Night of the Demons (1988) – 2 out of 5
Well, it’s still October and I’m still watching silly horror films—because it’s really hard to find quality, actually scary ones. This time for my viewing I decided to jump back to the wilder, more cocaine fueled era of the 1980s and check out a little number called Night of the Demons (I know this is a cult classic but, surprisingly, I had never seen it in its entirety before). More than likely you’ve heard of it or are familiar with the famous scene of a girl (possessed by a demon) that pushes her lipstick into her breast—literally through and into it. It’s an absolutely pointless scene that does nothing to move the narrative forward and actually makes little sense to the overall product. It doesn’t create a sense of terror and it’s not really a scary moment…it’s just kinda confusing. However, that’s pretty much the oddities that are delivered in this one. So, let’s get started.
|Yep, she's got some demon in her. She needs some kind of all natural|
juice cleanse or some shit, I guess.
Well, it’s Halloween and the local teenagers want to party but they want the festivities to have a little darker edge to them. So, naturally, they decide to have the shindig at an abandon mortuary and, logically, they decide to throw a séance in order to awaken the demons and ghouls that haunted the area. Of course, this backfires and some of the kids become possessed and start to prey on the others. Now, the little innocent Judy (Cathy Podewell)—who didn’t even want to go to this party in the first place and wanted to go to a tamer one instead—must fight for her life and try to escape the monsters.
|Vanilla wafers: The snack food of choice for the cool kids.|
Night of the Demons is not a good movie at all but, instead, is one of those really fun, poorly made and terribly written bad movies that are fun to watch. The make-up effects aren’t too great, the acting is super over-the-top, there’s no real scares to speak of and it reeks of that 80s excess and a time when horror films were a young man’s place to find naked female bodies because the internet didn't exist yet—seriously, there is so much gratuitous nudity that this element alone becomes a walking/talking joke. However, with all this working against this being a genuinely entertaining movie, it ends up accidentally making it a fun movie in a completely different way.
|I guess if I looked like this if I was a demon I'd be pretty pissed off too.|
The entire film and story is just ripe for laughing at and riffing on. I already mentioned the nudity but you also are treated to a dead character that’s clearly moving at the end because the actor couldn’t stay still, an over-the-top cartoonish demon voice that sounds like it was lifted from a 80s Saturday morning cartoon and you also have one of the most amazing cowardly characters ever committed to film. One of the teens is named Roger (Alvin Alexis) and this character is constantly fleeing from the demons while leaving our final girl Judy in the dust. It happens so often and such a frequency that it basically becomes a running gag and it never stopped being funny to me. Sure, he does at one point do the right thing and finds the guts to help out Judy but, for the most part, his running away from danger while forgetting other survivors around him is pure comedic gold.
|The greatest coward to ever exist in film!|
Now, I don’t want to make it sound like I’m shitting all over this cult favorite among the horror fanatics out there because the film does offer up some genuinely good moments. While the story does feel tedious and the exposition is so lazily explain, the film actually has some fairly good practical gore effects and there is some shockingly great camera work going on. In all fairness, this movie didn’t have to have dynamic pans, zooms or even crane shots because it could have existed as a point-and-shoot affair due to the subject material and cliché nature of the story but having these excellent moments of truly captivating camera movements really stood out and helped make this film way more memorable with me. Forget the scene of a girl pushing lipstick into her boob, the camera work is the thing I’ll remember most of this movie.
|The 80s: A time where the "sexy Halloween costume" just didn't really|
exist in the way we know it now. And that's actually okay because those
sexy costumes are getting nuts.
I won’t act like I went into Night of the Demons expecting horror brilliance. With the title alone, I pretty much knew I was going to get something cheesy and the bits and pieces I’ve seen here and there throughout my life pretty much reinforced that expectation when I finally sat down to watch the complete feature. It’s a stereotypical low-budget 80s supernatural horror film and does exactly what you expect at every possible turn but it’s so unapologetically cliché and formulaic that it actually has a certain charm about it and is amusing to watch; although, I will admit, it’s not as strong as other bad movies I've seen that are out there.