Thursday, October 1, 2009

October Horror Fest #1: NIGHT OF THE DEMONS

This 1988 classic was a welcome departure from the repetitive slasher flicks that were dominating the horror genre at the time. The plot was simple enough: group of horny high school kids decide to have a Halloween party in abandoned, possibly haunted funeral home. Seance occurs. Demoniacal hijinks ensue!

The story isn't exactly original; it's been done before, and plenty of times since. What sets Night Of The Demons apart is some good cinematography, several memorable characters, decent acting and, most importantly, great special effects. There was actually a bit of controversy surrounding the movie; hard to believe now, but it was turned down by just about every U.S. film distributor due to its violence and gore. The release was pushed back from September to October until a European distributor picked it up. The gore in the movie will seem extremely tame to any horror fan these days, but at the time its notoriety just amped up ticket sales. It was moderately successful and led to 2 decent sequels...and the inevitable remake, which comes out this month.

Now unless you get really frightened by scary movies, Night Of The Demons isn't going to be keeping you up at night. Like most 80s horror flicks, this works best with a group of friends and alcohol. There are some classic lines ("Yeah, man, eat a bowl of fuck! I came to party!") and exchanges, like this one in a 7-11 before the party:

Suzanne: Do you guys have Sour Balls?
Convenience Store Clerk: Why sure we do.
Suzanne: Too bad. I bet you don't get many blow jobs!

Suzanne is played by the aforementioned Linnea Quigley, so you know what to expect there. There's also a somewhat random demon-possessed dance sequence set to a Bauhaus song. Did I mention this was an 80s movie?

This really is a notch above most other horror flicks of the time. The production value is high despite a modest ($1.2 million) budget; Hull House, the haunted setting for the party, is convincing and actually pretty scary. Plus the token black kid doesn't die first, or even second! Keep an eye out for the mean old guy with the apples. He gets what's coming to him.

(Watch the whole thing on Youtub
e here.)

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