Directed by William Asher [Other horror films: N/A]
Known also as Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker (which isn’t a title I’m that fond of), Night Warning is an interesting movie that I’d not heard much about before throwing it on, which may, to a certain extent, have worked in it’s favor. The story is decent, the characters generally memorable, but I don’t know if I’d go as far as to say I actually enjoyed this one.
Performance-wise, I think both Jimmy McNichol and Susan Tyrrell did a great job (Tyrrell especially as she began losing it throughout the course of the movie). Steve Eastin brings some humanity into the film, playing a closeted gay basketball coach, and to destroy his humanity, enter the police, in the form of Bo Svenson, who played a very, very homophobic piece of shit. Svenson did a good job in his role, as I really hated his character and his bigoted viewpoints. His character had a somewhat unique (and surprising) story arc here, so look out for that. Lastly, though she wasn’t desperately important, Julia Duffy was pretty cute, and gave us a little bit of nudity to keep us going.
Which wasn’t entirely unnecessary, as the movie, while engaging enough, did occasionally feel draggy. It picked up near the finale, when the main character gets his life even more screwed up by his aunt, but it takes a bit of patience to get to that point. It’s here that Susan Tyrrell really gave a solid performance, and her lack of grasp on reality was fun enough to make the whole of the conclusion interesting. Throw in the gay coach and a homophobic cop, along with a few violent deaths and a corpse, and you’re in for a decent time.
This said, I don’t think Night Warning was quite as good as some others say it is. It has enough slasher aspects to belong to the subgenre, but the route this one takes feels quite a bit more subdued. It’s an interestingly psychological story, no doubt, and I can’t point to many positive gay characters before this point in time, but I still would have preferred something else. If anything, though, I’d definitely throw this one at least one watch, because it really deserves that much (even if you can see the ending miles before the signposts).