So I thought this Halloween I'd review a horror movie that I'd never seen but that I probably should have. I first remember hearing about this in a satanic panic doco but I don't remember ever seeing it in the video store amongst all the other bodgy horror movie's. When I was a teenager I used to regularly hire a stack of horror movie's and spend the weekend desensitising myself to violence while eating munchies and laughing my ass off.
Night of the Demons (1988) is by no means a good movie. It's not even so bad it's good.
The script is bad, the acting is bad (intentionally so) and it's full of clichés.
So why would I recommend you watch a movie like this?
Well it's a product of an era, a particular B movie style in horror and within those terms this is a pretty good movie. It's silly and predictable but easy to watch.
So it starts off with a couple of teenagers heckling an old man walking his groceries home, a guy on the phone convincing his “nice” girlfriend to come to a Halloween party at an abandoned old house and a couple of “bad” girls using their sex appeal to shoplift goodies for their Halloween party. At the party, the battery's go dead in the boom box, so the only logical conclusion to keep the party going is to have a séance. It's like this was written by people who believed the satanic panic headlines of the 80's.
Directed by Kevin S Tenney (Witch Board, The Cellar) this is pretty well filmed for what it is.
utilising the through the eyes of the demon technique as used in Evil Dead and the demon make up actually looks pretty good. The scene with Angela (Amelia Kinkade – Night of Demon's 2, 3) Dancing possessed to Bauhaus – Stigmartyr Martyr in front of the fire is a real highlight using the ungodly sounding latin chant of “In nomine patri et filii et spiriti sanctum” which ironically translates to “In The Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” The Scene where Suzanne (Linnea Quigley – Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, Sorority Babes at the Slimeball Bowl O Rama) loses her sanity to her vanity and smears lipstick all
over her chest is just weird enough and I'm strangely impressed by the choice to have the protagonist of the film Judy (Cathy Podewel – Beverly Hills Brats) dressed as Alice (from Alice in Wonderland) Giving the second half of the film a slightly surreal quality as she tries to escape this insane and dark scenario while resembling the Alice from our childhoods. In Fact I think the costume design is pretty good the simple colours all compliment each other well.
Aside from the one Bauhaus song the rest of the music is written by Dennis Michael Tenney. The synth opening/score, the rocking party music and the power ballad for the romantic scenes/end credits. It's all pretty generic stuff but well produced, good for what it is and certainly not out of place in 1988. Personally I have a real soft spot for this kind of music even if it has aged badly.
Night Of The Demons is not a scary or original horror movie and while it falls short of Evil Dead or Return of the Living Dead (which have both clearly influenced this) if you're a fan of movie's like Fright Night, Ghoulies or Leprechaun you should have have fun with this...
and lets face it even with changing trends a bunch of teenagers tryna party and get laid being killed off one by one is still a successful formula for a horror movie even to this day.
So get some apples and razorblades, dim the lights and get into it.