Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet (2009)
By: Devon B. on November 27, 2012 | Comments
Anchor Bay | Region 4, PAL | 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 5.1 | 81 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Frank Sabatella
Starring: Bill Moseley, Danielle Harris, Nate Dushku, Samantha Facchi
Screenplay: Frank Sabatella
Country: USA
External Links
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Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet has an interesting cover, or at least it got my attention. Naked woman holding a hatchet in one hand and a severed head in the other? Sounds like my idea of a good time! According to the back cover, the story is based on a real life legend, which I guess is a bit like saying it's based on some stuff somebody made up once.

According to this stuff somebody made up once, in 1978 Mary Hatchet pulled a Lizzie Borden on her mum and dad. 11 years later, and Mary has been institutionalised in an asylum. She mostly spends her time sitting naked on the floor, but she gets raped by a staff member which leads to her falling pregnant, so she has to take a break from nude sitting to deliver her baby. When Mary hears the baby didn't survive, she develops superhuman strength and goes on a murderous rampage. Clearly a nudist at heart, Mary pauses from the killing spree to de-robe, then gets killed. Because ghosts come back as they died, Mary comes back naked.

Years later, and Mary has become the stuff of legend, or the stuff of somebody made it up once. A holiday called Blood Night has evolved, celebrating her or something, and it's kinda like Halloween except there appear to be no lollies, only pranks, and people only have one costume to choose from. When a group of disposable teens play with a Ouija Board on Mary's grave, bad things start happening. Not immediately, mind, they take a while to start happening, but they do eventually happen.

When someone says, "naked ghost slasher" I immediately think "awesome!" Perhaps it was this heightened expectation that made the first half of Blood Night seem a bit dull, but I think it was also problematic that the film opens at a clipped pace and then just slows right down for a half hour or so. Once the legend is outlined, there's one other flashback courtesy of Bill Moseley, but nothing else much happens for about 30 minutes.

Even with its slow bits, it's hard to describe Blood Night as anything other than a gratuitous splatter flick, and I'm sure that was the intention of the filmmakers. The movie has a few funny lines, and a few that flop, but it's a competently made flick. The high schoolers look too old, and girls have an improbably response to a porn movie breaking, but there are also some good elements. I liked the explanation for the trigger to Mary's psychotic episodes, and my attention certainly got focused whenever Mary was on screen.

After about the 45 minute mark things pick up again, and the film ends with a bunch of violence. Since Blood Night is sort of like a combination of Candyman and Ring: Kanzenban it's not really anything new, but it's okay and I think it might improve with repeat viewings.
The print is clean and clear. There's a bit of blur here and there but otherwise this is a good presentation.
The 5.1 track gets rowdy like Mr Piper where appropriate, but does have a 30 minute or so lull in the middle. Thunder rolls, the score swells, people shriek and innards fly, and while it's not the best track ever, it's pretty good, and especially so for a low budget horror film. There's also a 2.0 mix available which is fine, and a bit louder than the 5.1.
Extra Features
The DVD has a commentary, a making of, outtakes, the trailer and trailers for City Island, Hunt to Kill and Tekken. The commentary is with writer/director Frank Sabatella, and he is proud of his film but readily admits to some of its faults. He discusses the original legends that inspired the story; the uncomfortable filming of the rape scene; budget problems; Moseley and, my favourite, the artistic reason for having a nude ghost. The making of runs a little over 18 minutes and does cover some of the same ground, but shows the shooting and some of the FX work, both digital and real.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
I'd saved Blood Night as the culmination of my Halloween viewing, and it really didn't deserve that respect, but because of that I may be judging the film harsher than I would under other conditions. I still liked it, and can't think of any reason why fans of naked ghost slasher movies shouldn't check it out.

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