HAPPY HELL NIGHT (1992) Reviews and overview



‘The screams you hear will be your own!’

Happy Hell Night is a 1992 released slasher horror film about a fraternity-hazing prank that goes terribly wrong and sets a killer loose.

Directed by Brian Owens (Brainscan story) from a screenplay co-written with Michael Fitzpatrick and Ron Petersen (production designer for Blood Diner).


The Canadian-Yugoslavian PPI Camera Corporation-Pavlina Ltd co-production stars Darren McGavin (Dead Heat; The Night Stalker), Nick Gregory, Franke Hughes, Laura Carney, Ted Clark and Charles Cragin.


Happy Hell Night is a jumbled mess of a film that lacks a clear protagonist, an explicit reason for the murders, and even linear editing, but it’s got it where it counts: a menacing slasher who rampages through well-done scenes of gratuitous bloodshed. Darren McGavin […] only appears for about five minutes as a survivor of the original killings.” Canuxploitation!

Happy Hell Night is peculiarly unexciting, for director Brian Owens completely fails to generate suspense or menace. In fact, the ugly-faced killer makes an occasional wisecrack in the Freddy Krueger vein, unbecoming his evil character.” John Stanley, Creature Features book


Darren McGavin‘s role in this film is no more than an extended cameo and he looks embarrassed to be here […] If you are interested, there is some full-frontal female nudity on view as well as some good photography, but not enough to get your mind off the fact this is something you have seen a hundred times before. To sum it up, Happy Hell Night is neither good or bad. It’s just déjà vu.” Critical Condition

“There’s just enough innovation […] but the overwhelming cheese factor is pretty darn high and the acting pretty darn bad […] There are a few good gory offings, but the best thing about HHN is Charles Cragin’s eerie physical presence as the killer Malius – with his Nosferatu bald head and wicked ice axe slaying methods, one wishes he’d had a better movie in which to strut his stuff.” Horror 101 with Dr AC

Happy Hell Night is a typical slasher film filled with gore and gratuitous nudity. There are several creepy, suspenseful moments, and the killer Zachary Malius (Charles Cragin) looks really scary. The characters are one-dimensional, the acting is terrible and there are some huge lapses in logic. Still, the film is enjoyable to watch…” Humanoid of Flesh

“You have to give the filmmakers credit for trying something slightly different here by tossing some supernatural elements into the mix here, including a finale that feels like a bloodier nod to the ’80s favorite One Dark Night […] Cragin is easily the most memorable aspect of the film with his creepy black eyes and bald head, creating a striking psycho who grabs your attention whenever he’s on-screen.” Mondo Digital


“Rockwell and McGavin‘s characters are so thinly written that neither actor can do much of anything with the unrewarding roles.  There’s a brief suggestion of a fraternal conflict between Rockwell and his brother, but it comes to absolutely nothing.  The skin content is small and the gore is generally boring, made even more tedious when the demon-priest spouts witless witticisms…” Naturalistic! Uncanny! Marvelous!

” …it’s solid enough once it gets going since Malius weaves an impressive path of destruction that gives the effects team ample opportunity to craft some fun gags […] This is a fairly nasty, downright messy slasher at times, one that scatters limbs with reckless abandon. You might find yourself wishing for a stronger attachment to the characters who are separated from all those body parts, though.” Oh, the Horror!

“Sure, it borrows a scene or two quite blatantly from Halloween and it would have been much creepier if the villain had just kept his mouth shut instead of forcing him to utter some crappy one-liners, but overall it’s an entertaining little movie for what it is […] a movie that accomplishes what it sets out to do and that proves to be entertaining in its own right.” Rock! Shock! Pop!


“Everything that looks like a twist is reinforced by jerky motion or dramatic stingers, not that this flick protects its twists particularly well. Happy Hell Night struggles to reach first base, but once it wins your trust, it’s as good as any second-tier 1980s slasher. Every so often, we’re reminded that we’re watching something straight from hell…” Tales of Terror

“Malius is the star […] He’s like an overgrown, homicidal E.T., complete with overlarge black blobs for eyes and, admittedly, quite a creepy looking dude. This was one of the first slasher flicks I ever saw and I hated it at the time, but revisits have shown that it’s a fun little timewaster with cheesy dialogue, soap-opera acting and lots of Latin prayer-sayery at the weirdo ending. Try it and see!” Vegan Voorhees


“The whole thing is pretty routine trotting out all the T & A and bloody deaths you’d expect from a slasher flick and while it feels pretty “been there, done that” for the entire film it’s watchable enough for fans of this type of film.” The Video Graveyard

Cast and characters (in order of appearance):

Larry Robinson … Orderly
Lisa Nichols … Nurse
Sam Rockwell … Young Henry Collins
Irfan Mensur … Young Father Cane
Charles Cragin … Malius
Elvis Restaino … Jake (as Robert Restraino)
Melissa Blanchard … Campus Girl
Jeffrey Miller … Ralph
Dennis Gallant … Man in Bar
Laura Carney … Liz
Kate Delay … Susan
Nick Gregory … Eric
Scott Bell … Pete
Johnny Askwith … Bartender
Ted Clark … Ned Bara
Frank John Hughes … Sonny (as Franke Hughes)
Winston May … Sheriff
Tatjana Pujin … Kimberly (as Tanja Pujin)
Gala Videnovic … Marjorie
William Morris … Frat Boy
Darren McGavin … Henry Collins
Lisa Rankin … Nurse
Chuck Vergara … Patient
Kate Healey … Cop
Janez Vrhovec … Father Cane
Jorja Fox … Kappa Sig Girl (uncredited)
Jesse Grey Walken … Sal (uncredited)

Filming locations:

Humber College – 3199 Lake Shore Blvd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Filming dates:

February 12th to October 20th 1990

Technical details:

87 minutes
Audio: Mono
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1

Alternate titles:

Frat Night (US)
Hell Night (UK)

Fun facts:

The film features brief appearances by Sam Rockwell and Jorja Fox in their early careers.

Trailer [1080p HD]:

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