NIGHT KILLER (1990) Reviews and overview of Italian trash

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Night Killer is a 1990 Italian horror film about a serial killer with a Freddy Krueger-like mask who terrifies the city of Virginia Beach.

In Italy, the film was released as Non aprite quella porta 3 (“Don’t Open the Door 3”), implying it is the third in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series.

Written and directed by Claudio Fragasso [as Clyde Anderson] (After Death; Beyond Darkness; Troll 2; Zombie 3; Monster Dog) with additional horror scenes filmed by director Bruno Mattei (who also served as editor here). Produced by Franco Gaudenzi.

The movie stars Peter Hooten (Souleater; House of Blood; Dr Strange, 1978; Orca), Tara Buckman (Xtro II: The Second Encounter; Freddy’s Nightmares series; Silent Night, Deadly Night), Richard Foster and Mel Davis.

The soundtrack score was composed by Carlo Maria Cordio (Body Puzzle; Curse II: The Bite; Witchery; Aenigma; Absurd).

Blu-ray release:

In the USA, Severin Films released Night Killer on Blu-ray, newly scanned in 4K from the original negative materials, on June 25, 2019. Special features:

An interview with director Claudio Fragasso
An interview with screenwriter Rossella Drudi


“If you’re looking for narrative jumps that leap into orbit, if you’re seeking out the unhinged, if you have ever wanted to watch a movie that goes from Elm Street to giallo to pre-Seven box related ending five years before that film was released and if you watched Troll 2 and said, “But what if the same people made a movie that makes even less sense?”, please consider this a strong recommendation.” B&S About Movies

“What little gore there is lousy. What you’re left with is a decent story poorly realized much like the performances and dialog given the actors to say […] If you’re a fan of Fragasso‘s resume, however, including pictures he worked on with Bruno Mattei, then you already know what you’re getting. For others, Night will either put you to sleep or be an instant mood Killer.” Cool @ss Cinema

“The silly scenes of stupid, big-boobed bimbos getting their clothes ripped off and being murdered by the killer are cheesy fun and make quite a contrast to the nasty scenes where Melanie is being repeatedly abused, and this may be an uneasy mix for a lot of viewers. Personally, though, I found the film’s quirky approach to be quite interesting and refreshing.” Euro Fever

“Factoring out the post-production splatter, one can see Fragasso‘s intent as far as a Bergman-inspired thriller is concerned, no matter how misguided it may be. Perhaps more reasonable performances might’ve helped the credibility, but both Hooten and Buckman are so mannered and absurdly over-the-top that there’s absolutely no way to take it seriously.” Good Efficient Butchery

“The gratuitous nudity and ridiculous violence […] make for an already frothy brew atop the primary Stockholm Syndrome narrative, but when the twist ending comes around, viewers’ jaws will drop, bounce, and roll under the couch. Whatever you thought you were watching suddenly takes an inordinately and freakishly twisted turn into the “Nooooo noooo nooooooo” realm.” Horror 101 with Dr AC

“This is pure magic, quotable and brain crushing lines that never stop coming, while the melodramatic, over the top performances, make things even more awkward. The interactions between our leads are enough to send the score into the stratosphere, but Night Killer has gold across the board, a treasure trove of odd, off the wall dialogue and performances.” Marc Fusion

“On the surface, it seems like this should be a linear mystery, but in execution, it’s anything but thanks to the surreal injection of those gory kill scenes (complete with a rubber glove somehow bursting through people’s abdomens over and over), TV reporters dressed in tacky furs, baffling dialogue, incredibly gratuitous nudity, and an indescribable performance by Hooten…” Mondo Digital

“Spectacularly scuzzy, pointless, and so derelict on every level that the most convincing part of the movie is Night Killer’s mask and glove.” MonsterHunter

“There are pretty massive logic gaps here that are hard to ignore, and the movie doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense – but yet, by the time you’re in the home stretch you’ll have probably figured out ‘whodunnit’ without straining your brain too heavily. The movie has some decent, moderate (and amusingly repetitive) gore effects going for it…” Rock! Shock! Pop!

“I get the vibe that Fragasso was going for an intense thriller and they snagged Bruno Mattei for the gobsmack collection of nudity and gore as he is known for. You can really tell the difference in their two styles. The gore is definitely there, the effects are pretty hammy and the music score sounds like someone sat on a Casio keyboard.” Rotten Reelz

Cast and characters:

Peter Hooten … Axel
Tara Buckman … Melanie Beck
Richard Foster … Sherman Floyd
Mel Davis … Detective Clark
Lee Lively … Doctor Willow
Tova Sardot … Clarissa
Gaby Ford … Choreographer
Claudio Fragasso … Reporter with a baseball cap (uncredited)
Bruno Mattei … Reporter with a yellow scarf (uncredited)

Filming locations:

Rome, Lazio, Italy (studio)
Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA (locations)

Technical details:

93 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Fun facts:

Actor Werner Pochath (Devil Hunter; Terror Express!; Blood Lust; The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire; The Cat O’ Nine Tails) was also the casting director on Claudio Fragasso’s earlier After Death.

Ten Nightmare on Elm Street Clones:

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