Night of the Demons 2 Blu-ray Review
Written by ZigZag
Blu-ray released by Olive Films
Directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith
Written by Joe Augustyn
1994, 96 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on February 19th, 2013
Amelia Kinkade as Angela
Zoe Trilling as Shirley
Cristi Harris as Bibi
Christine Taylor as Terri
Merle Kennedy as Melissa “Mouse”
Jennifer Rhodes as Sister Gloria
Bobby Jacoby as Perry
Rod McCary as Father Bob
Johnny Moran as Johnny
Everyone knows the story about the haunting of Hull House, right? Six years ago, some girl named Angela threw a party on Halloween night where all of her friends died and she totally disappeared. Well, it’s All Hallow’s Eve once again and the students at St. Rita’s Academy are counting down the days until the big dance. This year the party is going to rock, thanks to the newly-instated Father Bob’s belief that the kids should have more input in their social activities. This does not sit well with the ultra-conservative Sister Gloria, but she reluctantly agrees to relent on this occasion. Not everyone is going to the dance, however, as Shirley and her friends have been recently placed on punishment for messing around with boys. She’s not too concerned because she knows the school function will be lame and she’s planning to throw her own private party at the infamous spook house down the street. Her friends Terri and Bibi are eager to go, as are Kurt and Johnny, but the unsuspecting guest of honor is their meek roommate Melissa (affectionately known as “Mouse”), invited due to her mysterious connection to the events at Hull House.
Back at the school, Perry, an unpopular student obsessed with demonology, discovers his classmates’ party plans and rats them out to Father Bob and Sister Gloria, but his claims fall on deaf ears since he does tend to exaggerate. Perry knows something is going on and performs a séance in front of a mirror, but it does not go as he planned. Meanwhile, Hull House proves to be full of surprises and when the kids get creeped out and decide to hightail it back to school, something evil follows. Angela appears long enough to kidnap Mouse and soon demons are running amok spreading murder and mayhem. Students and faculty are forced to team up in order to face this demon queen if they hope to rescue their friend and stop the evil from spreading beyond their school campus.
Night of the Demons 2 is a goofy movie more interested in gags than gore, as anything remotely scary has been diligently exorcised in order to place an emphasis on comedy over horror. This is a sloppy albeit entertaining sequel that cherry-picks the mythology established in the 1988 film and fills the remaining plot line with nudity and hijinks. Fans of the original Night of the Demons may be a bit confused by the changes in the material, especially considering that both films were written by Joe Augustyn. There are many familiar callbacks, starting most notably with the return of the impressive Hull House location. The sequel offers variations on the mirror séance, the lipstick gag and even a rousing dance number (featuring the band Morbid Angel as a weak substitute for Bauhaus). Mimi Kinkade (now credited as Amelia Kinkade) returns as Angela, minus her signature Goth make-up and personality, but her motives are a bit muddled here. The actress does the best she can with the material and is a welcome addition to the picture.
The supporting cast can be split into gender-based groups with Jennifer Rhodes (Slumber Party Massacre 2) emerging as the victor with her portrayal of Sister Gloria. This ass-kicking, sword-ducking nun grows on you as she gets to do more in the second half than just cockblock on behalf of the Holy Ghost. Zoe Trilling (The Borrower) leads the pack of young beauties this time around as the manipulative Shirley, a girl whose breasts are to die for, while Cristi Harris (Night of the Scarecrow) provides the actual nudity as our reluctant heroine, Bibi. Christine Taylor (Zoolander) is a lot of fun as Terri, although the successful actress does not likely keep this title prominent on her resume. Merle Kennedy (May) is given the thankless role of Mouse, who in all rights should emerge in the third act as a viable challenger to Angela, but sadly this barely happens and she remains worthless.
Bobby Jacoby (Beyond the Wall of Sleep) emerges mostly unscathed as Perry, the good boy obsessed with demonology. His character exists solely to warn others of danger, but his knowledge fails to help him when he is actually placed in harm’s way. Rod McCary (976-EVIL 2) does a fine job as Father Bob, who at first glance is a strong foil to the conservative Sister Gloria, but when tested he too is a victim of his own stubborn pride. McCary and Rhodes share the best onscreen chemistry, but unfortunately these moments are fleeting. Sadly, the rest of the guys are knuckle-dragging perverts that remain basic archetypes despite some nice reversals once all hell breaks loose.
There’s a healthy amount of footage recycled from the first Night of the Demons, including shots of Angela gliding towards camera despite the different appearance in make-up and wardrobe. Cinematographer David Lewis and special make-up effects artist Steve Johnson return to lend their skills to the sequel, yet the output from both departments appear significantly different. On this disc’s commentary, the former blames the overly bright transfer, but the lighting design and camera work appear less inspired. Johnson has grown as an artist, but there is something to be said for maintaining consistency in the appearance of returning characters. All things being equal, Angela’s demon make-up is pretty awesome and the finale is an unexpected treat.
Director Brian Trenchard-Smith (Stunt Rock) juggles the characters and their respective subplots with relative ease and the final act moves at a decent clip, but this sequel lacks the style of the original film. The best bits of comedy directly correlate with sexual content and Trenchard-Smith proves he is quite skilled at embracing risqué humor, including a demonic hand-job. Night of the Demons 2 is a goofy movie that thankfully doesn’t take itself too seriously, but some of the ensuing humor is a bit dodgy, as holy water is dispensed via super soakers (just like in The Lost Boys) and a demon plays basketball with his own severed head. This unnecessary sequel makes the most of its brisk running time and despite the numerous shortcomings, manages to prove more satisfying than one would expect. If you are a longtime fan of the original, you should approach this flick with slightly lowered expectations, but newcomers will find plenty to enjoy.
Video and Audio:
Night of the Demons 2 is finally available in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and features some decent colors and black levels, but appears significantly brighter at times than earlier releases. There are a few negative comments about the transfer during the commentary track, but honestly, this is such a step up from the DVD that I cannot complain.
The DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo track does everything it needs to without being too flashy about it. Music and effects cues are well balanced with dialogue levels and there are a few nice audio stings throughout the sequences inside Hull House.
The only special feature on this disc is an audio commentary by director Brian Trenchard-Smith and cinematographer David Lewis. The track is immediately entertaining since the two are quite aware of the type of film they made and are clearly having fun watching it. The director reveals the budget and shooting schedule, some early casting options and even goes so far as to read one of the more colorful reviews of the picture. Lewis laments the brightness of the transfer without naming Olive Films specifically, but makes it known he would love to have been consulted prior to this release. The cinematographer is seemingly obsessed with contemporary digital cameras and repeatedly harps on how much easier filming is today than when this was shot. Trenchard-Smith joins in on the wonders of technology, but both gentlemen are wasting the listener’s time, all things considered.