To All a Goodnight (1980)

to all a goodnight poster 1980 moive
4.5 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 5/10

Predates some movies with similar plots

Rather cliché and uninventive

Movie Info

Movie Name: To All a Goodnight

Studio: Four Features Partners

Genre(s): Horror/Seasonal

Release Date(s): January 30, 1980

MPAA Rating: R

to all a goodnight axe killer

Sir…you left your axe

A horrific accident takes the life of a student.  Now two years later, Christmas break is coming and a group of students are staying at the Calvin Finishing School for Girls for the holiday.  Nancy (Jennifer Runyon), Melody (Linda Gentile), Leia (Judith Bridges), Trisha (Angela Bath), and Sam (Denise Stearns) are expecting the arrival of a group of boys T.J. (William Lauer), Tom (Solomon Trager), Blake (Jeff Butts), and Alex (Forrest Swanson).  When the body of the caretaker Ralph Cramer (Buck West) is found murdered, and other students begin disappearing, the girls realize someone is hunting them…and the danger is growing.

Directed by David Hess, To All a Goodnight is a horror slasher thriller.  The movie was poorly received by critics.

Genre holiday movies are always fun.  Comedy Christmas movies are the obvious genre, but horror Christmas movies are the next logical choice.  With many people loving the holidays and many people dreading the holidays, the holidays are a perfect location for a horror movie…To All a Goodnight continues a nice line of below average holiday horror attempts.

to all a goodnight shower head

“Ladies, ladies…I admit ‘That’s a unique shower head’ wasn’t my best line”

Black Christmas was one of the first slasher films and one of the first horror holiday films to get it right.  To All a Goodnight follows in the line of Black Christmas, but without the creativity, shock, or style.  The movie attempts to have a couple twists with the killer but with the years following Halloween and other slasher films, the “shocks” aren’t very shocking.

The cast is rather weak, and it really makes you question how this school survives.  There are very few students, they appear to be from all over the globe with different accents, and the school is “isolated”.  Jennifer Runyon of Charles in Charge plays the school’s “good girl” who is obviously going to be the final girl from the start.  The “nice guy” Alex played by Forrest Swanson beats the geek victim tradition and makes it to the end to be a hero (probably because he loses his virginity).  Kiva Lawrence plays the house mom with a secret, and Sam Shamshak New York tough guy cop (who is in this isolated tropical community) also is keeping his own secret.

to all a goodnight serial killer santa claus

Santa thinks you were naughty!

Part of Black Christmas’s charm is that it knew how to use the holiday and the locations (it was shot in Santa Barbara).  To All a Goodnight doesn’t seem to want to commit to either being a holiday movie or turning into essentially a haunted house movie.  The movie does do one odd thing in that you think it is going to be a horror movie that happens all in one night, but a number of people are killed and the characters spend the next day around the place…of course night falls and they all get chased by the killer again.  It would have been good to have some events happen during the day.

To All a Goodnight underwhelms.  The plot falls in the classic “someone was killed in an accident and someone wants revenge” like Friday the 13th, The Burning, Prom Night (though it does predate them), and you know that the deaths relate to it.  The gore and guts aren’t as hardcore as later slashers so you hope that the film would have more style.  Some of the later films following Halloween have creative ways of telling a cliché story, but To All a Goodnight isn’t one of them.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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