Considering how saturated the ’80s were in terms of putting our horror movies, it can be hard to decide which ones are worth watching and which ones are just a rehashing of the plot and theme of an earlier, better horror film from that decade.
Where does the both panned and praised Night of the Demons from 1988 fall in watchlist? Let’s break it down
Movie: Night of the Demons (1988)
Plot: The “weird” girl at high school Angela and her horny friend Suzanne throw a party on Halloween night at the abandoned remains of the funeral parlor Hull House. When the party-goers conduct a seance in front of a mirror, they unleash a demon from the crematorium that possesses them after killing or making out with them.
Killer: A demon that apparently has been possessing people and turning them into deranged killers since before colonial times if they dared to set foot in its little patch of unhallowed ground.
Critique: The ’80s churned out a ton of horror films, most of them cheesy, blandly formulaic, and light on the blood. Then there were films like Night of the Demons, which were also cheesy, blandly formulaic as far as plot, but at least had the good sense to throw in some craziness to keep its audience on their toes and entertained.
And that’s exactly what Night of the Demons is: entertaining craziness. Whenever the film seems to be getting stale, it throws in a scene to grab your attention, whether it’s an extremely gratuitous dance scene, a lipstick disappearing into a breast, or a gas line being used as a blowtorch. If any of those scenes were left to fend for itself in a horror movie, that film would have been buried in the ’80s coffin. But together, along with an extremely ’80s score, these scenes and others make up a horror movie that may have been born from cheesy ’80s horror, but was reared with the perfect touch of madness.
Scene of Awesomeness: After being possessed, Suzanne (played by Linnea Quigley) draws all over her face with lipstick before shoving the lipstick into one of her breasts. It’s not awesome because it’s a big nudity scene (it doesn’t hurt, of course). The scene is strange but not gory, showcasing why Night of the Demons is more than just your average ’80s teen horror. It’s a scene you would expect to be in a David Cronenberg film.
Scene of Ridiculousness: After using hanging barbed wire to climb up the exterior wall that has apparently eaten its exit, Rodger tries to help Judy up and falls off wall onto the safe side. A few seconds later, he’s magically back on the wall (with no apparent barbed wire to climb back to the top) in the exact same position to finally help Judy up. It’s as if the editors spliced in the same shot in to hit that 90 minute mark.
Body Count: 9
2 boring deaths by demonic possession
1 tongue bitten off
1 unknown bloody mess. Did Helen fall from the sky? Who knows…
1 neck snapped
1 arm dismemberment by having a coffin lid slammed down on it repeatedly (Awesomely Overkill Award)
1 chest impaling
1 bloody choking by razorblade
2 pairs of breasts
Actors/Actresses of Note: Some of the bigger names cast in Night of the Demons is Cathy Podowell, best known for her role in the television series Dallas, and scream queen Linnea Quigley, best known for her roles in Silent Night, Deadly Night, The Return of the Living Dead, and Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama. Lance Fenton, playing Jay, was a little less discreet about being a high school slimeball as Kurt Kelly in Heathers. Then there’s Amelia Kinkade, reprising her role as Angela in every Night of the Demons sequel except the remake.
Quote: “Oh don’t tell me you’re leaving? Sal wanted to go… but he decided to stick around!” – Angela