Halloween Endurance Test: Night of the Demons (1988)

Little did I suspect when I started the Halloween Endurance Test(s) years ago that I’d end up spending all my time tracking down films I had watched a million times in high school. Yet here I am. Watching Night of the Demons, wishing I was watching Night of the Demons 2, and still obsessively searching for Class of 1999.

“Bodacious boobies sis!”

I don’t remember this movie being this dirty so early and so often. Now, I do understand the need for horror movies to show skin. Skin and blood are horror movies’ two saving graces. But skin tempered by incest? In the first ten minutes? There’s a lot about this movie I missed back in the day.

Though not an eighties movie, this film still borrows heavily from that decade’s conventions. Read: an illegal Halloween party in a abandoned house, with one party-goer being an uncouth punk byway of Southern California. Complete with a sweatshirt with an anarchist A on the back! It’s as if he stepped right out of Return of the Living Dead, which he very well could have, considering co-“star” Linnea Quigley was in both. (His boombox has FEAR, TSOL, and Dead Kennedys stickers on it; though nothing it plays sounds anywhere near as interesting.)

(“Star” for the sheer mocking glee one gets when a supposed “scream queen” gets third billing in a cast of nobody.)

Apropos to nothing, while freshening up for a suitor I guess, Linnea casually draws a swirling line from her throat to around her breast in lip stick. When the nipple promptly swallows the lip stick! Answering the age-old question, what a breasts for when not nursing children? They store cosmetics for overly resourceful girls!

I’m not sure if this was intentional, but the one sub-demon appears to be a cross between Rocky Horror‘s Tim Curry and Freddie Mercury. Not a good look for a woman. A great look, however, for a demon; so I’ll just pretend that’s what the filmmakers were aiming for.

In a nutshell, the whole story revolves around doors. Some which open, some that don’t. Even the demons are at the mercy of the haunted Hull house occasionally; sometimes being locked away from their victims. Making a slightly skewed but still workable breakdown of: protagonists/antagonists/antagonist (environment).

Demons don’t get used enough in horror movies. Drawing on the evidence as provided here and in the Evil Dead trilogy, they’re quite versatile. Possession being highly communicable; unlike zombies, demons don’t have to bit you to possess you, just hurt you. In the Evil Dead, a pencil to the ankle proved damning enough. Plus they have the brains, the intelligence that zombies also lack. They’re really just one-upped zombies.


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