making a fist while hot-dog-lookin' "fingers" are spread over red paint.

On the DVD cover it says something about the film having one of the most "entertaining commentary tracks ever" and I have to agree that the constant jabbering back-and-forth by Doris and cinematographer Chuck Smith is hilarious! It reminded me of one of those movies where the whole family gathers together around a Thanksgiving meal and we get the bitter grandma snappin' at the youngins for making too much noise.

The perfect example of everything that could possibly be wrong in a movie. As I stated above, if you like incoherent storytelling, a lot of shots of people's feet, and dubbing not far off from an 80's Kung-Fu film then feel free to subject yourself to this crap.

Author Information

FrighT MasteR's picture
FrighT MasteR is an avid horror fan / monster hunter extraordinaire, who created and has been running UHM since its inception, way back in 1999.




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