To All A Goodnight (1980)
It’s one of those films that you always find on ‘Top Blah Greatest Christmas Horror Films’ lists, and with a title like To All A Goodnight, you instantly expect something a little more serious than Jack Frost and a little more creepy than the likes of Christmas Evil and so on.
The story unfolds during Christmas break at the Calvin Finishing School for Girls – the perfect setting for a festive horror no doubt, and a little reminiscent of Black Christmas. Sadly the similarities end there. The girls at the house are nothing short of sex-mad nymphos and they drug their housemother (as you do) and invite a group of boys over. No guesses why. Of course, the house has a twisted past with a girl killed just a few Christmases prior when her initiation went awry. Swiftly, the debauchery begins, with the vast majority of the girls slotting nicely into the archetypal ‘bitchy girl who has sex’ character. A killer in a Santa Claus costume works their way around the house killing off the teens and seeking bloody, and quite gruesome, vengeance for the girl.
The girls and their lovers drop like flies, with some rather inventive kills, including death by airplane propeller, decapitation and a fair few throat slashes. Though the idea of a murderous Santa Claus might make you go; “seen it all before!” and “done to death”. At the time, it only had been done once before with the better-known Christmas Evil. Though I must say, the killer Santa in this is much more eerie than its counterpart in Christmas Evil, with a rosy-cheeked and creepily friendly Santa mask.
To All A Goodnight has all of the aspects of a good, albeit generic slasher, but somehow, it just doesn’t make it. Perhaps if it had been directed by an actual director instead of actor David Hess of The Last House On The Left fame then the execution might have been better. But realistically, it was never going to be anything than generic…and just a little bit weird, but that is mostly due to Leia (Judith Bridges), who spends half the film singing to herself and ‘dancing’. Not my first port of call when I’ve got a crazed Santa coming after for me. There is, however, a fantastic chase scene toward the end of the movie between the final girl and the killer- a slasher must have!
Though it may not be the most original, or even most exciting Christmas horror, it is definitely worth a watch, just don’t expect anything along the lines of Black Christmas or your other Christmas horror essentials.