Night of the Demons

“Angela is having a party, Jason and Freddy are too scared to come… But you’ll have a Hell of a time.”

The year was 1988 and every single horror movie sounded like this…

“It’s Halloween night and a group of good-time teens has broken into an abandoned funeral parlor with plans to raise a little hell. And that’s exactly what they do. For their intrusion has awakened an ancient, demonic evil whose hunger for human souls knows no bounds. And now, the monstrous predator is out to turn their Halloween party into an unending celebration of sheer terror.”

It’s funny that Republic Home Video had decided to be so generic with their synopsis on the back of their rental tape. But then again, it WAS 1988 and the masses of horror geeks, myself included, demanded nothing more. Keep it simple. Don’t try to find an explanation for everything, just give me some gore and plenty of it. Oh, and don’t forget a little T&A for my raging hormones! But now, the masses have become more sophisticated and demand a teeny bit more info on the film that they’re about to rent/buy/steal/download. So, for all of you, here is MY take on “Night of the Demons”…

“Freaky chick Angela is throwing a Halloween party at Hull House: an abandoned Funeral Home. Various kinds of stereotypical teenagers attend this soirée: the cock-tease, the jarhead (with a priceless mullet), the “bad boy”, the Prom Queen and her beau, the token black character, and so forth. They all meet up for a night of serious debauchery. They drink, smoke dope, and get naked. But they are not alone. Something lurks within these walls, something Evil. “This house isn’t haunted,” says Goth Queen Angela, “it’s possessed!” She is one Hell of a Hostess…Or is she a Hostess from Hell?”

“Night of the Demons” has always been one of my favorite “let’s pig out on junk food and watch horror movies” kind of film. It starts out really funny, but when the “fit hits the shan”, it hits it hard and doesn’t let up. This is one entertaining film, the likes of which we just don’t see anymore. It a damn shame because we all grew up on those films and I’m sure that many of you would rather go see something like this than Uwe Boll’s latest sh*tfest! I know I would!

I’ve seen this film so many times that my VHS copy is all but worn out. When I popped my brand spankin’ new DVD into my player and pressed play, I thought I was going to faint! What an astounding transfer! I didn’t know that this film was so exquisitely shot! Having not seen this film theatrically and relying solely on my crappy, second-hand VHS copy, I thought that this film was shot through a pair of pantyhose! But to see it the way it was intended was quite a wake-up call for ol’ Dom here. The two winners here are cinematographer David Lewis and production designer Ken Aichele. Hull House is exquisitely creepy and the perfect setting for this “Demon fodder of the teenage kind”. Kevin Tenney’s direction is tightly paced and writer/producer Joe Augustyn’s script is shock full of classic (and quotable) lines like (My personal fave) “Eat a bowl of FUCK! I’m here to PARTY!” It’s smart (or rather “Smart-ass”) script that doesn’t really take itself too seriously, but some moments are genuinely creepy. Angela’s strobe light enhanced dance to Bauhaus’ classic “Stigmata Martyr” is something that will stick with you forever (I’m listening to Bauhaus’ Magnum Opus “The Sky’s Gone Out” as I write this!). But the moment that everybody remembers from this film is the scene where “Scream Queen” Linnea Quigley does something rather “unique” with her lipstick. I won’t give it away here, as it is something that has to be seen to be believed! It’s not surprising to learn that she eventually married special FX guru Steve Johnson. The way that this effect is pulled off has to have been quite an icebreaker for these two!
And, of course, the ending. What an ending! What an unbelievable ending!

This DVD, courtesy of the fine folks at Anchor Bay Entertainment, is a very nice surprise for all the fans of this film. First off, this is the unrated version of “Night of the Demons”, with additional gore and violence. Yummy! Ripped out tongues, lacerated throats, and popped eyeballs are there in all their gooey glory. Secondly, we get a very nice commentary track featuring director Kevin S. Tenney, producer Jeff Geoffray, and executive producer Walter Josten. These three have been friends for a long time and it shows. It’s a very entertaining track, filled with trivia and tidbits guys like me really get off on. For instance, Mimi Kinkade (Angela) is now a renowned “Pet Psychic” (Don’t ask…)! Next, we get an all-new, 14-minute interview with Linnea Quigley, where she discusses her illustrious career of disrobing and dismemberment. There’s also the usual trailers and TV-spots and something I really got a kick out of: a four minute promo reel aimed at video retailers to convince them to order copies of the film! It’s a little bit of nostalgia for every one of us who, at one time, worked in a video store. Man, that brought me back! I could smell the stale popcorn!

This is the perfect DVD for all fans of this lost era: “The Eighties Horror Film”. Thank you Anchor Bay for showing this film the respect it deserved. I’m glad to see that I’m not alone in thinking that films like “Night of the Demons”, “C.H.U.D.” and “Vamp” are absolutely brilliant. This film makes you laugh (intentionally AND unintentionally), packs quite a punch, grosses you out, and all this at a low, low price! It’s a freakin’ no-brainer, dude!

Welcome to the blowout where all Hell is breaking loose: you’re invited to “Night of the Demons”.

I’m like totally there!

Official Score