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Night Warning (1983)

  Tags: 80's, aunt, blood, Bo Svenson, Britt Leach, Caskey Swaim, Cooper Neal, homophobe, incest, Jimmy McNichol, Julia Duffy, Marcia Lewis, Momma's Boy, Nightmare Maker, slasher, Steve Eastin, Susan Tyrrell, Thrilled to Death), underrated, William Asher, William Paxton

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William Asher
96 minutes
Jimmy McNichol, Susan Tyrrell, Bo Svenson, Marcia Lewis, Julia Duffy, Britt Leach, Steve Eastin, Caskey Swaim, Cooper Neal, William Paxton

I've seen a lot of films from the 80's, and while most of'em are bad or mediocre, it still remains as my favorite decade for horror. So many movies came out during that time that it's always a pleasure when I finally come across one that’s actually worth a damn, especially when I've never heard of it until now. Night Warning is one of those films. The movie has a ton of names, from the long Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker to the cheesy Thrilled to Death. However, I believe it's more commonly known as Night Warning, which is what I viewed it under.

What makes the film unique when compared to other efforts around that time is the fact that it tackles some interesting taboos and the performances by the leads are actually pretty decent. That, and the fact that I wasn't bored one bit by the film, makes me consider this a nice little hidden gem. The story is pretty simple -- a young boy is forced to grow up under his aunt's care after his parents are killed in a horrible accident. It's clear from the start that the aunt herself has a few missing screws, and it's hinted that she had something to do with the parent's death. Years have passed and the boy is now grown up and almost ready to head to college on a basketball scholarship, but naturally the demented aunt has other plans to keep him from leaving her.

Not since Sleepaway Camp have I seen such a crazy-ass aunt; she's definitely someone you don't want to mess with. As I said earlier, the film tackles some interesting taboos, such as homosexuality and incest. Although the film doesn't necessarily depict any actual signs of an incestuous relationship, the aunt's unnatural affection and dependence on the teen does seem to lean towards a possible bizarre relationship. Another comparison to Sleepaway Camp, would be the homosexuality aspect. In this movie the lead boy is suspected of being gay after he's keyed to the death of a man who had a homosexual relationship with the boy's coach. The local police lieutenant (and homophobe) makes it his duty to out the boy and pin him on the murder. His judgment is obviously clouded just because he doesn't agree with a person's sexual orientation.

The flick gives us a pretty graphic death scene in the beginning and doesn't give us another for 25-or-so minutes when a repairman refuses the aunt's advances, leading her to kill him (psycho!!). The rest of the film just plays off of the aunt's strange obsession over the boy, until towards the end when she starts offing more people that she feels is getting in the way of her and the boy. The film is fairly bloody, but not necessarily gory, since we don't really see all that much. Even the beheading in the beginning (although cool) was rather tame. We're given a predictable, but interesting twist towards the end, and I enjoyed the movie overall.

This turned out to be a nice little hidden 80's gem. The premise was interesting and dealt with a couple things we didn't see often in the genre. Although not as gory as I'd like, the film did offer a fair amount of blood when the scene called for it. Worth a check if you can get your hands on it.

Posted on July 6, 2009 - 5:58am | FrighT MasteR