Night of the Demons is a movie of its time. Don’t think for a minute that is an insult, but this is a movie that would be torn to pieces if made today, but because of the era that it was made, it is a beloved cult classic, even though it really isn’t a very good movie. However, it is exactly what you will look for in a midnight cult classic – great practical effects, solid horror and scares, gratuitous nudity and an 80s synth score.
If those traits make you smile, Night of the Demons is for you.
This movie, released in 1988, tells the story of a group of teenagers who go to a Halloween party at an old abandoned funeral home. The kids are all stereotypes. There is the good girl, the Latino bad boy, the preppy jerk, the goth chick, the slut, the crude jock, a token black guy, a nice Asian girl, a smart kid and then one other random girl just for good measure.
Seriously, that is all that is at this party – 10 people.
Well, when the good girl arrives with the prep, smart kid and Asian girl, the smart kid proceeds to be Mr. Exposition and explains that there are rumors that the place is haunted and there is a stream underground that surrounds the funeral home. There is a large concrete wall that also surrounds it and just happens to be over the stream. He also said that this is rumored to be how the demons are kept there and they can’t cross the stream to the outside world.
Then we have a party, the kids separate, the slut gets possessed by a demon, passes it on to the goth chick Angela, and one by one the kids get killed and then come back as demons. That’s your story.
First, let’s get the worst part of the movie out of the way. This has some of the worst acting you will see outside a porn. These kids couldn’t act their way out of a grade school play. It was just really, really bad. Now, here is the deal – if you can get past the horrid acting, there is a lot of fun to be had with this movie.
First off, thanks to the fact that Night of the Demons was made in 1988, everything done here was done with practical effects – and those practical effects were fantastic. I’m not just talking about the prosthetics and make up either. There is a scene where the slut takes lipstick and shoves it into her nipple and inside her body. Now, unless you are really looking hard, you actually believe she is drawing lipstick marks around her breasts, and it isn’t until she shoves it in that you realize that it is not even her body, but a fake body with her head on top of it.
This stuff was really well done and the effects guy – Steve Johnson – had worked on some pretty major films before this including Ghostbusters and Videodrome. The guy was just amazing with what he accomplished with his work.
Now, there was a lot of eye rolling throughout the movie, but honestly, Night of the Demons was a roller coaster ride that was a great deal of fun. This is not a cult classic because it is a great movie, this is a cult classic because it is Fun with a capital F. This is the true definition of a midnight movie and I have to recommend it to anyone looking for a fun time.
I also have to highly recommend buying the new Blu-ray.
Scream Factory pulled out all the stops and the Night of the Demons Blu-ray release is just stacked.
First up, there are two commentary tracks. The first one is with director Kevin Tenney and actors Cathy Podewell, Hal Havins, Billy Gallo and the effects man Steve Johnson. This is a pretty relaxed track with the group remembering the making of the movie and sharing stories from the set. This is where you will learn things like the fact that the smoke machine they used in the house was the old kind that blew out blue smoke and that the cast ended up blowing blue snot out of their noses for weeks after shooting completed. This was a really fun listen.
The second commentary track was with Tenney, executive producer Walter Josten and producer Jeff Geoffray. This is the track where the first thing you learn is that they wanted to call it “Halloween Party” but they were threatened with a lawsuit because the makers of Halloween believed they were the only people with the right to use Halloween in a title. There was also a lot of great info here about the shooting location and more. While not as fun as the first commentary, it had more factual information about the shoot.
Next up is a brand new feature length documentary called “You’re Invited: The Making of Night of the Demons.” This was very in depth, and while some of the information from the commentaries was repeated here, it was a really great making of. The running time is just over an hour-ten.
After that, there are also two individual interviews on the Blu-ray. Most of these have sections that were part of the documentary but I guess you could call them extended interviews to explain their inclusion. These were with Amelia Kinkade, who played Angela, which is quite interesting and checks in at about 22 minutes. The second was with Allison Barron, where she showed some of her personal photos that she has from the making of the movie and explained their meanings.
Finally, there were trailers, TV and radio spots, a promo reel, some behind the scenes photos, posters and storyboards. This is a stacked set. The movie is fun but the special features make this a movie all horror fans should own on this special collector’s edition.
I have always loved this movie, it takes every scary story cliche and makes is work, A haunted mortuary on tainted indian burial ground set under a full moon on Halloween night. It’s hysterical.