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NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (1988)
Directed by Kevin Tenney
Written by Joe Augustyn
Starring Amelia Kinkdale, Linnea Quigley, Billy Gallo, Lance Fenton, Cathy Podewell, Hal Havins
Just for the hell of it, I’d blow the dust off of one of the most fun Halloween movies ever made…NIGHT OF THE DEMONS.
”Eat a bowl of fuck!”
Some films aren’t meant to be fine art. Some are just meant to be plain fun. NIGHT OF THE DEMONS is such a film. Filled with sick sights and sounds and depraved kids doing awful things to one another all in the name of Halloween, this little film from the 80’s was quite the phenomenon in the late eighties.
I remember seeing NIGHT OF THE DEMONS in an old theater in my home town. They didn’t give a shit that my brother and I were under age and were happy to sit our still infantile asses in the theater seats while my mom shopped around the surrounding mall. Even back then, my brother and I knew we were seeing something special. Taking place on Halloween, a group of kids gather in an old house for a party. Though the budget appeared to be low and the acting leaves a lot to be desired, what makes NIGHT OF THE DEMONS stand out are the special effects and truly twisted script.
”Enjoy your lipstick, dollface.”
Effects wizard Steve Johnson really pulls out all of the stops here. This was the day and age of Fangoria, where effects wizards like Savini, Baker, and Bottin were worshipped as gods and a whole new generation of frightsters like Johnson and KNB Effects were just getting started. Johnson pulls off some amazing stuff in this film with full body appliances, full make-up demon faces, gory severed limbs, and burn sequences–all of which are captured on screen through the lens of Kevin Tenney, who lingers on each effect like highway drivers passing by a pileup. The scene that made NIGHT OF THE DEMONS most memorable, the scene where Scream Queen Linnea Quigley shoves lipstick into her boob while possessed, still remains as shocking as it was then and the imagery still is so good that you’ll wonder how they accomplished the task. If any film was made as a showcase reel for outstanding effects, it’s NIGHT OF THE DEMONS.
Aside from that, the late 80’s film serves as a product of its time, reflecting the voice of youth for that generation. Though not the smartest of scripts and with acting that leaves a lot to be desired, there’s something innocent about watching what these kids called partying in that time as they fire up the boom box, crack open cans of warm beer and dance in a circle in front of a fireplace. That’s not to say that the script doesn’t have its share of doozy lines (some of which I’ve incorporated into this review).
Mention must be made of the film’s stars: Amelia Kinkdale and Linnea Quigley, who play the hosts of the party. Kinkdale may not have the over-the-top role Quigley does with the lipstick boob and the eye gouging, but her performance as Angela is definitely iconic. Playing to the goth standard of today’s Twilighters, Kinkdale’s Angela is pure evil when she has to be. Both Kinkdale and Quigley soak in the horror proudly and wallow in it to the delight of all who view the film.
”How about an orgy? I’m sure if we try, we can get Jay hard again.”
NIGHT OF THE DEMONS is a perverse film with copious amounts of sex and violence, often incorporated together in the same scene (one couple even has sex in a coffin before being offed). Though its definitely not the first to pair pair with death, it does so with reckless abandon as if it did come up with the concept. This is no by the numbers film, but a dark one which has a lot of fun scaring the piss out of its viewers while at the same time not pulling punches. The especially wicked ending involving a crotchety old man who fall victim to his own Halloween prank is deviously delicious.