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
Production
company
Paragon Arts International
Republic Pictures
Distributed by International Film Marketing
Metro-Goldwyn Mayer
Release dates
  • 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 is a 1988 American supernatural 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 was locked in the crematorium. Filming took place in South Central Los Angeles, California, United States, and lasted for two months.

Released on October 14, 1988, the film successfully grossed 3 million against its 1 million budget. While reviews were initially negative, later reviews were more favorable and has became a cult classic by horror fans in the years since its release.

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 who is carrying apples and razor blades.

Judy and her boyfriend, Jay, pick up their friends, Max and Frannie, for the party. Sal Romero, another teen, also comes and crashes the party. The house is rumored to be cursed with evil spirits. When Angela holds a séance as a party game, Helen sees a demon's face in the mirror, which causes the mirror to shatter. This prompts a demon to come out of the crematorium furnace and possess Suzanne.

The possessed Suzanne kisses Angela, passing the demon to her. Moments later, Judy discovers that Jay only invited her to the party to have sex with her. She refuses him and is abandoned by him. Roger and Helen are unable to find an exit. Helen leaves Roger in the car, after which she is killed by a demon. 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, Stooge goes to find Angela seductively dancing in front of the fireplace. Stooge is then turned on by her and begins to make out with Angela. She then rips his tongue out, he then is now possessed by demons. The party goers are then picked off one by one by the increasing number of demon possessed people. Max and Frannie are killed by a now-possessed Stooge. Jay wanders off from leaving Judy alone after finding he won't be having sex with her; Finds Suzanne in the bathroom with her breast out and lipstick all over her face and nipple. He then makes an advance on her; while having sex she exposes her self as a demon and gouges his eyes out, killing him.

Roger, Sal and Judy attempt to escape the demons after being chased by them throughout the house. When Judy is climbing down the roof, Angela tries to get her, but Sal struggles with her and both fall. Sal is killed after landing on a spike. Judy and Roger end up in the mortuary's crematorium, where they discover that the demons will go back to Hell when the night is over and then use fire to keep the demons at bay. The two attempt to escape and are instead chased by various demons throughout the house again. They manage to make it out of the house and climb the wall using the barbed wire. Judy is almost caught by the demons, but is then saved by Roger 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 from the first scene. The elderly man goes into his house and begins to eat one of his wife's homemade apple pies that she made with the apples into which he had stuck razor blades. The razor blades cut through his throat as they kill him. The woman kisses his head and says, "Happy Halloween dear."

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Music[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"

Release[edit]

The film was picked up for theatrical release by Paragon Arts International.[1] Rather than a nationwide release, it was released regionally; the film debuted in the Detroit market on September 9, 1988[2] and went throughout the country until June 1989, grossing a total of $3,109,904.

Republic Pictures purchased the VHS home video rights for the film in May 1989.[3] Anchor Bay Entertainment released it to DVD in 2004; Scream Factory (under license from current rights holder MGM) released a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack collector's edition on February 4, 2014.

Reception[edit]

Currently on Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a 38% approval rating with an average of 4.7/10 based on 8 reviews.[4] Initial critical reception to the film was predominantly negative, with The Washington Post criticizing the film as "a convergence of stereotypes ... and cliche's".[5] 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".[6]

Later reviews have been more positive, with praise regarding the special-effects, unintentional humour, cinematography, and music, while criticism was regarding the acting and narrative. The film has also gained a cult following from horror fans over the years. Cinematical wrote 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' subgenre of horror".[7] HorrorNews.net called Night of the Demons one of the 80’s great legacies in horror".[8] DVD Talk praised the film's 2004 DVD release, but stated that the director and producer commentary was "seemingly stodgy".[9] Dread Central stated, "It's fun. Lively. A masterpiece, it's not."[10] Bloody Disgusting praised the movie's DVD release, calling it "the perfect DVD for all fans of this lost era: “The Eighties Horror Film”."[11]

Sequels[edit]

The film was followed by the sequels Night of the Demons 2 (1994) and Night of the Demons 3 (1997). The second film was also written by Joe Augustyn (co-storied by James Penzi) but directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith. The third film 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. A remake of the movie was also released in 2009.[12] This movie has attempted a Kickstarter campaign to produce its own sequel, but this has been unsuccessful.

References[edit]

External links[edit]