It’s a combination of factors that bought Night of the Demons and its immediate sequel to Zombie Club. The main reason, I guess, is the fact that Steve West recently reviewed them for us, which reignited my interest in them and put them on my watch list. I saw the original back in the 80s on its first release and remember being not that blown away by it, but then a lot of films I watched then I’ve revisited in recent years to realize how well they’d aged and I hoped Night of the Demons was one of them.
The sequel I’d never seen, but when I discovered who directed it I knew we were on to something and Night of the Demons night was born.
Tonight's Zombie Club was bought to you by Jim in association with Pig guy, Black Pirate, Alice, Tinkerbell, Don Johnson, a Doctor, Goth Bitch and Brian Trenchard-Smith.
Night of the Demons (1988)
Plot Teens go messin' round in Hull House. Hull House goes messin' around with teens.
Zomblee Have you ever met someone who admits that they don't care for horror movies on the basis that they are essentially daft and pointless? Well, I have, and tonight I had a sort of epiphany: it's because they've watched Night of the Demons and saw fit to judge an entire genre on one film alone. Basically a haunted house/possession teen movie set on Halloween and starring Linnea Quigley and a bunch of other instantly irritating students, Night of the Demons is a prime example of idiotic 80's dialogue ("Eat a bowl of fuck!"), cringe-worthy acting and clichéd plotting. You'll find yourself not caring one iota for any of the characters, except that you want them all to die, though Jim did take a shine to Helen's mum ("Oh my God I quite fancy mum. Except for the poodle hair.") Poodle hair is only the tip of this quintessentially 80's iceberg; no-one looks attractive, in fact quite the opposite - from the fancy dress costumes to Angela's embarrassingly protracted dance sequence by the firelight, it's just not a very flattering deal at all.
Director Kevin Tenney nevertheless does attempt to jolt viewers with well-intentioned jabs of horror (such as demon faces in the mirror, double eyeball gouging, and Quigley's insane mammary lipstick moment), but given the prevailing cheese factor and vain attempts at 'style' by aping Sam Raimi's visual flair ("That's almost plagiarism!" - Jim), it's difficult to even get any enjoyment out of the material which almost works. Even Michael Tenney's soundtrack is an abomination. They say you should never notice a good soundtrack, and while I don't believe that is always true, I wish it was the case here - like many other parts of the movie, it's hard not to use the word 'idiotic' when describing it.
But not to worry, because here at Zombie Club, we're good at finding pleasure in even the most disappointing movies, and Rawshark really got the ball rolling with, "They've all got really good torches". Yes folks, if you want to see a real showcase for 80's style illuminators then look no further - they're all here. It helps of course that the house itself is free from electricity, thus ensuring steady streams of hand held light at every turn. I know what you're thinking, and you're probably right. How disappointing does a movie have to be for you to lose interest in the characters and take up a new interest in the form of torch watching? In terms of 80's horror fun, this is at completely the other end of the spectrum to the similarly titled Night of the Creeps, but bizarrely, horror fans generally seem to like it. The mind boggles.
"You know I’ve never made it in a coffin."
Rawshark Wearing it’s horror inspirations unashamedly on it’s sleeve (yes, most specifically the first two Evil Dead movies), Kevin Tenney’s Night of the Demons does at least kick off with a nice animated credits sequence as the small US town of the film prepares for another party-filled Halloween. Whilst most of the square kids are heading to a town dance, the cooler kids (although should Linnea Quigley really be described as a kid?) are planning to spend the night at the dark and spooky Hull House, which as any 80s horror film fan knows, is just going to bring bucket loads of hellish havoc.
Thankfully, the bland bunch of teenie demon fodder choose to help viewers by turning up to the house in costume, so instead of being forced to learn their names, we can refer to them simply as their costumed counterparts, ie Black Pirate, Pig, Goth Bitch, Alice in Wonderland etc. Having arrived at the house, it isn’t long before the dudes drink all their drinks (”we have more booze than that at Zombie Club!” – Zomblee) and decide to try a ”past-life séance” to break the boredom. Unfortunately, their séance summons an ancient mirror demon (including a nice shattered mirror shot) and, well, you know the rest, as one by one the teenie terrors succumb to possession and kill each other.
To be fair, there are some nice moments in Demons, the standout highlight being the sight of Linnea Quigley pushing a lipstick through the nipple of her exposed breasts, and the afore-mentioned array of torches (”You know you're in bad character development territory when you can say more about the torches than the characters.” - Zomblee). There is an ample display of nudity, whilst the gore is variable, with a ”wicked double eye-gouging mid-shag” (Zomblee) and a ”clumsy burning” (also Zomblee). Overall, a fairly entertaining 80s B movie, but not really deserving of it’s upcoming remake. Not sure what that last gore shot of the old man eating razorblades was all about though…
”Do you guys have sour balls?”
Jim Yes, it’s the 80s all over again, where a fat guy gets to dress like a pig and say a line like ”Eat a bowl of fuck!”, while a possessed Linnea Quigley shoves a lipstick in to her tit, and some old guy chows down on a meal of apples with razor blades in them for no apparent reason. Sounds good, eh? Well, sadly it’s not as good as it sounds.
First up, we assemble a bunch of guys in fancy dress which, as Rawshark points out, means ”we don't have to know their names coz we can refer to them as their costumes." So that’s Pig Guy, Black Pirate, Alice, Tinkerbell, Don Johnson, Goth Bitch and a Doctor, then. Oh, except Black Pirate quickly got renamed ("He's called Roger, so we'll call him Jolly Roger." – Rawshark) Then we have them all going for a private little party in a house called ‘Hull House’ (not ‘Hell House’, there’s no Linda Blair in this movie), that has some kind of scary history ("Oh, he's just saying that someone got killed their once." – Rawshark). So why not have a séance? That’s what I’d do in a scary old house with a name that sounds a bit like Hell House, that’s for sure.
Of course, the séance resurrects a spirit and they spend the rest of the movie getting possessed, dancing weirdly and then dying, or shoving lipsticks in their boobs, whichever is easiest. Admittedly there are some nice touches, mainly the lipstick boob scene and the shattered mirror scene ("They've all got their own shard!" - Rawshark), but for the most part there’s not much to write home about. If I was in this movie I would’ve probably done what Jolly Roger did and hide in the back of that car for most of the movie next to that underground stream that apparently spirits can’t cross over. And what the hell is Linnea Quigley wearing anyway? She looked much better naked in Return of the Living Dead. Shame.
”Happy Halloween asshole!”
Director Kevin Tenney
Cast Alvin Alexis
Runtime 90 mins
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Night of the Demons 2 (1994)
Plot Teens go messin' round in Hull House. Again.
Jim And soon enough we’re back at the unlikely titled Hull House. This second movie opens with a group of Christians going door-to-door with a bit of preaching, although they weren’t expecting to find Angela (”I’m calling her ‘Goth Bitch’.” - Rawshark) who swiftly kills them ("That was nearly as good as the best bit of gore in the last 2 mins of the last film." – Zomblee). That was just to remind you of what she’s capable of, before the story quickly switches to a familiar college scene with jocks chasing girls, there’s more nudity, there’s a bit of bragging, shagging, and then there’s talk of a school dance which the wonderfully named Father Bob and his Nun sidekick organize. But hang on, no, that’s not enough, and before you know it a group of the most nubile teens have decided it would be more fun to go party at Hull House where Angela the Goth Bitch lives.
Or something like that anyway. After watching Night of the Demons the plot of the second movie is a bit of a blur. The only memorable characters are Melissa and Bibi (”B-I-B-I.” - Rawshark, clearing up the ’how do you spell Bibi?’ debate) and of course the wise old Nun ("Nuns are really annoying in movies but they always come through and save the day." - Rawshark). But despite it’s predictable plot rehashing, Night of the Demons 2 is actually a better movie; better acting, better script, better pacing, more nudity, and that’s not something that usually happens with direct-to-video 80s horror comedy sequels.
Mind you, they don’t usually have Brian Trenchard-Smith at the helm. Yes, he of The Man From Hong Kong fame, who we’ve recently had the pleasure of exchanging emails with, due to his association with filmindustrybloggers.com. He seems to know how to keep the pace moving and, after watching a few BTS movies now, those trademark pan-down moving camera shots he favours are prevalent, probably because they make cheap movies look more expensive, as you can in his mid-80s Aussie Kung Fu spectacular Strike of the Panther and its sequel). You won’t be seeing nun’s going on a "Full-on holy water rampage!" (Rawshark) in that movie though, neither will you see any maggots, which we know Zomblee is fond of. "Drop a little line to Brian telling him I like his use of maggots." he suggested. I haven’t yet, though.
"She just chopped off his head! Tell Brian I like that."
Rawshark Ah, Brian Trenchard-Smith – you can always trust him to inject some fun into a tried and tested formula. So it is with great pleasure that we can tell you that Night of the Demons 2 makes as little sense as the original film, but goddamn it if it isn’t just so much more, you know, enjoyable!
An opening sequence is the link to the first film as the original Goth Chick kills some religious dudes who turn up at Hull House, before shifting the focus back to the college campus as some guys spy on the girls (”There are some fantastic bodies going on in this movie so far” - Zomblee) as they get ready for another Halloween night of partying, this time organised by Father Bob (”I love the name Father Bob” - Zomblee) and Sister Gloria. Again, some idiot jock (who looks a bit like Brian Singer) summons the mirror demons and the scene is set for yet more carnage, both at Hull House and at the School Dance Night.
Throwing everything at the film, Brian Trenchard-Smith gives us a ghoul in a toilet (”Bog Demon!” - Jim), another great lipstick / penis rape moment, breasts turning into hands and best of all, Sister Gloria tooling up, lacing up her boots and filling balloons of Holy Water as the demon possession takes over the dance with death metal and sex-mad babes.
Seriously, if the sight of the Sister riding shotgun and taking on a horde of demons with nunchuckas (”A Nun with Nunchuckas!” - Zomblee) doesn’t do anything for you then you really shouldn’t be reading this page. It all ends with a full-on holy water melt-down rampage and as Jim said, ”Snake Witch Queen Bitch blowing up is always a good way to end a movie”. Forget the nubile nudies, the demented demons and jaded jocks, this is the Nun’s movie all the way. Go Sister!
”You have defiled my holy vestments!”
Zomblee I have to admit it, I wasn't quite ready for another Night of the Demons movie after suffering the tortures of the damned with the first installment. But you know what? Brian Trenchard-Smith obviously has the knack of rescuing what is in essence a very similar story and making it work, because this is way superior to the first film in every way.
To make an impression from the get go, we are treated to bare-breasted girls having a communal shower a mere four minutes into the running time ("Tits. Lots of them." - Rawshark); at this point I think we all looked at each other in a "this is gonna be a lot better than the last movie" kind of way. And we were right. Trenchard-Smith's sequel at least features a young cast who can act, one of whom Jim recognised from Dodgeball ("It's Ben Stiller's wife! It's Ben Stiller's wife!"), which is certainly a far cry from the kind of A-list credentials we normally get here at Zombie Club.
This sequel begins at a convent-run school for problem teens, where downtrodden nerd Perry decides he's going to "prove that demons exist" by performing incantations in front of a mirror, while his more attractive classmates avoid their boring school party to organise their own in...Hull House. Among these younglings is Melissa, or 'Mouse', sister of Angela from the first film, brought to the house against her will by her cruel peers. Cue more outrageous antics, as the newly possessed teens ditch Hull House and march back to the school party to wreck unholy havoc. But Sister Gloria and Father Bob have other ideas.
We decided that this movie is essentially a reprise of the first movie ("How do you pronounce 'reprise' anyway?"- Rawshark), but the talent involved ensure its superiority over its predecessor. Sister Gloria is an absolute hoot with her ever-present yardstick and steadfast rules; I love the way every time the kids try to get up dirty mischief, she intercepts with that big stick, saying...
"Leave a little room for the Holy Ghost."
Director Brian Trenchard-Smith
Cast Cristi Harris
Runtime 96 mins
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And another Zombie Club comes to an end. Night of the Demons turned out to be a forgettable slice of 80s horror cheese, while Night of the Demons 2 was surprisingly good, undoubtedly because of the involvement of near legendary film doctor Brian Trenchard-Smith coupled with the fact that all the teen girls had much better bodies in the second film. He had a quite a run in the early 90s did Brian actually, moving from this to Leprechaun 3 and Leprechaun 4, both of which were also massive video hits in the US. I feel we’re going to be seeing a lot more of BTS at Zombie Club…
Tune in next week, when things are going to get decidedly more fishy, in an Italian kind of way.