Horror for Halloween: Night of the Demons (1988)

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We may have run out of letters of the alphabet, but we’ve still got enough days in this spook-tacular month to recommend some great Halloween viewing for you. If anything, the film I’m here to talk about tonight is one of THE  Halloween Night movies, even though it may not be as big as your Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Halloween. I’m sad to say that I just watched this film for the first time, so I’m in full-on “EVERYBODY MUCH WATCH THIS!!” mode. As the title may hint at, I’m here to tell you about the late-80’s ghoul fest Night of the Demons. Why exactly should you take time out of your spooky night to check this one out? As usual, I’ve got three reasons for you right here.

  1. It’s Pure Popcorn Entertainment

The aspect of this film that makes it so perfect for Halloween night viewings is that not only does it work as a fun watch by yourself, it’ll also grab your attention if you’re sitting around with your friends. Nowadays, even when you’re watching a good flick at home with your friends, the cellphones always come out. Night of the Demons is so full of great Special FX and scares and fun that it has the power to totally capture any viewer in the room–especially those in the Halloween spirit. It’s a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it’s made by a team of people who actually gave a shit about making a fun movie. Particularly the film’s opening and closing scenes are particularly twisted hilarity. Sure, the dialogue isn’t always the best, but especially when we get in that second half it turns into a nonstop roller coaster ride of a film–like Disney’s The Haunted Mansion ride on crack. Whether it’s the villainous demons causing mischievous or the fantastic special FX, there’s always something malicious catching your attention. Speaking of fantastic special FX….

2. Fantastic Special FX 

You may be already yelling at me through your computer that there are plenty of fantastic looking horror movies out there, but this film had a particular effect on me. The make up in this film–while not ever overshadowing the whole ride–adds so much to not only the fun, but the horror as well. Seeing the disgusting demons is fun shlock, but there are some deaths in this that suuuuuck. I don’t mean that they’re poorly done deaths, I mean that the movie stops being fun for a second so I can recoil in fear and say “Oh SHIT!”. Without spoiling the goodies, there are terrifyingly effective scenes such as a character burning her own hands, there’s a terrific eye gouging, then there’s of course one disgusting bit involving a fake boob. To me, perfect Halloween viewing is something that gives you a mixture of scares and cheers, which is exactly what you get from the Special FX mixing with the film’s perfect tone.

 

3. Unexpected Character Fates

With a film like this, you’d think that you could tell what’s going to happen to everyone based on the tropes that they take on. Actually, the filmmakers here kind of subvert that. They set up the cliches, but each character has a little extra layer of grime to them that makes them so much fun to hate, plus we get plenty of unexpected turns. We start out assuming that our Final Girl is going to be our main protagonist throughout and her blind date will be the douche who redeems himself by becoming the hero at the end. This is not what happens at all, throughout the film they not only give you the idea that “Oh, this person is going to become a main cha-NOPE!” but there are also plenty of people who you expect to die right away, but end up making it to the end of the movie. I even love that the Angela character may be on the poster, but the demon to me that steals the show is Suzanne. That moment pictured above is my favorite scene of hers, just coming off as that kind of fun-scary that I love to see in my demons. The whole unexpected nature to the character fates make the film even more engaging, you’re constantly looking to see who is going to get it next.

The days to Halloween are ticking down, so I’d say take the opportunity to make this the next movie you watch, but even if you don’t cram it into your Halloween viewing (although you should) I’d say that you should still go out of your way to check it out. It’s constantly fun, filled with great shocks and scares, showcases fantastic Special FX and even takes some fun character turns. Plus, I love horror films with that “Rock’n’Roll Horror” attitude, which this film carries the whole time. Hell, I’d tell you to watch this for the Prologue/Epilogue arc alone. No matter how long I write about this, I’ll never do it justice–WATCH THIS MOVIE! WATCH IT NOW! (It’s streaming for free on Vudu.com–just saying).

 

About Mike Annerino 25 Articles
Horror has always kind of loomed over me without becoming a big influence on my life until a few years ago. I sort of always accidentally fell into a horror film-viewing experience, at parties or friends houses and such, but I always had this secret love with fear, found something fun and fascinating about it. These past few years I’ve been playing catch up and discovering everything I’ve missed in horror, a genre that is constantly being inventive and fun to watch. The embodiment of nightmares, which gives way for infinite possibilities. It’s easily become my favorite genre