Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Night of the Demons
Eat a bowl of fuck! I am here to PARTY!
Jarv’s Rating: 2 and a half Changs out of 4. Good dirty fun, more juggs than you can shake a stick at (and some minky as well- honestly, getting the pictures was really tough for this one), lots of lovely gore and several hugely entertaining kills. Also atrociously acted and eventually becomes quite monotonous.
I’d really like to try to write an adult, considered, well-reasoned review about this film. Except there’s no point. This is a slice of solid eighties schlock that’s mostly remarkable for a quite stupendous amount of boob on display. A really, really stupendous amount of utterly gratuitous boob on display, actually. Therefore, I’m completely and utterly incapable of addressing the various merits, or lack thereof, of this film, having instead regressed into being a teenager snickering away at the back. I’ll give it my best shot, because I’m a consummate professional, but I warn you now that it’s probably not going to happen.
Night of the Demons inexplicably spawned a franchise and a remake. I’m not really sure why. It’s very simple, and pretty generic- we all know the story for these kind of films: stupid kids break into somewhere they shouldn’t, one gets possessed, the rest get taken out one by one in entertainingly messy ways, culminating in one or two survivors escaping by the skin of their teeth. There’s nothing here that breaks from the well established formula. Nothing at all. Well, except for a quite astonishing amount of grubby sex, gratuitous and disturbing nudity…
Actually, that pretty much is also par for the course.
Where was I? Right, Night of the Demons is about a group of stereotypical teenagers (survivor girl, token black, fat asshole, kid from the wrong side of the tracks, goth, slut, preppie douchenozzle and so forth) who decide to throw a party on Halloween. The venue for this debauchery? The creepy local mortuary where there was a necrophiliac undertaker and everyone was slaughtered one Halloween years ago. Before you can say “Casper the Friendly Ghost is a cunt” Angela (goth) has broken out the silly séance and unwittingly summoned every demonic entity in the area to come and chow down on them. The teenagers are all messily killed one by one, there’s a lot of running around, before Token and Survivor Girl heroically escape by, er, climbing over the wall.
The acting here is OK-ish. Some perform better than others- notably Linnea Quigley as trashy slut-girl Suzanne (and she has probably the hardest scene in the film: the lipstick and inverted nipple bit), Amelia Kincaid is reasonable as Angela (and by default “head demon), Cathy Podewell (pre Dallas) is OK as uptight survivor girl Judy, and Hal Havins is completely OTT (in a good way)as “Stooge”. That’s as far as it goes, though- the rest of the acting is pretty crap with particular scorn reserved for laughable “wrong side of the tracks boy” Sal, dreadfully played with a dismal accent by Billy Gallo and whatever little turd played Judy’s brother. Horrible performance from the child actor- although the character himself is a truly aggravating little turd.
Writing-wise? Well, it’s OK. There’s some fucking hilarious lines in it (mostly from Stooge), and the demon-possession works as expected by numbers. The characters you expect to die do die- and even in the order that you expect them to go. The ending feels a touch lacklustre, because it is a touch lacklustre (it would have been infinitely better if Token had left Judy behind and legged it) as climbing over a wall is not exactly the most thrilling climax to a movie ever filmed.
Night of the Demons was directed by Kevin Tenney (who also made the mildly amusing Witchboard) and there are nods aplenty to other films. For example, the initial demon appearance is shown from a point of view shot following the camera through the mortuary in exact Evil Dead style. This is fine. It’s a reasonably well-directed movie, and he does manage to keep the interest high.
It’s also a fun film. There is so much unhygienic sex on display here that I really don’t know where to start, and in this film, sex really does equal death. Stooge goes off with Suzanne thinking he’s going to get some and ends up, quite literally, fucked. Judy’s uptight boyfriend lets Suzanne (again) hop on board, and he also (unsurprisingly) ends up fucked. However, highlight of the film is when Stooge finds two of the teenagers shagging in a coffin and crushes them to death. Hilarious and more than a little bit gross.
Which brings me on to the effects. There’s a huge amount of gore and makeup work here, and for the most part it’s pretty good. Quigley’s nipple scene that I alluded to earlier in particular is very effective. Fucking gross, but very effective. There really is more gore here than on a butcher’s floor, and it’s all handled gleefully and with a real sense of fun.
Overall, Night of the Demons is a fun time- the writing may be a bit clunky and obvious (particularly in these post-Scream days when we “know” all the rules to surviving a horror film) but this just gives you a chance to play “spot the corpse”. If several of these characters were in a war film, then they would have purchased life insurance, but left it unsigned at home having just heard that they’re wife is pregnant and departed with promises to return soon to see sick little Joey in hospital. It’s that unsubtle. However, who gives a fuck, really? The point of a film like this is that it is schlocky fun- there has to be buckets of blood, entertaining kills, nudity, and comic one-liners, and on this front Night of the Demons delivers in spades. I do kind of recommend it- with added beer, and this is going to be the start of a series when I finally finish Scanners so I’ll be doing all of them, I just find it surprising that a little film like this managed to spawn so many knock-offs and a remake.
Must be a pact with the Devil.
Until next time,