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
Music by Dennis Michael Tenney
Cinematography David Lewis
Edited by Daniel Duncan
Distributed by
Release date
  • October 14, 1988 (1988-10-14)
Running time
87 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $3.1 million (US)[1]

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 stars William Gallo, Hal Havins, Amelia Kinkade, Cathy Podewell, and Linnea Quigley as high school seniors partying inside an isolated mortuary called Hull House. When they play a séance as a party game inside and unknowingly unlocks a demon that was locked in the crematorium, the demonic spirit begins to possess some of the partying teenagers and the remaining victims try to survive the night from being trapped inside Hull House.

Filming took place in South Central Los Angeles for two months, and the film was released on October 14, 1988. During its theatrical run, Night of the Demons successfully grossed $3 million against its $1 million budget. While initially reviews were negative, later reception grew more positive and has became a cult film in later years since its release.


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 mysteriously disappears, forcing Roger to lock himself in Angela's car. Roger runs back in the house after Helen's dead body lands on top of the car. 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, which Sal finds to be too weird and leaves. Stooge is 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. He finds Suzanne in another room with her breast out and lipstick all over her face. Jay angrily begins having rough sex with her before Suzanne gouges out his eyes, 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."




  • 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"


The film was picked up for theatrical release by Paragon Arts International.[2] Rather than a nationwide release, it was released regionally; the film debuted in the Detroit market on September 9, 1988[3] 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.[4] 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.


On Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a 44% approval rating and an average of 4.7/10 based on eight reviews.[5] The Washington Post criticized the film as "a convergence of stereotypes ... and cliche's".[6] 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".[7]

The film has since gained a cult following from horror fans over the years.[8] 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".[9] called Night of the Demons one of the 80’s great legacies in horror".[10] DVD Talk praised the film's 2004 DVD release, but stated that the director and producer commentary was "seemingly stodgy".[11] Dread Central stated, "It's fun. Lively. A masterpiece, it's not."[12] Bloody Disgusting praised the film's DVD release, calling it "the perfect DVD for all fans of this lost era: 'The Eighties Horror Film'."[13] W. Scott Poole of PopMatters called it "truly original" and wrote that the film blends elements of slasher films and zombie films.[14]


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.[15] This movie has attempted a Kickstarter campaign to produce its own sequel, but this has been unsuccessful.


  1. ^ "Night of the Demons (1988)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  2. ^ "Paragon Arts, which produced the horror film, is putting up $1,000,000 for prints and advertising on "Night Of The Demons."". Variety. July 27, 1988. Retrieved November 14, 2015. 
  3. ^ ""Night Of The Demons," newie from IFM/Paragon Arts, shook out $97,701 at 15 Detroit locations". Variety. September 14, 1988. Retrieved November 14, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Republic Pictures Home Video has acquired the U. S. vid rights to the Paragon Arts Ind. pic "Night Of The Demons."". Variety. May 10, 1989. Retrieved November 14, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Night of the Demons (1988)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 5, 2016. 
  6. ^ 'Night of the Demons' : (R) Washington Post
  7. ^ Night of the Demons (1988) New York Times
  8. ^ Gingold, Michael (2013-06-17). "Night of the Demons: After-Party is launched!". Fangoria. Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  9. ^ Free Flick of the Day: Night of the Demons Cinematical
  10. ^ Film Review: Night of The Demons (1988)
  11. ^ Night of the Demons: SE DVD Talk
  12. ^ Night of the Demons DVD Dread Central
  13. ^ Night of the Demons Bloody Disgusting
  14. ^ Poole, W. Scott (2014-02-11). "'Night of the Demons' Does Schlock Right". PopMatters. Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  15. ^ Night of the Demons Set to be Remade Film School Rejects

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