Unloved foster child and cheerleader Dixie Ann Dikes (Lisa Gaye) gets abducted, raped and thrown from a moving vehicle after a date -and as a result gets put into a home for girls until she turns eighteen. Upon her release, Dixie moves to the big city and rooms with another alumni, Linda (Lynn Bernet), who's boss is sure Dixie has what it takes to become the next Miss America. Things start to happen fast after she's crowned Miss Colorado and gets swept off her feet by smooth-talking Chuck Logan (William Campbell). Dixie elopes despite pageant rules but is unaware Chuck is an escaped convict who robs a liquor store on their honeymoon. When he's arrested for kidnapping and the marriage comes to light, scandal erupts and Dixie spirals down into a seedy world of strip clubs, attempted suicide, armed robbery, a court trial, and imprisonment -all before she turns twenty-one.
The on screen narrator, syndicated columnist Earl Wilson, promises NIGHT OF EVIL is a true story "culled from newspaper accounts and court transcripts" but by downplaying the lurid, the film actually becomes a sensation-less cautionary tale for teens. Lisa Gaye, more talented than her more beautiful older sister, Debra Paget, actually elicits audience sympathy as a young girl whose trials and tribulations are really no fault of her own. The movie's title is pure exploitation and doesn't actually occur in a movie that's sold as "Truth ...shocking and naked! A beautiful girl ...and the men who twisted her dreams into a ...Night Of Evil!" William Campbell's first wife was actress Susan Morrow's sister, Judith Campbell Exner, President Kennedy's mistress. He was also the first actor to sing with Elvis Presley in the film LOVE ME TENDER (1956) also starring Debra Paget.
At the end of the day, NIGHT OF EVIL is a mildly interesting and, strangely enough, thought-provoking second feature marketed for a different kind of crowd that's sure to be disappointed.
I'm sure it was movies like this that spawned expert exploitation showman John Waters' FEMALE TROUBLE (1974).
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