Night of the Demons (1988 film)

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Night of the Demons
Night of the Demons poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKevin S. Tenney
Produced byJoe Augustyn
Written byJoe Augustyn
Starring
Music byDennis Michael Tenney
CinematographyDavid Lewis
Edited byDaniel Duncan
Production
company
  • Paragon Arts International
Distributed by
  • International Film Marketing
Release date
  • October 14, 1988 (1988-10-14)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Box office$3.1 million (US)[1]

Night of the Demons is a 1988 American supernatural horror film directed by Kevin S. Tenney, and written and produced by Joe Augustyn. The film stars Amelia Kinkade, Cathy Podewell, Linnea Quigley, William Gallo, and Hal Havins as high school seniors partying inside Hull House, an isolated funeral parlor. When they play a séance as a party game inside, they unknowingly release a demon locked in the crematorium which begins to possess the party-goers.

The film was shot in South Central Los Angeles, for two months. It was released on October 14, 1988, where it grossed $3 million. Although initial reviews were negative, its reception grew considerably more positive and has become a cult film since its release.[2]

Plot[edit]

Teenage outcast Angela Franklin and her friend Suzanne are throwing a party at Hull House, a mortuary abandoned from its gruesome past and rumored to be cursed by evil spirits. On the way there, Stooge, Helen and Rodger drive pass an elderly man who is carrying apples and razor blades. When Stooge taunts him by showing his buttocks out of the passenger window, the elderly man curses at them and says that "they'll get what they deserve."

Judy Cassidy and her boyfriend Jay Jansen pick up their friends, Max and Frannie, for the party. When they arrive, Judy's ex-boyfriend Sal Romero crashes the party. They start the party by dancing, but the radio dies out. Angela then holds a séance as a party game, but Helen screams when she sees a demon in the mirror foreshadowing her demise, and the mirror falls to the ground in pieces. The group suddenly hears thuds below them, and the demons frees itself from the crematorium to possess a distracted Suzanne. The group searches around the house, and the possessed Suzanne kisses Angela for the demon to manifest her too.

When Judy discovers that Jay only invited her to have sex, he abandons her in a room only for her to be apparently locked in. Rodger and Helen find no exit outside, but as she disappears and the demons call out his name he locks himself in the car. Stooge wanders with Suzanne to find a bathroom and he gets locked outside, where her face transforms and she smashes a mirror before disappearing. A confused Stooge finds Angela seductively dancing in front of the fireplace and begins to dance with her, but when they kiss she possesses him as she bites off his tongue. Meanwhile, Jay wanders off to find Suzanne in a bathroom with her breasts out and distorted lipstick all over her face and nipple. While they have sex, she reveals her demonic appearance to him and gouges his eyes. The possessed Stooge find Max and Frannie having sex in a coffin, and murders them both.

As Sal becomes horrified when he sees Angela putting her hands in the fire, Rodger is awoken from Helen's body crashing on the car. The two manage to free Judy, but are split up when the demonic Angela chases after them. Hiding from Angela, Sal and Judy discover Suzanne with Jay's body before Sal is thrown out of a window. Judy escapes and she evades the demons throughout the house. When she attempts to climb down and Angela tries to kill her, Sal appears to fight her off and they both fall off the roof, with Sal impaled on a spike. Judy and Rodger are chased by the demons, and they lock themselves in the crematorium. Just as Angela and Stooge break down the door, she uses a pipe funneling gas and ignites it to torch them.

They escape upstairs and are cornered by the demons, including a burnt Angela and Stooge, and the undead bodies of Suzanne, Jay, Max, Frannie and Sal. Rodger smashes through a window that leads them outside and they begin to climb up a wall by grabbing on the barbed wire around it, but the demons try to drag down Judy by her ankles. Rodger pulls her up and they escape over the wall, as the sun rises to banish the demons back to hell. A disturbed Rodger and Judy walk home and they pass by the elderly man, who watches them with disgust. He then enters his home to eat one of his wife's homemade pies, who used the apples that he placed the razor blades in. The blades slice through his throat and his wife approaches his dead body to kiss his head, saying "Happy Halloween, dear."

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Casting[edit]

Filming[edit]

  • Filming started on April 8, 1987 and ended on May 31, 1987.

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.[3] Rather than a nationwide release, it was released regionally; the film debuted in the Detroit market on September 9, 1988[4] 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.[5] 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]

On Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a 40% approval rating and an average of 4.7/10 based on eight reviews.[6] The Washington Post criticized the film as "a convergence of stereotypes ... and cliche's".[7] 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".[8]

In the years since its release, critical reception towards the film has grown more positive about the film. 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] HorrorNews.net 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]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Night of the Demons (1988)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  2. ^ Gingold, Michael (2013-06-17). "Night of the Demons: After-Party is launched!". Fangoria. Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  3. ^ "Paragon Arts, which produced the horror film, is putting up $1,000,000 for prints and advertising on "Night Of The Demons."". varietyultimate.com: Variety. July 27, 1988. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  4. ^ ""Night Of The Demons," newie from IFM/Paragon Arts, shook out $97,701 at 15 Detroit locations". varietyultimate.com: Variety. September 14, 1988. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  5. ^ "Republic Pictures Home Video has acquired the U. S. vid rights to the Paragon Arts Ind. pic "Night Of The Demons."". varietyultimate.com: Variety. May 10, 1989. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  6. ^ "Night of the Demons (1988)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  7. ^ 'Night of the Demons' : (R) Washington Post
  8. ^ Night of the Demons (1988) New York Times
  9. ^ Free Flick of the Day: Night of the Demons Cinematical
  10. ^ Film Review: Night of The Demons (1988) HorrorNews.net
  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

External links[edit]