The Night Brings Charlie (1990)
The Night Brings Charlie is a straight-to-video slasher from 1990 that features too many off screen kills and a weird twist involving the killer(s).
In the small town of Pakoe, a masked slasher is cutting the heads off of teens. A newly transplanted sheriff from LA tries to catch the killer. The main suspect is the hulking town creep Charlie who is known for wearing a mask and goggles after a chainsaw accident left his face deformed. Also highly suspicious is the fact the murders began after Charlie returned back home to the small town…working for his coroner ex-Vietnam buddy.
There’s always a certain charm to low-budget slashers from the late 80’s. This movie is so cheesy and clichéd that you can’t help but smile at some of the cheesiness. But the film has an unoriginal and uninspired plot and too many off screen deaths. The film is shot competently and put together quite nicely for a movie made for $225,000. The director went on to make the enjoyable SHAKMA (1990) with Christopher Atkins. The acting is amusing if not bad. The amateur actors try their best and it’s always more entertaining when non-actors actually put forth some effort…compared to other low-budget amateur productions where actors are wooden and don’t even attempt acting.
The characters reactions are all pretty priceless. I like when the paper boy finds the first victim and he screams like a girl or how one dude starts sobbing quietly after finding a decapitated body in a car. The characters are all pretty stock and also not very smart. There’s one asshole who keeps jumping out of bushes and scaring the main chick…even when he is aware there is a killer on the loose. What a dick. The town’s sheriff is pretty stupid as well. Check out this great bit of dialogue from the film taken when a witness is being interviewed by the sheriff.
Witness: “He was wearing a mask…but he was kind of creepy. Like evil, ya know?”
Sheriff: “Yeah…(dramatic pause) I know.”
And yet no one even suspects Charlie as the killer at this point…the one guy in the town that is known for wearing a fucking mask!!! The characters are pretty stupid. The big twist is that there are two killers! A twist you can see coming a mile away. It turns out the coroner killed some chick in Saigon and had the slice and dice urge come back. So he invited Charlie back to be his fall guy for his murder. But unbeknownst to the coroner Charlie is killing people off too. It’s an odd plot twist that doesn’t really change anything.
The film has one good death scene where a chick gets her throat slit and her body is found decapitated. Other than that the majority of the kills happen off-screen. Which is a damn shame. Charlie’s attire is memorable and I do like the film’s title. But he’s not going to go down as a great slasher. There’s a few too many “fake out” scenes for my taste. Scenes where Charlie is ABOUT to kill someone then is interrupted or runs off.
There is a prolonged shower scene and the chick does have some big ole’ titties (and she’s the kind of chick who likes to drink Diet Pepsi while she soaps up). The film does get bogged down in the police procedural plot. And the second half seems to lose steam. And just how the hell does someone cut up there face in a “chainsaw accident”?!?!
The Night Brings Charlie is a low-budget slasher that delivers a few fun moments and some unintentionally funny ones. But it’s a pretty standard late 80’s slasher that isn’t as bad as some online reviewers claim it to be. It is lazy narratively and also doesn’t deliver the kills but it’s cheesy enough to pique the interest of die-hard slasher fans.