Night Warning (1983)

aka Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker
Article 3024 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-18-2009
Posting Date: 11-24-2009
Directed by William Asher
Featuring Jimmy McNichol, Susan Tyrrell, Bo Svenson
Country: USA

When his parents die in a freak car accident, a boy is raised by his aunt to the age of seventeen. Unfortunately, the aunt is demented, and when she murders a TV repairman who rejects her sexual advances, a homophobic policeman believes the boy is responsible for the murder. To complicate things, the aunt begins scheming of a way to keep the boy from leaving home for college…

I went into this one expecting the usual slasher film, but it really belongs to an earlier era when the psychos were given real motivations and weren’t just supernatural killing machines. The movie has two big pluses. One is that Susan Tyrrell is fascinating as one of the most seriously twisted psychos in screen history, and her character gets worse and worse as the movie proceeds. Also, the surrounding story is much better than usual, with the focus on an investigation of the murder that is itself twisted by one man’s homophobia; Bo Svenson’s bullying character is truly repellent. The movie does falter a bit in the latter half, and I was really disappointed when the movie started falling back on certain slasher movie cliches that don’t really belong here. Nevertheless, the movie is very good, and it’s nice to see a movie that handles the theme of homophobia and features a sympathetic non-stereotyped gay character.


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