[Check it out at Amazon US] ALL NIGHT LONG VOL 1 (1992)

Director: Katsuya Matsumura.

Hacktors: Yoji Ietomi, Ryosuke Suzuki, Eisuke Tsunoda.

Rating/5: Rating: three-and-a-half out of five

The lowdown: The All Night Long movies have been serenaded, if that's the right word, as some of the sicker movies you can find. Naturally, Slasherama wanted to give them a look. So I grabbed hold of Media Blasters' All Night Long Collection boxset and gave the first instalment a spin. The story sees three teenage students meeting by virtue of witnessing a random act of homicide. Somehow, the event seems to get under their skin. When one of them runs into trouble with a local gang, the trio seem only too eager to carry out some revenge killing.

Good points: All Night Long is no grungy, shot-on-video affair: it looks good and feels like a properly assembled movie, with some thoughtful direction. It even has a memorable score. The storyline moves along at a slightly faster pace than many Japanese movies employ and is - as you'd expect from the film's reputation - pretty violent. It's hardly a wall-to-wall gorefest, but doesn't shy away from depicting strong, bloody violence when the script calls for it. And the script calls for it frequently - especially towards the end. After all, the theme behind All Night Long appears to be that humans are basically scum who do terrible things to each other. Nice.

Bad points: There are a couple of moments when questionable editing makes it unclear how certain transitions have occured. While generally acquitting themselves well with fair performances, a few cast members are guilty of over-acting: particularly those portraying homicidal hysteria! Neither is some of the violence all that convincing: there obviously wasn't a massive gore effects budget on hand.

DVD Details: Media Blasters issued this as a single Region 1 disc in 2002. It is also available as part of the aforementioned All Night Long Collection. More from which soon.

Overall: While All Night Long is undeniably memorable, it's hardly the kind of stunner that you can't erase from your mind. In fact, it does fail to shock, despite some outbreaks of sexual violence which may account for the film's failure to appear on UK shores, along with the fact that it's young men carrying out the slaughter. Apparently, the second and third volumes in the series are stronger stuff. We shall see...

Release Date: Out now in the States.

[See single-disc edition at Amazon US]

[See All Night Long Collection at Amazon US]

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