Imagine being trapped in a pitch black funeral home filled with friends who suddenly look like a bunch of Linda Blairs, floating through the halls to steal your soul. Night of the Demons rocked my world when I first saw the screener copy at the video store that I worked at way back in the late 80s. Part Evil Dead and part Demons, this film garnered enough fans to spawn two sequels well into the 90s and then a remake two decades after the original. Just like the stupid kids in these movies who wake the dead on Halloween night, filmmakers couldn’t leave well enough alone after the perfection of the first film…
NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (1988)
The goth score intro (played on a synthesizer circa 1983) and horror animation during the opening credits is just the icing on the Night of the Demons cake. The film itself is all about scares and holiday atmosphere. A bunch of teens gets invited to a party by freaky goth girl Angela and her sexy blonde friend (played by Linnea Quigley). Catch is—the party is at Hull House, an old abandoned funeral home. Eek! But before we get to Hull House, Angela and Linnea steal some booze from a convenience store, with Linnea distracting the salesclerk by bending over in her little pink dress and showing us her panties. Again, Eek! Meanwhile, a chick dressing as Alice in Wonderland prepares in her room while her little brother peeps at her from the closet! Um…ick. And on the street, a mean old man being annoyed by trick or treaters comes up with a devilish plan to shut them up. In its opening minutes, Night of the Demons firmly establishes the mood and spirit of Halloween, making it a must-watch on October 31st.
Once the gang arrives at Hull House, the fun and frights begin. Director Kevin Tenney nails it; setting, special effects makeup, atmosphere, and scares all come together to make a perfect little low budget horror film, complete with good and bad acting. We’re given a bit of background about Hull House, the most important piece of info being that there’s an underground stream beneath the walls surrounding Hull House that can’t be crossed by spirits. Personally, once I learned that piece of information, I would have enjoyed the festivities of Angela’s party from the far side of the stream….
But, our group of guests doesn’t. Instead, they begin partying—which means, splitting up to have sex in the privacy of the dark rooms of Hull House formerly used to tend to the dead. What a turn on. But before the sexing begins, they find a creepy old mirror and stare into it as part of a party game. Idiots! Out come the demons—and of course, the first one they want inside of is Linnea Quigley. This has got to be Linnea’s best horror film role ever, infamous for the lipstick in the boob scene. Great care was taken with the special effects. That’s one real looking boob.
Once demonized, Linnea sucks face with Angela (girl-on-girl kisses becoming a trademark of this series) and before long, Angela is doing a sexy scary goth dance by the light of the fireplace, ready to demonize whomever comes near her.
No matter how many times I watch Night of the Demons, the jump scares always get me. It’s loaded with them. The demons are fricking freaky, and the shaky cam footage of demon Angela floating through the halls of Hull House is so good that the footage is recycled in both sequels! The film becomes claustrophobic as fewer and fewer people remain alive—because the rest of them are demons roaming the dark (and I mean dark) halls. Viewers don’t really breathe easy again until the survivors make it to the other side of the walls surrounding Hull House. And just to keep the Halloween spirit alive, we get a gruesome epilogue involving the mean old man who hates trick or treaters.
NIGHT OF THE DEMONS 2 (1994)
The biggest controversy about this sequel is—does the same chick play Angela??? Yes, she does. In the first film, she went by the name Mimi Kinkade, but in the sequels, she’s known as Amelia Kinkade. The reason there was so much mystery surrounding this before the age of the internet is because she looks SO different in the two sequels. People were convinced the actress in the sequels had to be the sister of Mimi. Truth is, she may just have gained weight, because she looks fuller in the face in the sequels.
Instead of beginning with cool animation, Night of the Demons 2 begins with a kill opening of two religious people trying to spread the word of God to Angela in Hull House…
Cut to hot school boys in nothing but underwear—watching naked school girls in a room across the way. You can tell right away this film doesn’t have the same tone as the original. In fact, there’s really nothing scary about this sequel. It’s like the Elm Street 4, 5, and 6 of the Night of the Demons series. You know…one big campy joke (not to mention, Angela eventually turns into a big snake thing like Freddy did in Elm Street 3).
In terms of recognizable faces, you get Christine Taylor (aka: Mrs. Ben Stiller, aka: Marcia Brady lookalike) who is involved in the girl-on-girl action in this sequel, as well as the woman who played the awesome grandmother on Charmed as an ass-kicking nun.
For the sequel’s sake, there’s this Catholic school throwing a Halloween party so the priests and nuns can keep an eye on the kids. One of the students at the school just happens to be the younger sister of Angela. She is still struggling with the fact that Angela never returned from Hull House, so of course a bunch of kids basically kidnaps her and brings her to Hull House to have a private party of their own.
The film does have some noteworthy moments, including creepy dream sequences involving Angela’s visits to her younger sister, and a moment where some chick exposes her boobs…which turn into hands! That’s one way to get a guy to hold your hand. The lipstick is back, found on the floor of the Hull House bathroom by one of the girls, and it seems the dang lipstick is the key to unleashing the demons into the real world…after it crawls up into her va-jay-jay! Eek!
Hindering this film from being anywhere near as effective a horror film as the first is a student obsessed with demonology and theology (what the hell?), the transporting of the demons from the terrifying Hull House to the party at the school (absurd), and the ninja nun and her students using balloons and toy guns filled with holy water to kill the demons. Essentially, Night of the Demons goes the Evil Dead 2 route. Funny and watchable, but it will never be the horror classic that the first film is. The worst part of the film, however, is the promise of a sequel, which involves someone finding the lipstick, which turns into an animation of a snake. Ooh. Scary.
NIGHT OF THE DEMONS 3 (1997)
How much hope could there be for this film after the final lipstick scene in the second movie? Actually, I find this film to be much better, returning to the roots of the series—Hull House.
Like the second film, Night of the Demons 3 has a killer opening, with a cop doing the rounds of the legendary Hull House on Halloween night—and coming face-to-demon face with Angela—after he tells her she shouldn’t be there because Catholic school kids had been murdered at the location. Even though it opts to recognize the existence of the second film, the third film then jumps into gothic horror animation for the opening credits! Yay! The animated sequence is not as good as the original, but it’s still cool that they resurrected it.
Like the beginning of the first film, a girl is getting ready for Halloween night—and is peeped at by her bratty brother! After she gives the incestuous peeper the boot, her female friend comes in, they both get virtually naked, and she ogles her friend’s rack.
The kids who enter Hull House this time do so for a reason—to hide from the law after they shoot a cop at a convenience store! They meet Angela then separate to explore Hull House and, you know, have sex. So that’s what people do after they shoot a cop. Personally, I’d skip the shooting part and just have sex…with the cop.
Ready to have some fun, Angela hits on the nice kid in the group, deep throating his gun and sucking the bullets out of it. She then gives the young man some mind blowing head. Bi-demon that she is, Angela finds one of the girls from the group, who is dressed as a cat. Upon kissing this cat girl, Angela finally goes demon face. That’s what my face would look like too if I got that close to a pussy. You know, because I’m allergic to cats. Cat girl turns into a demon cat girl. In fact, that’s the cool twist in this installment. The kids turn into demon versions of the costumes they are wearing (kind of like that Halloween episode of Buffy).
This sequel becomes a pretty routine 90s horror flick, but it does have its moments, and even promises a sequel. After the final surviving female gets onto the safe side of the underground stream, she makes a dramatic speech about coming back every year to make sure the demons stay contained, at which point the lights go on in Hull House and we hear Angela laughing and saying “Happy Halloween.” But, instead of getting part 4, we got the remake. Would have preferred another crappy sequel.
NIGHT OF THE DEMONS REMAKE (2009)
The remake should have recycled the floating Angela footage from the original film just like the sequels did, because it has none of that. In fact, it has none of anything that made the first film such a classic atmospheric and eerie film. This is highly polished teen trash, catering strictly to an adolescent male audience, despite an homage for longtime fans of the famous Linnea Quigley bend over scene…in a cameo by Linnea Quigley! Question is…is that really Linnea’s 20 years older crotch, or was a stand-in crotch used?
Forget Hull House. Angela, now played by Shannon Elizabeth, is having a Halloween party at Broussard Mansion. And we’re not talking about an intimate gathering of friends performing séances. This is an all-out rave. Some good techno and punk music, that’s for sure. Even with this being a costume party, the film has absolutely zero Halloween charm. This is all about sluts, lesbian kisses, boozing boys, and Edward Furlong as a dirtbag drug dealer who needs to find his hidden stash in the mansion. WTF? He actually turns out to be the highlight of the film, with some funny lines as the film progresses. The real highlight should have been b-horror scream queen Tiffany Shepis, who SHOULD have starred as Angela. She’s perfect for the part, but instead, gets less than 5 minutes in the film as the door attendant at Angela’s party. Wasted opportunity!
There are plenty of nods to the original movies. After the party is raided, only a handful of kids is left behind, creating the same setup. We get two girls in cat costumes (nod to the third film?). There was a guy dressed in scrubs in the first film, and there’s another one in this film. The lipstick is back. This time, not only does it go in through the tit like in the first film, but it comes back out…the va-jay-jay! Nod to the second film perhaps? And what shade of lipstick is that? Menstru-red? Angela does a dance…for a girl this time. Shannon Elizabeth is no Amelia/Mimi Kinkade in the dancing department, that’s for sure. And the demons are a joke compared to the horrific demons from the original, looking mostly like masks you can buy at a Halloween shop.
On the bright side, one of the male leads in this film is a slice of goateed heaven. Wow. The kids play spin the bottle, and after a girl-on-girl kiss (you lose track of how many there are after a while), two of the guys have to kiss! Wahoo! The lucky scrubs dude gets to kiss the hottie, and of course, they make a big deal about it being gross. Please. If I were a straight guy, I’d still kiss that beauty. Kudos to the filmmakers for daring to go there.
The demonic possession here begins in what seems to be an ode to the Demons films, with the first victim, Angela, getting scratched. Bam, she’s on her way to being demonized! Once she starts kissing every guy and girl she can get her mouth on, the demonic virus runs rampant! The hottie screws his girlfriend doggy style—and then decides to stick his wanger up her arse! This immediately brings out the dormant demon in him and turns her into a demon as well. So, in exchange for a man-on-man kiss, the joy of sodomy is equated with turning into evil demons???
While the demonic horrors of the original film are not here, there is ONE standout scene in which the survivors head into an underground tunnel and are chased by the demons, which are crawling on the fricking ceiling!!! When they escape from the tunnel, we get an homage to Evil Dead, with a demon hand stuck in the trap door and the survivors trying to crush it in an attempt to lock the door.
Other notable additions to the film include boobs that morph into tentacles (perhaps another nod to the second film) a demon orgy, and the walls of a room covered in words and symbols that the demons can’t pass. But then the demons simply use their demonic powers to wipe the symbols off with dripping blood! What good are the damn symbols if the damned can just erase them??? And when the demons begin busting through the walls, our survivors search frantically for something to write with so they can draw the already erased symbols back onto the wall! Wouldn’t the demons just wipe that shit off again??? You’d think. But nope. They don’t.
Eventually, more survivors die, we are left with a single hero, and that hero gets all kick-ass in a typical battle preparation montage.
Back the fuck up!
The final confrontation with the demons lacks any scares, with the demons gobbling guts (what are they, zombies?), and the creatures coming right up into the camera lens, totally spoiling any fear of the unknown. How I miss the days of dark and gritty film-making. The modern HD spotlight has really killed much of what made horror films terrifying. And to totally kill this film, the tag after the credits is ridiculous, unfunny BJ humor. I guess it’s pretty apropos actually, considering this remake blows….