Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: Night of the Demons (1988)

If there was one thing the 1980s knew how to do really well, it was making movies about teenagers partying. No decade since then has managed to really making teenagers partying quite as entertaining or charming as that one did. You've got your Sixteen Candles, your Revenge of the Nerds, and even your Weird Science. But, this particular film cliche didn't stop at teen comedies, oh no. It became a very prevalent staple of horror movies as well. And no film handled the whole teenagers partying quite like Night of the Demons did.

Probably because most of those films didn't have a shot of Linnea Quigley's ass in them.

Anyway, this movie got a release from Scream Factory a while ago and I finally procured a copy so it seemed like a good time to talk about it. The first thing I'm gonna mention is that it has an amazing animated opening that may arguably be more iconic than even the film itself. There is a certain weird aspect to the film's title appearing at the end of the opening though, as it looks like it was sort of pasted there. Oh wait, that's because it was. Yeah, the reason for this is because the film was originally titled Halloween Party, but the filmmakers were threatened with a lawsuit as the title was deemed too close to the film Halloween. Who knew you couldn't use Halloween in your title without riling up greedy executives?

I guess that's why Tim Burton changed the title of Halloween Fucks Christmas Up the Ass.
Moving on from the road bump, we get tossed right in as three main characters are immediately introduced driving to a party (the one from the original title, in fact) with a jack-o-lantern perched so precariously on top of their car that I question what sort of magic kept it there. Perhaps some sort of glue that has its sanity questioned quite often? Oh well, as I was saying, Stooge, Roger, and Helen here are on their way to the party. After Stooge shows his (thankfully covered) ass to an old man, another character is introduced with Sal scaring the shit out of the old man and just generally being a dick. Judy, the virgin of our story, arrives and offers to help the old man but he acts like a huge dick and I feel myself being a lot less sorry for him. Actually, he also implies he's going to put razorblades into apples to hand out to kids, so this old man is kinda messed up.

"After I shave these apples, I'll really teach those kids a lesson!"
Judy stomps home and avoids her 80s mom so she can go get ready to go to the big dance with that dreamboat, Jay. But not before her brother scares her and comments on her bra size. It's nice to see little brothers being perverts seems to be a universal theme...wait, no it isn't! I'm a little brother! You listen here, movie, I never once hid in my sister's closet and talked about her breast size. Sure, I might've let her dress me up like a pretty princess from time to time, but that's neither here nor there. My childhood crossdressing aside, the show must go on. She shoos her brother away and talks to Jay on the phone where he tells her that he has a line on a party that's much better than any ol' stupid dance and convinces her to go. Who's throwing the party? The school's resident goth girl, Angela.

With the help of her good friend's ass.
Sal shows up at Judy's house where her brother tells him the night's festivities has moved locales to Hull House, because dancing is for communists. Sal takes his mask and we see Suzanne's ass. You know, the one I've reference twice already. It turns out that we're seeing Linnea Quigley's shapely bottom because she is using it to distract the clerks while Angela steals party supplies. This is the sort of plan that I feel would only really work in movies set in a time where not all convenience stores had cameras. But, work it does, as they leave for the party and I am left thinking about Linnea Quigley's blowjob technique after a certain comment flows from her lips about sour balls. Trust me, it all makes sense in context.

Unlike Ms. Quigley's vagina skin flap from another famous horror film. That makes no sense at all.
Jay picks Judy up and they then pick up the remainder of our cast, Max and Frannie, before departing for the festivities at Hull House. Along the way, Stooge and company have gotten sidetracked by flat tire and it just so happens that while Stooge has a spare tire, he does not have a jack. The others spy them alongside the road, so they decide to stop and...be complete dicks, leaving them on the side of the road. Pleeeeaaaase, kill them, movie. Please. I know you're going to let Judy live, but fuck the other three. I don't even care if Frannie is cute, just kill them, because that sort of dickery needs to be rewarded with some serious demon delivered death. After everyone makes it to the party, it's decided that since the house is rumoured to be haunted that they should hold a seance. They all look into a mirror together and it shatters after the long forgotten Sesame Street demon appears in it.

Hey, kids! The letter for today is D for demonic possession. Let's sing about it!
Helen freaks out, because she was lucky enough to see the floating demon skull, and it showed her her own dead body before shattering. Roger, our resident black gentleman, volunteers to get the fuck out with her, as he is undoubtedly aware of how long people with a darker skintone fair in horror films. Angela is pretty freaked too, but Suzanne is there to keep her from jetting too, as she says you shouldn't bail on your own party. Also, she's possessed by a demon. Plot twist! The others continue celebrating, even with Judy, Jay, Max, and Fannie all going to explore. And Suzanne comes onto Stooge to spite Sal, because demons don't like Italians. She also makes out with Angela, which means she's possessed now too. Stooge escorts Suzanne to the bathroom, where he was hoping to share his little pork sausage with her, but she locks him out and he's left needed to piss and with balls bluer than Dr. Manhattan. That's alright though, as Angela also seems to want a little pork.

She bites his tongue off, which I think is how cannibals french kiss.
Meanwhile, as this has all been going on Judy leaves Jay high and dry (as she's our virgin), Max and Fannie have coffin sex and get offed by demon Stooge, Sal finds Suzanne drawing on herself with lipstick (but misses her magic trick where she jams it into her nipple), and Jay tries to get the lipstick covered possessed girl to fuck him but instead get's his eyes gouged out. Groovy. Outside Roger and Helen can't get out, as the gate has disappeared and now there's nothing but a tall brick wall around the house. They get separated and Roger hides in Angela's car until Helen's dead body startles the shit out of him. Roger runs into Sal inside and they manage to get Judy out of the room Jay left her locked inside of just in time to see Angela gliding towards them in full demonic form. I gotta say, definitely one of the coolest looking demons in film.

At least until the sequel made her even more of a dentist's nightmare.
They continue trying to elude the demons, Sal sacrifices himself to save Judy, and Roger panics like crazy as they're locked in the crematorium. They do manage to get back outside, ultimately having to climb barb wire hanging  on the wall, and finally see the demons banished as Halloween comes to an end. We see them then making the long walk home, passing by the same asshole old man for earlier, who then goes in as his wife serves him some apple pie she made from scratch. Apple pie made from the apples he bought for the trick or treaters. See where this is going?

Granny Smith's Revenge!
Yeah, fuck that old bastard, at least our heroes made it out. Sure, they're a bit traumatized now, but at least they're alive. I bet that's something Roger didn't see coming. But what about poor Angela and her ruined party? Don't you worry, she gets to throw two more in the sequels. And with more sexual innuendo too! Suck a golf ball through a hose? How about being able to suck bullets out of a loaded gun? Oh yeah, that's classy. All jokes aside, I really dig these movies. They all have that distinct 80s vibe (even though two were made in the 90s) and really have some great practical effects work in them courtesy of Steve Johnson. He really put his heart and soul into this too, as it was his first film where he was the lead on the effects rather than simply being a part of an effects crew. The actors all, while not exactly Shakespearean thespians, do a good job in their roles with Amelia Kincade definitely being the standout as Angela, a role she reprises in the following two sequels. I also found Alvin Alexis as Roger quite charming too, which made me even happier to see him survive as I am used to seeing favourite characters die.

I am still emotionally distraught over a very particular character's death.
The director, Kevin S. Tenney, really seemed to have fun with this too and gave the film a life and feel that really seemed to make the series stand out enough that it didn't fall into obscurity. Scream Factory's release of this film is particularly beautiful, not only giving us a great high definition remastering of the original film, but also giving us a documentary on the film and plenty of extra features to keep a fan busy for hours. I know it kept me busy. As a horror film, it still is a very entertaining watch from beginning to end, although it doesn't really reinvent the wheel. It's a perfect film to watch alongside the Evil Dead films and definitely holds up in ways that many cheaply made horror films today will not. If you love demons and seeing teenagers die, go pop this one in. You won't regret it. So, until I get invited to Angela's next big get together, I'll be here muttering incoherently to myself as I write silly articles for your entertainment. Later days, bleeders.

And remember to keep your hands to yourself, please.

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