Night of the Demons
Updated: Oct 18
College has changed a lot since I first graduated 15 years ago. For starters, I'm looking forward to not having to respond to two different student posts once I graduate. It's so awkward for everyone involved. I at least try to put an effort into my responses but for others, you can tell they're not having any of it.. I'm taking a class called Media and Free Expression in the 21st Century and the teacher is encouraging us to challenge and respectfully debate our fellow students, but that can be a struggle. Too often you run into someone responding with, "Hi (insert name here)! I really liked your post, especially when you (copy and paste point made here). You also did a really good job citing your sources. Keep up the good work! It makes me laugh. Anyways, let's discuss...
Night of the Demons (1988)
Let's go back to the 80s! I have been aware of this movie for the longest time. I'd see it pop up during long streaming searches trying to find something to watch, but I never got around to checking this one out. One of the things I wanted to do this month was watch some of the classics or cult favorites that I've never gotten around to seeing. I've passed Night of the Demons too many times to not give it a watch.
It's Halloween and two outcasts, Angela and Suzanne are hosting a Halloween party at the infamous Hull House. It's an abandoned mortuary that has a haunted history. How do we know about this? Well, that's because Exposition, err, I mean Max, spends a good amount of dialogue spouting the important information to his friends, but more so to the audience. After Max gets us all caught up, it's time for the festivities to begin.
The movie didn't have much of a budget and they managed to save a lot on the set. Apparently, there was little done to dress up the house. It was already old and run down and a lot of the furniture and decor used was already there before production. The house is pretty creepy and it explains why the cast bonded so much off-camera. No one wanted to be alone in their dressing rooms during filming so they spent all of their time around each other.
Back to the story. They're all dancing and having a good time when all of a sudden the music goes out. No worries, Angela says she wants to play a Halloween game. They hold a seance that gets interrupted when Helen sees a demon in a mirror and screams. Shortly after said demon escapes from the crematorium and possesses Suzanne who then possesses Angela. From there the demons kill and possess the survivors one by one. The protagonist, Judy, realizes the demons are only allowed out because it's Halloween, so they just have to survive until sundown while they're being chased and trapped.
It's pretty standard horror movie fare, there's nothing to make it stand out story-wise and the acting is not great, but one thing that it does have going for it is that it's fun. The characters are all over the top and pretty one-note. They're all force-fed ridiculous lines that come off awkward but for some reason it works. One of the characters, Sal, is an ex-boyfriend of Judy and he comes across as the toxic former lover you see in movies. There's a completely ridiculous scene near the beginning where he's trying to get Judy's younger brother to get her to come downstairs and they have one of the most unbelievable conversations two people could have. Then again, her brother is a creeper and makes at least two comments about the size of his sister's boobs. It's weird. Despite how Sal is for most of the movie, there's a bit more to him than what you first see. He's the only character with any growth, and I found myself rooting for him despite his rough start.
The characters are all stupid and make decisions that are just insane. It's almost 90 minutes of cliches and tropes, but you know what? It's an entertaining movie. It doesn't have anything to say, it just wants to entertain you for 90 minutes, and for the most part, it does. In a movie that's drenched in stereotypes; seriously every character is a walking stereotype, there's one that surprised me. There's going to be a spoiler here, so skip to the end if you want to go in fresh like Frank Costanza. They have a black guy and he doesn't die! Not only that, he's the smartest person in the movie. He tries to leave the first chance he gets, he makes their escape possible and he gets a hero moment in the end. I can honestly say, I was not expecting that.
It's not good by any stretch of the imagination, but it's in "so bad it's good territory. It's entertaining and worth a watch. I can't imagine I'll ever go back to it, but I understand the place it holds in horror fandom. It's a campy horror, you won't regret watching it and there's not too much else to say about it!