Night of the Demons (1988)

Who doesn’t love a Halloween party? They’re even better when hosted in an abandoned funeral home built on forsaken ground and haunted by a demon in the crematorium. Don’t believe me? Then you gotta watch this movie!

Night of the Demons is about just such a party. Ten teenagers show up to party down and have fun, with more than a few keeping sex on their mind. Unfortunately, a good chunk of them happen to also be total assholes, but that’s ok. Through their terrible teenage ways, they hold a seance and manage to release a demon from the building’s underbelly. Once the giant glowing head comes out, it possesses Linnea Quigley, who passes it onto Amelia Kinkade, the Angela of the poster. They then spread death, dismemberment, and demon possession like it’s an STD in an orgy to a bunch of sex-crazed teenage party goers. Eventually it comes down to the last two, Cathy Podewell’s Judy and Alvin Alexis’ Roger. Judy and Roger must overcome their fears and work together before finally escaping. Also, an old man dies. That’s like a C-plot right there, but more on that later.

You know what’s best about these kinds of demon parties? They’re great for teaching moral lessons, like don’t be a sexist prick, don’t perform black magic, don’t have sex in a coffin, and other important life lessons. The characters who die or get possessed display these kinds of behaviors…well, mostly. One character, Sal, who behaves like a jerk is actually a sacrificial hero in disguise willing to risk life and limb more than once to save Judy. He deserved better than becoming a zombie, but hey, can’t win them all.

The real winners here are the horribly wounded Judy and Roger, but the nice thing about their characters is that they don’t feel unrealistic; both get scared at times, both get desperate to escape, both flee, but both also help each other. A couple of times Roger is petrified with fear, but he still manages to help when Judy needs him, and he’s the only character smart enough not to go messing with things that really don’t want to be messed with. As much as the black-guy-dies-first thing is a horrid trope, it’s a trope because it’s often the case; here, Roger’s the smartest survivor, first to search for a way out, first to get outside the house and hide, and first to make it over the wall. He also helps Judy escape despite his obvious terror and the emotional toll of the evening. Judy, meanwhile, is also scared but shows she’s willing to fight back and try to escape once she discovers things are definitely going to Hell. She’s not always the damsel in distress, is the one who manages to successfully fend off the demon-possessed, and also seeks escape through any means necessary. Roger and Judy survive because they help each other, and because they manage to overcome their fear.

Of course, the herald of doom in this movie doesn’t make it out either. Here he’s a grumpy old guy who wishes the teenagers will go to Hell and sticks razor blades in apples, because it’s a stereotype. He’s also a total dick, so his death by apple pie at the end just reinforces the lesson to not be a prick. Also, who insults their wife’s apple pie? If I were married to someone willing to get up really early and bake me a fresh pie, I sure as hell would do my damndest to enjoy it! Then again, it’s kinda hard not to notice razor blades in an apple when you’re cutting it up to make pie, so maybe his death wasn’t so unintentional…

Look, you want to know what to do about all this? Avoid the ‘bad place,’ which is definitely what an abandoned funeral home is. Don’t have sex with anyone who can stick lipstick in places where there aren’t actually orifices. And above all, DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE.

Oh man, guess I’m screwed…

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