BLU-RAY REVIEW OF
NIGHT OF THE DEMONS
To say that I was impress with what Shout Factory/Scream Factory did with their Blu-Ray upgrade on the 1988 horror classic, Night Of The Demons, is an understatement. The film looks great in 1080p HD and they packed so many special features onto the disc that it makes one wonder why so many people are constantly saying that physical media is dead? Sure the way we view our TV and movies now has changed as we fall more into a digital world where everything is at our finger tips. But this disc (among many others that are now seeing the light of day thanks to companies like Shout Factory, Blue Underground and Vinegar Syndrome) really have me thinking that we as a society shouldn’t be so fast to dismiss the old and rush in the new.
To a collector, there is nothing better than having a hard-copy of your favorite movie on the shelf beside all of your other movies. You admire that collection as if it’s your baby. You stand back and gaze over the endless colorful DVD/Blu-Ray’s (or VHS- for us serious collectors) that fill up your shelves or in some cases, walls, of your home. Like a child or a pet, you want to nurture it, feed it, and help it grow so that it is the envy of all your family and friends. But what makes any collection better, more unique, is when a re-issue of a cult movie comes out and is packed with behind the scenes features, interviews, making of documentary, still photos, trailers, and commentary’s by the cast and crew. Any serious movie collector knows what I’m talking about here, we eat this stuff up. Anyone who is just a “watcher” of movies, and not a “collector” of movies will not understand how important a good Blu-Ray and their special features are to us.
Night of the Demons is no exception to this. It is ABSOLUTLY GREAT in every sense of the word when it comes to a Special Edition Blu-Ray, and it is a must have for any serious horror collector to add to their library of films.
So…anyone reading this that doesn’t know about Night of the Demons is sure missing out on one hell of a classic horror movie. But fret not dearest movie lover, you’ll be brought up-to-date with this gem of the 80’s right now. **SPOILERS AHEAD** (but not too many)
Night of the Demons (Directed by Kevin S. Tenny) is set in a run-down crematorium/mortuary called Hull House. On Halloween Night (the original title to the movie was Halloween Party, but the producers were forced to change the name because of pressure from Halloween film producer, Mustapha Akkad, not liking the resemblance to his movies) ten friends plan a party at Hull House, but their fun is short-lived as a séance soon unleashes a demon that has been trapped inside the walls.
The film has a very spooky cartoon credit sequence that reminds me of a pop-up book I read as a kid called, ‘The Things In Mouldy Mannor’ by Kenneth Moseley, and it really sets the vibe and tone for the movie you are about to watch. The Film opens with Stooge, Helen, and Roger driving to a party thrown by Angela and her slutty friend Suzanne (played by Scream Queen Linnea Quiggly) at Hull House. Most of the characters are clichés with the obnoxious beer-drinking Stooge, the demure Helen, and token black kid Roger - who is afraid of everything, including going to Hull House that night for a party. And then you have good-girl heroine, Judy, and her hornier-than-hell 80’s yuppie boyfriend Jay. Judy and Jay are picked up by Max and Frannie for the party. But Sal Romero, the local bad boy, finds out where the party is being thrown and comes to crash it. Hull House is rumored to be cursed with evil spirits (of course it is) and when Angela holds a séance as a party game, Helen sees a demon's face in the mirror, which causes the mirror to shatter and unleash the demon. Now free, the demon possesses Suzanne and the Night of the Demons really begins.
The story unfolds slowly but at a fun pace, allowing us to get to know these characters a little bit – even if all of them are a cliché – before any demon activity happens. Each actor (and most of them admitted that this was their first serious job, with exception to Linnea Quiggly, so don’t expect great acting) does bring something special to their roll and tries to make it their own. Fans of Linnea Quiggly take note: she has a famous introduction into this movie – no spoilers here – but for those guys (and maybe gals too) who have not seen the movie should so right for Quiggly’s introduction scene alone – you won’t be upset!
After Suzanne is possessed, the kids split up to explore the house. Judy finds that Jay only wants her for sex, forcing her to push him away only to be left behind in the labyrinth of the house by herself. Suzanne kisses Angela, passing the demon into her as well. Stooge wanders off to find a bathroom with Suzanne, after the passing of the demon to Angela, and is irritated when she locks him out. Inside the bathroom, we begin to see Suzanne’s transformation into the demon and then she disappears.
The Special Effects in this movie were done by Steve Johnson (Species, Lord of Illusions) who did a wonderful job with the FX on the budget he had to work with, and this was his first solo job after opening his own shop. The look of the demons in this movie are fantastic and have a very fresh feel to them; they don’t resemble The Exorcist make-up at all, which is a good thing as this movie isn’t as heavy in mood or tone as The Exorcist – in fact this is a FUN movie to watch, despite all the gore and demon stuff. There is a memorable scene that again includes Linnea Quiggly, a tube of lipstick, and her bare breasts that one has to see to believe and wonder how it was done, especially for the 1988 time period where there was no CGI – I won’t divulge any secrets here.
Confused after finding Suzanne has disappeared, Stooge goes to find Angela and is promptly killed and possessed by the demon. The party goers are then picked off one by one by the increasing number of demon possessed people, al-la Night of The Living Dead style. Jay is gruesomely murdered during a sexual encounter with Suzanne (again this is a fan boy’s wet dream) and Steve Johnson’s FX are masterful here, showing his true talent. Max and Frannie are doing the hump de hump in a coffin and are dispatched by the now-possessed Stooge.
With only Roger, Sal and Judy left they attempt to escape the demons. Sal is killed after he falls off a roof and lands on a spike trying to save Judy from the possessed Angela. Judy and Roger attempt to escape but are instead chased by all the demons throughout the house. They manage to make it out of the house just in time to see the sun rise – which is the only thing that can stop the demons and banish them back to Hell.
The film is shot beautifully and really captures a creepy haunted house vibe with lots of smoke, dust, and an excellent spooky Hull House set design. The movie never really takes itself too seriously, and is a lot of fun to watch with witty dialog, cheesy characters, and creepy demons that make this film a must for anyone who loves this time period in horror history. The gore is outstanding and there is a lot of it. The suspense is thick and there are a few good jump scares thrown in along the way that will have you coming out of your seat. Along with nudity (plenty of it), foulmouthed teens, and demons chasing and possessing pretty teens what more could one ask for from a movie called Night of the Demons? It has a straight from the late 80’s horror movie feel to it, but it hasn’t really dated itself all that much in twenty-five years since it release back in 1988 like some films of the same time period have.
The Blu-Ray transfer is AMAZING in 1080p HD, making the VHS copy of the film look like some high school student’s video project in comparison. For the first time, viewers of the film get to really see all the rich detail that went into the production and the effects. The shots are spooky and filled with smoke and shadows that really create the frightening atmosphere for the movie and give it a downright chilling vibe. With a budget of only 800,000 to 1 million, Keven S. Tenny did a wonderful job in bringing Night of the Demons to life on the screen for all of us to enjoy for years and years to come.
This Unrated Special Edition Blu-Ray comes loaded with special features that include: two commentary tracks. The first is with (director) Keven S. Tenny, (actors) Cathy Podwell, Hal Havins, Billy Gallow, and (FX artist) Steve Johnson. The second commentary track is with (director) Kevin S. Tenny and (producers) Walter Josten and Jeff Geoffray. There is a wonderful making of/retrospective documentary with cast and crew. Promo Reel. Video Trailer. Theatrical Trailer. TV and Radio Spots. Still gallery (again a must see for Linnea Quiggly fans). Let me not forget about the Blu-Ray cover! You can flip it over to have the original VHS box art if you so choose. Anyone who remembers the original VHS box remembers the tag line for the film: Angela is having a party. Freddy and Jason are too scared to come…but you’ll have a HELL of a time! Fun stuff!
Ten out of Ten stars for this wonderful Blu-Ray re-issuing of Night of The Demons from Shout/Scream Factory!
Pick up your copy at www.thecrimsonscreen.com today!