Night Of The Demons Trilogy
Released by: Laser Paradise
Director: Kevin Tenny/Brian Trenchard-Smith/Jim Kaufman
Cast: Larry Day, Amelia Kinkade, Christi Harris, Darin Heames, Alvin Alexis, Linnea Quigley, Allison Barron, Hal Havins, Billy Gallo
NIGHT OF THE DEMONS
Most of us who grew up weaned on 80s VHS horror marathons will likely remember Night Of The Demons, even if you never actually rented it. That cover art stuck out and always got my attention when I was in the video store, and I’ll always have a soft spot for ‘Angela’ in my lil’ ol’ horror lovin’ heart.
The first film takes place on Halloween night as a group of ten teenagers head up to an old abandoned funeral parlor for a little party action. Dubbed Hull House, the building is supposedly built on a cursed area of land that has a dark history of evil about its past. In fact, there is even a wall built overtop of an underground stream that surrounds the home, to keep people out with brick and mortar, and also to keep out those evil things which cannot cross running water.
After drinking and dancing to some quality music (Computer Dating Service, anyone?), our cliché band of youths hunker down in front of big vanity mirror in hopes of performing a past lives séance. As dumb teenagers were apt to do in eighties horror films, they awaken the evil that lays within the house and sooner enough, they find themselves trapped in Hull House and are one by one possessed by the demons that call it home.
Night Of The Demons starts of pretty poorly and really only offers up some bad stereotypes from the decade it was made in. Eventually though, starting with the memorable scene where Angela (Amelia Kinkade) dances in the abandoned funeral home to Bauhaus’ Stigmata Martyr, the film takes a pleasant turn into the realm of some more serious scares and once the boy crazy Suzanne (Linnea Quigly of Return Of The Living Dead) goes nuts and inserts a tube of lipstick into her body through her nipple, the movie does get more interesting.
If you’ve got a high tolerance for campy humor (you’ll need it to get past the first thirty minutes) and a love for schlocky horror and gore effects, you’re probably already familiar with the film as it’s never really been that hard to come by, and like I said, at least in my area, it was a staple of the video shelves at rental joints around town. Most of the characters aren’t terribly unique (we’ve got a bad ass crass punk guy named Stooge, complete with bad mullethawk and an anarchy symbol on his shirt; a slutty girl who is one of the first to become possessed; a token black character; a virtuous girl who makes it out alive; and of course, tough talking guy with a heart of gold) but it’s to be expected and the film doesn’t try and pass itself off as anything more than mindless entertainment. On that level at least, it’s quite successful, even if a lot of the dialogue is cringe-worthy at best.
The version presented on this DVD is the uncut version, which features some slightly gorier (the razor blade scene, the eye gouge scene, and the throat tearing scene) moments as well as the much beloved ‘Have you guys got sour balls?’ line inserted back into the convenience store scene.
NIGHT OF THE DEMONS 2: ANGELA’S REVENGE
Mouse (Merle Kennedy who recently popped up in Lucky McKee’s May) is the sister of Angela from the first film. Here we find her connived by bad girl Shirley (Zoe Trilling) and her classmates at the local Catholic High School into attending a party at Hull House when, for misbehaving they are banned from the annual School party. Of course, they decide to throw their own shindig, and where better than the location where all the bad stuff went down in the first movie? She goes along reluctantly and because they bully her a bit, but as can be expected, shortly the same thing happens again once Angela shows up, and soon everyone is turning into demons.
Slightly goofier than the first one, Night Of The Demons 2 doesn’t have the atmosphere that the finale of the first film had and instead, director Brian Trenchard-Smith (Escape 2000, Dead End Drive-In) ups the ante in the nudity department. While a lot of the time I’m all in favor of decisions like this, here it only shows how weak the script is and how tired the premise has become.
The film isn’t totally worthless though, and there are a few stand out moments if you stick it out to the end. Once again, Angela treats us to another one of her seductively evil dances, and the scene where Shirley’s breast absorbs the hand of one of the boys is so bizarre that it works in spite of itself.
NIGHT OF THE DEMONS 3
The final film in the series, written by Kevin Tenney, director of the first film, once again takes place on Halloween night. A couple of innocent seeming of teenage girls are forced to thumb a ride from a gang of hooligans that they know from school once their car breaks down. They end up involved in a scheme gone wrong, however, and it looks like they’re accomplices in a police shooting, so they decide to hide out at, can you guess? Hull House!
After they’ve been there a while, the gratuitous sex begins and of course, Angela eventually shows up and turns everyone against each other, eventually turning them into demons.
Again, like the second installment in the series, there isn’t much to recommend save for plenty of nudity and some mediocre gore. If you’re looking for sophisticated or thought provoking filmmaking, run far, far away from this film. Like the other two, though, it does work if you’re willing to just turn off that part of your brain that looks for logical storylines and interesting characterizations in your movie watching, and enjoy it for the b-movie that it really is.
This is the unrated version of the film and it does feature slightly more gore than the R rated cut of the film did.
All three films are presented fullframe, which is a bit disappointing. Even more disappointing is the quality of the prints used. Blacks levels are off and rather murky looking and the colors could sure be a lot sharper looking than they are here.
English and German audio tracks are presented for each film in the set. I don’t speak any German so I can’t really comment on the quality of that track but the English track is sufficient. It’s not much in the way of surround or effects reproduction, but the dialogue is reasonably clear without any hiss or distortion.
Each disk in the set has the same extras – trailers for Night Of The Demons 1, 2, and 3, all of which are in German only. That’s all there is as far as extras go.
The Final Word:
While this set is pretty far from the definitive presentation, for those with region free players it is the easiest way to get all three films into your collection. Hopefully proper presentations will be on their way soon though, as the A/V quality and lack or extras leave a lot to be desired.