‘Night of the Demons’

Title: Night of the Demons (1988)
Rated: R
Directed by: Kevin Tenney
Starring: Linnea Quigley as Suzanne
                Amelia Kinkaid as Angela
                Billy Gallo as Sal
Tagline: “Angela is having a party…Freddy and Jason are too scared to come. But you’ll have a hell of a time.”           

By Shelley Stillo

Pre-screening memories: When people ask me to recommend a legitimately scary movie, I’ll usually say Nightmare on Elm Street or Night of the Demons.  Trouble is, I don’t remember the first thing about Night of the Demons. Sitting down to write these pre-screening memories has revealed to me that I can honestly only conjure up one scene from the entire movie.  And what I remember isn’t really scary.  So why has this film stuck with me all of these years? 

It may be because I also remember it as one of the naughtiest films I’ve ever seen.  I don’t remember why, but I do know that my prudish 12-year-old self was shocked by this film.  And if there is any stage when fear and sex combined are going to make their strongest impression, it would be the preteen years. I’m not sure, given the fact that I’ve oft thought about this film, why I haven’t taken the opportunity to revisit it before.  One reason might be that, as I got older and started enjoying my horror with company, I was afraid the film would be even naughtier than I remembered, and lead to an embarrassing group viewing experience.  (This has really happened to me–more than once–with the odd anime screening).

The one scene I do remember from the film does nothing to underscore either the films’ scariness nor its naughtiness.  It is a “Twilight Zone”-style morality moment that occurs at the end of the film.  At some point in the movie, we are introduced to an elderly man who plans to put razor blades in his apples on Halloween night.  In the final moments of the film, his wife decides to bake him an apple pie.  He realizes, with shock, horror, and dismay, that the pie has been made of left over apples just as several razor blades cut through his throat.  How he managed to chew and swallow the razor blades without noticing them, and while leaving them intact enough to cut through his flesh, is anyone’s guess.  When his wife smiles at the end of the film, we realize that she has killed him on purpose, likely as revenge for his feeding razor blades to the kids in the first place.  I’m sure, as an avid watcher of weekly television horror and sci-fi programs, I didn’t find this moment in the least scary, but I was satisfied with the joke.

New memories:  Immediately after I re-viewed this film, I was fairly stunned that I’d remembered it at all.  It was still plenty naughty, maybe a little more than other ’80s horrors (though certainly no more naughty than Revenge of the Nerds), but it wasn’t scary, or even that interesting.  It has a very standard plot:  a group of teens, featuring all the typical players — the good girl, the ‘greaser,’ the token black guy, the goth girl, the slut, the party couple, etc. — break into an abandoned funeral parlor to throw a Halloween party.  They decide to hold a seance and unknowingly unleash a demonic force that commences to possess the party guests one by one. Who will survive to party another day?

I kept thinking about the movie though.  It would have been easy to say “well, what a 12 year old found appealing in 1988 just isn’t appealing anymore.”  But I couldn’t just leave it at that because this movie continues to have a very solid reputation among horror fans; yes, even those who have seen it recently as adults.  I kept trying to think what could make this movie “hold up” for so many people.  One reason is certainly the appearance of horror goddess Linnea Quigley in the film, who teases here certainly capitalize on her tombstone striptease from Return of the Living Dead.  But I think the real appeal of this film is how it simply embraces the genre, its heights and its foibles.  It never moves into the realm of horror comedy, but it doesn’t take itself seriously.  Without pretension, it uses the tools — self consciously, I’m beginning to suspect — the genre provides and runs riot with them.  So, unless you’re trying to recapture an experience that is 15 years gone, and mostly forgotten, it is easy to get into the spirit of the film and go revel in the fun.  It’s not a film that exceeds genre expectations, but its not a soulless regurgitation of them either.

Would Shelley still accept the invitation to the party? Find out here, or listen below:

Advertisements

8 Comments

  1. Great review Shelley! I actually stumbled upon a link to this site by an IMDB link, and realised it was hpooh. Glad to see you are alive and well, and writing reviews. I used to talk to you a few years ago on IMDB, under the name of burzum. Anyways, hope all is well!

    J

  2. i found an awesome video of night of the demons edited into a 10 minute clip that i just recently posted
    its got all the best parts

  3. sorry about that
    here ya go

    http://popsick.wordpress.com/2008/12/02/scream-queen-in-the-pop-sick-bowl-a-rama/

    I put up clips from Night of the Demons + Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama + Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers

    Enjoy!

  4. Bonjour! The babes are here! This is my sexiest site to visit. I make sure I am alone in case I get too hot. Post your favorite link here.

  5. I freakin’ love Night of the Demons! I have no idea why, the acting is terrible and there are fallacies and plot holes that you could drive my Datsun through, but for some reason it is great fun.

    • Have you seen the remake? I have yet to, but I hear as far as remakes go, it’s in the same spirit. Me, I’m waiting for my BluRay copy to come in the mail, so I can watch that wonderful lipstick get tucked away in hi-def.

  6. I grew up watching this film. I remember when it came out on VHS back in the day and hearing from numerous people how great the flick was. In all honesty, I was a little bit let down. As a kid there was just something that was missing from the film. That important element of generally being freaked out. The film had it’s moments to do that but never went that far. I suppose the most messed up scene in the movie does involve a possessed Quigley with lipstick and what she does to that guy she has sex with. Seeing the film as an adult, I still feel the same way. I own it and enjoy it for what it is, a mindless fun horror romp. But it never goes past that. I felt with the subject matter this could have genuinely been a terrifying experience.

    You want to see a movie with a similar plot that actually was scary and downright disturbing? Watch The Redsin Tower.


Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Now Flixster Certified!

  • BEETLEJUICE with GLENN SHADIX

  • LIONHEART with HARRISON PAGE

  • CLUE with director JONATHAN LYNN

  • NIGHTBREED with co-star SIMON BAMFORD

  • POPCORN with star DEREK RYDALL

  • CADDYSHACK with co-star CINDY MORGAN

  • THE WRAITH with co-star CHRIS NASH

  • THE LONELY LADY with co-star JARED MARTIN

  • darkcrystalsmall

    THE DARK CRYSTAL with puppeteer DAVE BARCLAY

  • mischiefsmall

    MISCHIEF with stars DOUG McKEON and CATHERINE MARY STEWART

  • christinesmall

    CHRISTINE with ALEXANDRA PAUL

  • rockulasmall

    ROCKULA with writer/director LUCA BERCOVICI

  • justonesmall

    JUST ONE OF THE GUYS with STU CHARNO

  • buffysmall

    BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER with producer DENNIS MURPHY, fx artist HANK CARLSON

  • tremorssmall

    TREMORS with co-star CHARLOTTE STEWART

  • 3oclocksmall

    THREE O'CLOCK HIGH REUNION with co-stars CAITLIN O'HEANEY, SCOTT TILER and LIZA MORROW

  • visionquestsmall

    VISION QUEST with author TERRY DAVIS

  • westwordlsmall

    WESTWORD with co-star JARED MARTIN

  • SKI PATROL with star Roger Rose

    skipatrolmini
  • BEAT STREET with Ralph Rolle

    beatstreet
  • NIGHT OF THE COMET with Kelli Maroney

    nightofcomet
  • Support Natsukashi: Visit 80s Tees

  • RAD with its star Bill Allen

    radsmall
  • HOUSE with its writer Ethan Wiley

    housesmall
  • THE TERROR WITHIN with its fx artist Bruce Barlow

    terrorwithinsmall
  • HARLEY DAVIDSON and the MARLBORO MAN with actor Jordan Lund

    harleysmall
  • TROLL with fx artist Jim Aupperle

    trollsmall
  • AMERICAN GRAFFITI with ‘Kip Pullman’

    americangraffiti

  • THE BLACK HOLE

    balckholesmall
  • RETURN FROM WITCH MOUNTAIN

    witchmountainsmall
  • THE GREAT MUPPET CAPER

    muppetcapersmall
  • BABY: SECRET of the LOST LEGEND

    babysmall
  • SWAMP THING

    swampthingsmall
  • NIGHT OF THE DEMONS

    nightofdemons
  • THE GIANT of MARATHON

    giantmarathonsmall
  • wordpress
counter