Mala Noche

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Mala Noche
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Gus Van Sant
Produced by Gus Van Sant
Written by Gus Van Sant
Walt Curtis (story)
Starring Tim Streeter
Doug Cooeyate
Ray Monge
Nyla McCarthy
Music by Creighton Lindsay
Cinematography John Campbell
Edited by Gus Van Sant
Distributed by Gus Van Sant (1988)
Janus Films
The Criterion Collection (2007)
Release dates
  • May 4, 1988 (1988-05-04) (United States)
Running time
78 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $25,000

Mala Noche (also known as Bad Night) is a 1985 American drama film written and directed by Gus Van Sant, based on an autobiographical novel by the Oregon poet Walt Curtis. The film was shot in 16 mm, mostly black-and-white. Mala Noche is the first feature film by Gus Van Sant. It was shot entirely on location in Portland, Oregon.


The story follows relationship between Walt (Tim Streeter), a gay store clerk, and two younger Mexican boys, Johnny (Doug Cooeyate) and Roberto Pepper (Ray Monge). Walt and his female friend (Nyla McCarthy) convince them to come over for dinner, but Johnny and Pepper have to return to their cheap hotel because another friend is locked out. Walt makes his first pass at Johnny by offering him $15 to sleep with him. Johnny refuses and runs to his hotel room, leaving Roberto locked out with nowhere to spend the night but Walt's. Settling for second best, Walt lies down next to Pepper and allows him on top for sex. However, he does not give up on trying to win over Johnny. The film progresses from there into not always clearly defined relationships, unbalanced by age, language, race, sexuality and money.


  • Tim Streeter as Walt Curtis
  • Doug Cooeyate as Johnny
  • Ray Monge as Roberto Pepper
  • Nyla McCarthy as Betty
  • Don Chambers as Himself
  • Walt Curtis as George

External links