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
  • Paragon Arts International
Distributed by
  • International Film Marketing
Release date
  • October 14, 1988 (1988-10-14)
Running time
90 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 Amelia Kinkade, Cathy Podewell, Linnea Quigley, William Gallo, and Hal Havins as high school seniors partying inside an isolated funeral parlor called Hull House. When they play a séance as a party game inside, they unknowingly release a demon that was locked in the crematorium and the spirit begins to possess some of the inhabiting party-goers while the remaining victims try to survive the night trapped inside.

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 initial reviews upon release were negative, later reception grew considerably more positive and has become a cult film since its release.[2]


Teenage outcast Angela Franklin and her friend Suzanne are throwing a party at Hull House, an abandoned local mortuary which is rumored to be cursed by evil spirits and remained isolated for years by its gruesome history; the carnal-like owner of Hull House and his inhabiting family were all murdered on Halloween night by one of the relatives turned insane, before the latter committed suicide. On the way there, Stooge, Helen, and Rodger drive pass an elderly man who is carrying apples and razor blades; Stooge shows his rear out of the car's windows at him, and the old man curses at them telling that "they will get what they deserve".

Judy Cassidy and her boyfriend Jay Jansen pick up their friends, Max and Frannie, for the party. Unknown to them, Sal Romero, an ex-boyfriend of Judy, comes along and crashes the party. They begin the party by dancing, but the radio suddenly dies out. Angela then holds a séance as a party game, but when Helen sees a demon in the mirror that foreshadows her death, she screams and the mirror falls down by itself to pieces. From this, the teenagers hear sudden thuds from below them, and the demon frees itself out of the crematorium to possess a distracted Suzanne.

As the rest investigate and search the house, the possessed Suzanne kisses Angela, and the demon manifests her too. Moments later, Judy discovers that Jay only invited her to the party to have sex with her, but when she refuses him Jay abandons her and she apparently gets locked inside the room. Outside, Rodger and Helen are unable to find an exit when they try to leave in Angela's car, but when she disappears he hears the spirits calling out his name and he locks himself in the car. When Stooge wanders off to find a bathroom with Suzanne and is irritated when she locks him out, inside her mouth transforms and smashes a mirror before disappearing. Confused, Stooge goes to find Angela seductively dancing in front of the fireplace. He begins to dance with her and kisses her, but she then bites off his tongue as she possesses him. As Rodger awakens in horror from the discovery of Helen's body on the car, Sal is also terrified when the possessed Angela puts her hands in the fire.

When Jay wanders off from Judy Soon after finding he won't be having sex with her, he finds Suzanne in the bathroom with her breast out and distorted lipstick all over her face and nipple. When he has sex with her, she exposes herself as a demon and gouges his eyes out, killing him. As Max and Frannie are having sex inside one of the coffins, the now-possessed Stooge appears from the shadows and snaps Frannie's neck before killing Max. Rodger and Sal group together to escape with them freeing Judy out of the locked room, and they are split up when the demonically floating Angela chases after them. In the process, Judy and Sal discover Suzanne with Jay's gouged corpse, and he is thrown out of the window. Evading the demons around the house, she climbs down the roof where Angela tries to kill her, but Sal appears just in time to distract Angela, and they both fall off the roof, but Sal is killed when he lands on a spike. Judy and Rodger are then chased by the demons into the mortuary's crematorium, in which they learn that the spirits will go back to Hell when the night is over, but as Angela and Stooge break the door down, Judy breaks one of the pipes funneling gas and using the lighter she kept earlier, lights it up and uses it as a makeshift flamethrower, setting Stooge and Angela on fire and saving Roger's life.

Upstairs, the two are circled by the undead corpses of Jay, Max, Frannie, and Sal, but Rodger smashes through a window that leads them outside. Rodger thinks they are safe, but Judy realizes that they need to cross the underground river to be safe. They begin to climb up the wall using the barbed wire, but the demons appear outside and they try and drag Judy down by her ankles. She escapes just in time and they get over the wall, just in time to see the sun rise and banish the demons back to Hell.

Rodger and Judy slowly walk home in a state of shock, passing by as the elderly man watches them in disgust. The elderly man goes into his house and begins to eat one of his wife's homemade apple pies that she made, in which she had used the apples that he had stuck razor blades in. Just then, the razor blades cut through his throat as they kill him. The woman then walks over his body to kiss his head, and says "Happy Halloween dear".





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


  • 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.[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.


On Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a 44% 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] 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. ^ 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."". 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". 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."". 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)
  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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