To some, Pledge Night is just another of the many slashers that would come out of the 80’s and early 90’s. But in the era of that over-saturated subgenre, it failed to stand out among the others.
The film wasn’t scary, had fairly bland cast, and was a victim of its own poorly-paced script. That said, after a random first time viewing, I was able to find one redeeming quality within the mess, and that was the movie’s very blatant homoeroticness.
Let me put it to you plainly. Pledge Night isn’t a gay horror movie. It’s a gay horror movie. As in, straight horror bro-dudes suffering a case of toxic masculinity might read this review, glance at the title on their coveted VHS wall, and immediately try to argue why it’s totally not gay and accuse me of reading too much into a “regular” movie. AKA, exactly what bro-dudes do when they’ve been caught having an interest in something a little queer.
The gayness of the film comes at you almost immediately and from every angle. Not even twenty minutes in and there’s some extremely homoerotic hazing, complete with butt-stuff and frat boys in jockstraps. The scenes are very similar to ones used in the beginning of gay “college” porn sequences, which had me wondering if more than a few folks on the set were keen as to just how gay the film was already coming off…
Not much further into the movie comes a male-male-female threesome, wherein the buddies at first politely offer each other to go first before finally descending upon the woman together, because, you know, brotherhood or something. This is all followed up by a little more jockstrap hazing and then the killer ripping a guys junk off. Yup. That banana on the sweet VHS box cover art? It symbolizes exactly what you think it does.
As I said, the movie overall is kind of rough. The story is slow, the kills aren’t as scary as they are lame, and the plot eventually morphs into some weird supernatural slasher hybrid that isn’t even fun. Still, it does have its fans; those who dig these weird flicks from horror’s golden age, and those who enjoy gay and homoerotic horror films… of which I raise a glass of wine to both.
It seems like DVD copies of Pledge Night can be found through independent sellers (though I would question the quality), but most folks I’ve talked to seem to have just come across the VHS somehow or have noticed a download available. You can also just google the title along with “full movie”, and, well… you make your own life choices.
Til next time, pledges!