Sunday, November 18, 2012

Night Of The Demons (1988)

                                                                  The Story

It’s Halloween night, and Angela Franklin is planning an unforgettable party. Along with her best friend Suzanne, Angela plans to “scare the shit out of” her party guests. The party will take place at Hull House, a spooky, old rundown funeral home in the middle of nowhere. Many years ago, Old Man Hull ran the business, but Hull was a strange man. He was obsessed with his dead clients, and like the rest of his family, Hull was murdered during a brutal slaughter fest. One night, the entire Hull family suffered a gruesome end, when one unknown member of the family snapped. The Hull’s maid couldn’t escape the massacre, and the identity of the murderer is still a mystery, because the police couldn’t find any true clues amongst the massive piles of blood and guts.

But Angela welcomes the idea of an authentic Halloween party, and she uses the dark past of Hull House as a scare tactic. Frannie suggests a past life séance for the first party game. But this seemingly harmless party game backfires in the worst way, because the teens accidentally unleash Hull House’s resident demon. Foul odors, loud noises, and chilling breezes ruin the feel-good vibe of the party, but the teens will have to worry about bigger problems. Everyone tries to understand the random and bizarre series of events, but the demon takes advantage of the confusion, and the evil force possesses Suzanne.

Crossing the underground stream is one of the only surefire ways to prevent any demon attacks (demons can’t cross over running water), but the entrance gate mysteriously disappears. The evil forces of Hull House will block every exit, while the demonized women seduce their unsuspecting male victims. The remaining survivors will have to evade the fierce attacks until sunrise, or they will lose their souls forever.

Character Rundown

Angela Franklin (Amelia Kinkade, credited as Mimi Kinkade in this film)-
Angela is an outcast. She’s one of those reclusive goth chicks, who craves attention in the worst way. She wears a black wedding dress, and this costume really enhances the dark side of Angela’s character, especially during her scenes as a demon. Although, Kinkade did bring some sex appeal to this character. It doesn’t last long, but Kinkade provides a show stealing scene with her sexy moment. Kinkade is the only reoccurring cast member in this franchise, and she really nailed the Angela character.

Suzanne (Linnea Quigley)- First of all, I love, love, LOVE Linnea Quigley. Quigley is one of the more noticeable scream queens from the 80’s, but she doesn’t showcase her shrieking skills here. Suzanne is flirty, promiscuous, and she provides some of the eye candy. Suzanne oozes sex appeal, and as usual, Quigley shows some skin in a few nude scenes here. The relationship between Angela and Suzanne feels a bit strange. After all, Angela is an outcast and a “weirdo,” but Suzanne fits the mold of the popular girl in high school. I enjoy the odd pairing between Angela and Suzanne, because the typical mean, popular girl bullying the outcast stuff is so predictable and tiresome most of the time.

Judy Cassidy (Cathy Podewell)- Judy is the sweet, innocent, good-girl of the bunch. Cathy Podwell’s performance is very believable, and Judy is one of the more likeable characters in this franchise.

Sal Romero (Billy Gallo, credited as William Gallo)-
Sal is the typical high school tough guy. He’s a bully for the most part, but Gallo’s performance is so smooth. Sal is pretty arrogant, but he’s still a likeable character. Sal is cool and laid back, and Gallo did provide one of the more memorable performances for any Night Of The Demons film.

Jay Jansen (Lance Fenton)- He’s a douchebag. Jay tries to be this hip and suave lady’s man, but he is such a tool. There’s nothing wrong with Fenton’s performance, but I really can’t stand this character at all.

Roger (Alvin Alexis)- Roger is the most annoying character in this film. He’s just a cowardly bitch, and when I first saw this film years ago, I actually rooted for his death. Judy actually shows more courage than him, and Roger’s constant whining drives me nuts. Yeah, sorry, but his last heroic act at the end wasn’t enough, and I can’t ignore his overwhelming amounts of cowardice throughout this film.

Stooge (Hal Havins)- He’s a fat, foul-mouthed slob, who doesn’t respect women. Stooge is an asshole, but more importantly, he’s an entertaining asshole.

Helen (Allison Barron)- Helen is…well she’s just there. Barron has a few highlights/funny moments, when the Helen character insults Stooge, but other than that, Barron really didn’t bring anything special to this film. Barron provided a decent enough performance, but her character doesn’t last long, and Helen is one of the more forgettable faces in the franchise.

Max (Philip Tanzini)-Tanzini provides some enjoyable humor, and he delivered a solid performance for the Max character.

Frannie (Jill Terashita)-Frannie is Max’s girlfriend, and Terashita is just eye candy for the most part. Frannie is an airhead, and Terashita’s most memorable scene involves her exposed breasts, so that should tell you all you kneed to know about this character.

Who’s Behind The Camera?

Kevin Tenney (credited as Kevin S. Tenney) is the director for this film, and Tenney really provided the perfect touch for Night Of The Demons. Night Of The Demons is short on genuine scares, but Tenney created a very believable spooky atmosphere for this film. The dark cinematography looks great, and the tense moments before certain demon attacks/chases really help pull everything together.

To be honest, I’m not a Kevin Tenney expert. I never had the urge to research his career, and I haven’t seen the vast majority of his films. In fact, I’ve only seen two of his films. Night Of the Demons is one obvious pick, and Witchboard is the other. Kevin Tenney won’t shut the fuck up about Witchboard on the DVD commentary, so I decided to give it a try a few years ago. It’s a decent film at best. Please don’t buy into Tenney’s bullshit, and don’t listen to his loyal and blind followers who praise this film, because Witchboard is far from a cult classic.

My Overall Thoughts

Night Of The Demons features one of my favorite intros of all time. This intro has a genuine old school feel to it. It’s spooky, and the gothic theme music is just fantastic:

Night Of The Demons is an outstanding horror/comedy. It’s a campy 80’s horror flick, and the jokes are SUPPOSED to be corny. I love the cheesy humor, and this film provides a good mix of spooky horror and laughs, but Night Of The Demons never reaches a point, where you can’t take the story seriously. It’s not too silly, and you can thank Joe Augustyn’s (who is also the producer for this film) script for that. Augustyn’s hokey jokes provide some good comic relief, but he never forgets the horror side of this film, as the survivors struggle to fight for their lives.

And Hull House is the perfect setting for Night Of The Demons. Hull House is isolated in the middle of nowhere, so the teens can’t run to any neighbors for help. It’s an old, creepy abandoned funeral home, with a chilling atmosphere, and Hull House really enhances feelings of fear and desperation.

After the first possession, Angela explains the difference between “haunted” and “possessed.” Ghosts aren’t causing the problems in Hull House. An evil demon stalks the teens, and Hull House is controlled by mysterious evil forces (they can trap their victims by closing doors, locking doors, blocking other exits, etc.) This crucial piece of information separates Night Of The Demons from other ordinary haunted house films, and the idea of a possessed house feels more refreshing.

Remember that sexy moment I alluded to earlier? Suzanne and Frannie aren’t the only pieces of eye candy here, and for a brief moment, Angela sheds her creepy goth chick persona. Angela‘s bizarre dance in this clip is my favorite scene in the entire series. It’s seductive and dazzling, and Billy Gallo’s “WTF???” reaction is just priceless. Night Of The Demons is loaded with great music and graphic gore, and this scene gives you a taste of both. Oh, and you should skip over this clip, if you can’t handle bloody and disgusting violence, because things get pretty messy towards the end!

Like most horror films from the 80’s (especially horror comedies), Night Of The Demons receives harsh treatment from critics. But most critics, who bash this film can’t take the sticks out of their asses, or they really can’t comprehend the COMEDY side of this film.

Yeah, as far as horror goes, you’ll find a lot of bad films and predictable slashers from the 80’s, but Night Of The Demons is a true gem. This film features a few annoying characters, but they can’t ruin the movie for me. Also, an unexpected survivor escapes from Hull House.


and Judy make it all the way to the end, and they are the only living survivors in this film. Judy was predictable, because she is the squeaky clean good-girl, but Roger? He’s such a wimp, and he constantly bails on Judy during life-threatening situations. Roger’s survival is the true shocker here, because the cowards usually don’t make it to the end.

**End spoilers**

Technically, there are two versions of Night Of The Demons: the 1988 theatrical version and the unrated DVD version. Although, I’ve seen both versions, and I never noticed a big difference. The unrated DVD version is three minutes longer, it features more graphic gore and violence, but still, you won’t see any major changes between both versions.

Final Rating: 10/10

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