Director – Kevin Tenney
Cast – Alvin Alexis, Allison Barron, Lance Fenton, Billy Gallo, Hal Havins, Cathy Podewell, Linnea Quigley, Philip Tanzini, Jill Terashita
Release Year – 1988
Reviewed by John of the Dead
One of the better known of horror’s demon flicks, “Night of the Demons” is one of those that all true horror fans have either seen, or know about. Often compared with Lamberto Bava’s superior film, “Demons”, this film is sure to be a positive watch for fans of the demon horror sub-genre.
The film takes place on Halloween night, following 10 teens who head to a party at an abandoned funeral parlor with a very dark past. All is well until the host decides to turn up the fun by getting everyone in on a séance. Unfortunately for the young partygoers, they unleashed a demon who cannot be sent back to hell due to it being All Hollow’s Eve. Now the real party begins! One by one the teens become possessed by the demon, leaving a small group of survivors to fend off against their now possessed friends.
I’m a sucker for demon oriented films, and this being an 80s flick, I went into this film expected to be pleased with it. Although I did enjoy this film overall, I did find some faults with the film that I was not really expecting to come across. Maybe I went into this film with overly high hopes, but how could I not? This is an 80s horror film, about DEMONS, chomping away at a group of teens with nowhere to run! Read on.
I do not want this to come off as a negative review, so let’s get with the positives first. For starters, I really liked the film’s plot. It’s simple, but when it comes to these demon flicks all you need is a “nowhere to run” environment for the characters and the rest is up to the carnage the director implores. It’s that simple. Lamberto Bava and Dario Argento use this concept for “Demons” and “Demons 2” and found a highly respectable following with them(and good reviews from me).
The look of the demons in this film was sufficient, but came off a bit simplistic compared to other films. I’ll admit I was a tad bit disappointed but in the end it was enough, barely. Now the voices of the demons…I LVOED! As if the uber demonic voices were not enough, the dialogue the demons had was classic. Demonic voices uttering pure “cheeze” one-liners? Awesome.
Now onto the negatives. A lot of the negative feel I had with this film had to do simply with the writing and directing. For one, the pacing for this film lagged. For a 90 minute film it should NOT take 50 minutes for the first remote sign of demon action to kick in. “The Descent” had a long developmental period but that period was executed perfectly and never lost the viewer’s interest. It’s called good directing. There were then a few scenes in the film (no spoilers) that were outright STUPID, and not in that good cheezy kind of stupid. The ideas of the said scenes were cool, but they were not executed right and came out horrible. I was also a bit disappointed with the amount of gore in this flick. It didn’t need over-the-top gore, but when you see the little amount of gore in the film, you’ll see what I mean. Hell, even the “eye gouging” scene was sub-par.
Overall, this is a positive watch for the fans of these types of films. Some of you may enjoy this more than I did, because what I’ve say in no way means this is a bad film. Give this a shot if you are into these flicks and see what you think.