Night of the Demons DVD Review
Written by Neon Maniac
DVD released by Anchor Bay
Directed by Kevin Tenney
Written by Joe Augustyn
1988, Region 1 (NTSC), 90 minutes, Unrated
DVD released on August 24th, 2004
Amelia Kinkade as Angela
Alvin Alexis as Rodger
Allison Barron as Helen
Lance Fenton as Jay Jansen
Billy Gallo as Sal Romero
Hal Havins as Stooge
Cathy Podewell as Judy Cassidy
Linnea Quigley as Suzanne
Philip Tanzini as Max
Jill Terashita as Frannie
Wild teen Angela throws a Halloween party at Hull House, the spooky local abandoned mortuary. The guests arrive and the party gets hoppin'. The kids decide to perform a séance and accidentally end up releasing a powerful, ancient demon that has been trapped on the property. Mayhem and murder ensue as one by one the kids are possessed by the ancient evil!
One of the original taglines for this movie was, "Angela's having a party and everyone's invited." I'm glad I was because I got to spend the Halloween from Hell with these kids. Night of the Demons is one of the more entertaining low budget '80s teen horror flicks out there. It's fun, it's campy, it's got T&A, lots of atmosphere and scary rubber demonic faces. There wasn't a lot more you could ask for back then when teen horror was bogged down with Freddy and Jason slasher knockoffs. No, the story isn't original. The name Hull House is highly derivative of Hell House and Hill House, and quite frankly the plot is 80% lifted from the 1985 Argento/Bava flick Demons. Not to mention the characters are the stereotypical '80s teen cast: The Preppy, The Fat Party Animal, The Smart Kid, The Superstitious Black Guy, The Slutty Girl, The Virgin, Goth Girl, and the Generic Yet Hot Asian Girl. Predictable because it practically draws you a map? You bet. Does it matter in this movie? Not at all.
This film works. It's a fun ride, perfect for late night viewing. Its got humor, gore, scares, decent effects, great make up. It's the perfect Halloween movie, the type of movie I always hope is on at 1am when I have insomnia. With all the knocks against it the script is solid and it is executed by a very competent cast. The cinematography is better than it has any right to be. Lots of interesting shots and angles are used throughout the film and you can tell director Tenney was not afraid to take any chances. Tenney was not only trying to make an entertaining movie, but a movie he could be proud to have his name on. He succeeded.
Angela went on the throw more parties, there were two sequels made in the '90s. Both star original hostess Amelia Kinkade reprising her role as Demonic Angela. Hopefully Anchor Bay will release these follow ups soon.
Video and Audio:
Like most of AB's titles, the picture quality is good. While some of the darker scenes are a little grainy it looked much better than expected. Lots of details are evident in this movie and no artifacting was evident even in the scenes that are mainly black. While not reference quality, it is very clean.
The disc uses a Dolby 2.0 mix, or as AB calls it, "Ultra Stereo." The soundtrack is very clean and clear. It is definitely a good sounding movie with the three front speakers being used almost to their full ability. A 5.1 remix would have been great; there are lots of creepy sounds happening off screen, but the 2.0 Ultra Stereo will still have you jumping with every thump, bump and rattle.
Being an 80's teen movie it's got a jammin' soundtrack that includes the mandatory Bauhaus tune.
The standard AB fare. A commentary with Director Kevin Tenney, Executive Producer Walter Josten and Supervising Producer Jeff Geoffray which is fairly average. Also included are TV & Radio spots and theatrical trailer, which are always nice to have, and a marketing promo reel that was meant for video store owners. While it seemed a bit strange, it was interesting to see how this movie was sold when it first came out.
The highlight of the bunch is a 14 minute interview with 80's Scream Queen Linnea Quigley called, "My Demon Nights." Linnea hasn't aged well but she apparently still likes to dress the part of the teenage tart, even though she's now pushing 50 (she was 30 when she made NOTD). The highlight of the interview has to be Linnea trying to explain that while she was nude in most of her movies, she only did nudity when it was integral to the plot! Nice try Ms. Quigley!
(Neon's Movie Lounge contains a Zenith 42" Plasma EDTV, Oppo DV971H DVD player using a DVI connection, JVC 5.1 DD/DTS receiver and JBL Northridge E Series speakers.)