Night of the Demons (1988 film)

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Night of the Demons
Night of the Demons poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Kevin S. Tenney
Produced by Joe Augustyn
Written by Joe Augustyn
Starring William Gallo
Hal Havins
Amelia Kinkade
Cathy Podewell
Linnea Quigley
Music by Dennis Michael Tenney
Cinematography David Lewis
Edited by Daniel Duncan
Distributed by Republic Pictures
International Film Marketing
Skouras Pictures Metro-Goldwyn Mayer
Release date(s)
  • October 14, 1988 (1988-10-14)
Running time 87 minutes (Theatrical cut)
90 minutes (Unrated cut)
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1.2 million
Box office $3,109,904

Night of the Demons (also known as: Halloween Party) is a 1988 American horror film written and produced by Joe Augustyn and directed by Kevin S. Tenney. The film tells the story of ten high school seniors having a Halloween party in an isolated mortuary. Their party turns into a nightmare when after conducting a séance as a party game, they unlock the demon that remains locked in the crematorium. Filming of Night of the Demons took place in South Central Los Angeles, California, USA, and lasted for two months. Anchor Bay Entertainment released it to DVD in 2004; Scream Factory (under license from current rights holder MGM) will release a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack collector's edition on February 4, 2014.

The film was followed by the sequels Night of the Demons 2 (1994) and Night of the Demons 3 (1997), along with a remake in 2009.[1]

Plot[edit]

Stooge, Helen, and Roger are driving to a party thrown by outcast Angela Franklin and her friend Suzanne at Hull House, an abandoned local mortuary. The car passes by an elderly man. Once alone the elderly man shows that he is carrying apples and razor blades.

Judy returns home and discovers that her boyfriend Jay wants to attend Angela's party. She hesitates briefly, but agrees to attend. Jay, Max, and Frannie pick her up. Judy and her friends arrive at Hull House, where Max, one of the party goers tells Judy the legend of Hull House. The house is rumored to be cursed, with the evil spirits inside contained only by an underground stream that surrounds the building. During the party Judy tries and fails to light some candles.

The party stops when the radio's battery power dies, prompting Angela to hold a séance as a party game. Helen sees a demon's face and her dead body in the mirror, which causes the mirror to fall and shatter. This prompts a demon to come out of the crematorium furnace and possess Suzanne. Helen states that she wants to leave, a sentiment that is echoed by Roger and the two are given Angela's car keys. Jay and Judy wander off with some of the other party goers to explore the house.

The now-possessed Suzanne leaves with one of the male partiers, Stooge, but not before kissing Angela and passing the demon along to her. This leaves Sal and Angela alone. Meanwhile Jay and Judy have split from Max and Frannie, where Judy discovers that Jay only invited her to the party in order to have sex with her. She refuses him and is abandoned by Jay. Meanwhile, Roger and Helen are unable to find an exit. The two of them argue and Helen leaves Roger in the car, after which she is killed by an unknown demon. He is later frightened out of the car after seeing Helen's body hit the car's windshield.

Stooge wanders off to find a bathroom with Suzanne and is irritated when she locks him out. Inside the bathroom Suzanne ages and disappears into a mirror. Confused by her disappearance, Stooge goes back to the main room to find Angela. He is warned by Sal that she is acting erratically. Stooge ignores Sal's warning and after watching her perform a demonic dance, is promptly killed by Angela. The party goers are then picked off one by one by the increasing number of demon possessed people, Jay dying during a sexual encounter with Suzanne and Max and Frannie by a now-possessed Stooge.

Roger and Sal run into each other and agree that something wrong is going on. The two try to find a way out and in the process, discover Judy in the room Jay left her in. The three attempt to escape the demons and Sal is later killed after he falls off a roof and lands on a spike. Judy and Roger continue to run from the demons and end up in the mortuary's crematorium and use fire to keep the demons at bay. With the demons temporarily subdued, the two attempt to escape and are instead chased by various demons throughout the house. They manage to make it out of the house and Roger manages to climb over the brick wall using the barb wire hanging from it, but Judy is initially unsuccessful and is almost captured by the demons before she is rescued by Roger. The two make it over the wall just in time to see the sun rise and banish the demons back to Hell.

Roger and Judy slowly walk home in a state of shock, passing by the elderly man that had been harassed earlier in the film. The elderly man scowls at them and then goes into his house where he begins to eat one of his wife's home-made apple pies that she made with the apples into which he had stuck razor blades. The razor blades begin cutting through his throat as they kill him. The woman kisses his head and says "Happy Halloween dear" while sipping on her coffee.

Cast[edit]

Soundtrack[edit]

  • Bauhaus – "Stigmata Martyr"
  • Dennis Michael Tenney – "Main Title Theme"
  • Dennis Michael Tenney, Steve Ring, and Tim Wojan – "Computer Date"
  • Dennis Michael Tenney, Steve Ring, Rich Lowe, Paul Ojeda, and Bobby Thompson – "The Beast Inside"
  • Dennis Michael Tenney, Steve Ring, Rich Lowe, Paul Ojeda, and Bobby Thompson – "Victims of the Press"

Reception[edit]

Initial critical reception to the film was predominantly negative, with the Washington Post criticizing the film as "a convergence of stereotypes ... and cliche's".[2] The New York Times reported that "the cleverest thing about Night of the Demons is its advertising campaign" and that it "is stupid; it is sexist; at 89 minutes it feels unforgivably long".[3]

Later reviews have been more positive, with Cinematical writing that "while not particularly original, Tenney's film is definitely entertaining if you're into the whole "teens wander into an isolated locale and die horrible deaths" sub-genre of horror".[4] HorrorNews.net called Night of the Demons one of the 80′s great legacies in horror".[5] DVD Talk praised the film's 2004 DVD release, but stated that the director and producer commentary was "seemingly stodgy".[6] Dread Central reviewed the film, saying "It's fun. Lively. A masterpiece, it's not."[7] Bloody Disgusting praised the movie's DVD release, calling it "the perfect DVD for all fans of this lost era: “The Eighties Horror Film”."[8]

Sequels[edit]

Night of the Demons has spawned two sequels. The original film was first succeeded by Night of the Demons 2 (1994), also written by Joe Augustyn (co-storied by James Penzi) but directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith. Night of the Demons 3 was less well received by the critics, as they felt it had moved away from the terror of the original for the sake of dark humor.

References[edit]

External links[edit]