Pledge Night (1988) (BLU-RAY/DVD REVIEW)
DIRECTED BY: Paul Ziller
STARRING: Joey Belladonna, Will Kempe, Shannon McMahon
RATED: UR/REGION O/1:85/1080P/NUMBER OF DISCS 2
AVAILABLE FROM Vinegar Syndrome
It’s hazing season at Phi Up and the boys are up to all sorts of nasty pranks on their hapless pledges, in between regular bouts of ‘wetting their whistles’ at the campus watering hole…with some of the area’s beautiful sorority babes. But this is going to be one literal ‘hell week’ as they unwittingly unleash the spirit of Acid Sid; an unfortunate pledge who was accidentally dissolved in acid during a hazing prank gone wrong some 20 years earlier. As the helpless fratboys and pledges fall victim to Sid’s wrath and seemingly indestructible towering zombie corpse, it’s up to the stragglers to figure out how to kill someone who’s been dead for two decades, or die trying.
Pledge Night is a slasher from the early ’90s (when it hit VHS I think) that I rented as a kid and then went years not remembering what it was and trying very hard to find it again. The memories might have made it seem better than it is because as a slasher the movie does lack in some key slasher areas. Along the way, in this story, we join a group as they are doing their pledge week to a new bunch of recruits. We learn that years ago they had accidentally killed someone during this week of pranks and now for some reason, we have that dude back in the form of “Acid Syd” and he’s killing people off but not before asking who each is before. This sets up a bit of a twist and the things that happen once the killing starts is pretty entertaining. Some of the effects during all of this portion of the movie is good as well. It’s what takes place before this, or what doesn’t take place before all this that really hurts this one.
Before the killing starts we are treated to what has to be about twenty minutes of a comedic frat house movie. That’s all good and fun if it wasn’t for the fact that we’re supposed to be watching a horror movie. I think that a lot of this could have been helped by doing something as little as opening up the movie showing what had happened to Acid Syd before, but instead, this one makes you wait a bit longer before getting to the good stuff. It is nice to at least finally have this one out on Blu-ray! And Vinegar Syndrome did do a great job on the transfer as well as the extras, with our list of interviews. That kind of makes up for where the movie lacks in quality a bit. Slasher lovers like myself will want this one for the collection and nostalgic purposes, but there’s a reason this slasher never got a sequel. You can watch for yourself and easily see why.
– Region Free Blu-ray/DVD combo
– Newly scanned & restored in 2k from its 35mm original camera negative
– “Hell Weeks” – a video interview with director Paul Ziller
– “Graduating to Horror” – a video interview with writer/producer Joyce Snyder
– “Hazing From Hell” – a video interview with actor Robert Lentini
– “The Bad Man” – a video interview with actor Arthur Lundquist
– Locations featurette
– Original theatrical Trailer
– Reversible cover artwork
– English SDH subtitles
QUALITY OF TRANSFER: 98%