Pledge Night - Pledge Night(Blu Ray & DVD) [Vinegar Syndrome - 2019]Pledge Night was the 1988 debut feature directed by Paul Ziller. A Cheap and sleazy fraternity horror movie that whilst it will never win any awards, is a bit of gory fun. The film is most notable for its soundtrack, which comes courtesy of thrash metal titans Anthrax. Front man Joey Belladonna appears in a cameo as the young Sid, the victim of a prank that goes wrong, leaving him fighting for his life before finally succumbing to his injuries.
Set in the period when the film was released at the end of the 1980s, Pledge Night tells the story of a group of young college kids who have taken the pledge to join a fraternity. They are going through a period known as Hellweek, a tradition that dates back a number of years, but which has been outlawed in the town ever since the events of the 1960s. We are shown in flashback the experiences of Sid (Belladonna), a young man who falls victim to a prank that goes wrong, he is meant to take a bath in a combination of cornflakes, soda, coffee grounds and vinegar, however someone switches out the vinegar for acid, thus leaving the young Sid fatally injured from the burns.
As we cut back to the late 1980's, Sid has returned from the dead to wreak revenge on the fraternity that have taken over his old frat house. One by one Sid starts to pick off the various members of the fraternity in gory and inventive ways, these include him attacking one man from inside the toilet bowl. I kid you not, this is absolutely bonkers stuff.
Pledge Night is a sleazy gem, a real oddity, an amalgamation of the Porkies style fraternity sex comedy and the classic 1980s slasher film, albeit even cheaper than any of those films. The whole film was shot over a period of 12 days, and you can tell, but not in a bad way. Pledge Night is a fun slightly sleezy film that features some fairly reasonable gore effects.
The Blu-ray and DVD set from Vinegar Syndrome is a remarkable feat in itself, the film has never looked or sounded any better than it does today, whilst the disc is crammed with bonus materials including interviews with the cast and crew, and a couple of interviews with cast members.
Overall, Pledge Night is a fun popcorn horror film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The cast were all young people with very little previous acting experience, looking for the way into the film industry. The inclusion of the music of Anthrax and Joey Belladonna’s cameo are what prevents the film from descending into anonymity, however despite the film’s shortcomings it remains worth a look for fans of 80s horror cinema. Darren Charles