Night of the Demons Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review
Directed by Kevin S. Tenney
Written by Joe Augustyn
1988, Region A, 90 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on Feruary 4th, 2014
Mimi Kinkade as Angela
Cathy Podewell as Judy
Linnea Quigley as Suzanne
Alvin Alexis as Rodger
Lance Fenton as Jay
William Gallo as Sal
Hal Havins as Stooge
Jill Terashita as Frannie
Philip Tanzini as Max
Allison Barron as Helen
Angela is throwing a Halloween party and has invited a select number of classmates to the infamous Hull House, a former mortuary and crime scene reportedly possessed by evil spirits. She enlists the help of her sexy friend Suzanne and together they plan to scare the jerks that make high school so unpleasant. Soon the house is full of guests ready to celebrate a night they will never forget. Judy, Jay, Rodger, Stooge, Frannie, Max and Helen are joined by the party-crashing Sal, an outcast from the wrong side of the tracks. The gang is made up of just about every archetype you would expect from an '80s horror film: the good girl, the frat douche, the slut, the party animal, the minorities – and their roles don't get much deeper than that.
The first thing on Angela's agenda is to hold a seance with a large mirror. Unfortunately, things get out of hand almost immediately when a wicked spirit possesses Suzanne, and she sets out to destroy everyone in the house. In a nice spin on the dead-teenager subgenre, once attacked by a demon you are turned; so as the survivors dwindle, the number of demons increases. It is also a nice touch that the teens are being attacked by their friends (fans of The Evil Dead franchise can appreciate this). Will anyone survive the night and escape this house of horrors? Will our hero stop running away from danger long enough to save the girl? It's Angela's party and anything is possible, but one thing is certain, you'll be glad you came!
Director Kevin Tenney (Brain Dead) returns to the supernatural realm of 'horror with a twist' in this hip and occasionally scary entry in what would grow into an unexpected trilogy. Following the template of his debut Witchboard, Tenney spends the first half of the picture setting up the thrills of the last 30 minutes. The script by Joe Augustyn (Night Angel), is a lot more tongue-in-cheek and allows Tenney to have fun with the material. Cinematographer David Lewis (The Sleeping Car) brings a lot of creativity and energy to the presentation that makes the movie look a lot more expensive than it is. There are plenty of fun set pieces that fill the non-stop third act and Tenney keeps everything wrapped in a wicked sense of humor. Special makeup effects are impressively delivered by now-legendary artist Steve Johnson (Ghostbusters), who handles both the demonic transformations as well as the gory aftermath.
The cast seem well aware of what kind of film they are making and are having fun with the content. Nobody is particularly stellar, nor does any one member stink up the joint. Mimi Kinkade (Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo) stars as goth girl Angela (in all three films in the series) and manages to be both threatening and sexy as the dancing demon. Linnea Quigley (Return of the Living Dead) has made a career of playing awkward roles and is the furthest from a high school teenager here, but still looks great in the pink dress, so I am not complaining. Augustyn's script may be light on character development, but honestly once the monsters are tearing people's arms off, you'll never miss it.
Night of the Demons moves faster than Witchboard and is more likely to garner repeat viewings because of it. The light-hearted tone of the film is immediately established with the animated title sequence set to a lively score by Dennis Tenney. There are also more laughs, more breasts, more blood and a rockin' soundtrack (featuring Bauhaus). If you haven't caught this title before, now is your chance to join the party!
Video and Audio:
Night of the Demons is presented in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and honestly the film has never looked better. Much of this film is set within the confines of the dark and spooky house, with solid black levels and contrast is also repectable. Colors are strong and vibrant while flesh tones remain natural.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track is surprisingly decent and makes good use of the surrounds when they're needed. Dialogue remains clear and free of distortion and music cues add additional punch. There are two DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo mixes: the first represents the original Ultra-Stereo theatrical mix and the other is a remastered variation on the same. English subtitles are available for anyone in need.
Starting things off are two commentary tracks featuring Kevin Tenney with various members of the cast and crew. The crew track (carried over from the earlier DVD release) is a bit more technical in nature, while the (newly recorded) cast reunion plays as a bunch of old friends sharing some fun memories. Both tracks are informative and entertaining.
Next up is the all new documentary You're Invited (72 minutes) that tracks down an impressive number of interview participants. This is an all-inclusive look at the making of Night of the Demons and is very thorough, occasionally to the point of exhaustion. For example, we get an extended look at the making of the opening title sequence that could probably have been edited down slightly, but is still pretty cool. Effects guru Steve Johnson steals the show with his enthusiastic tales of production and the majority of the cast appear on camera with nothing but fond memories, even as they lament their extensive time spent in the makeup chair.
The extended interview with Amelia Kinkade for the documentary is included in its entirety (23 minutes) for a more converstional visit with the actress as she discusses her work in all three entries in the series. She is immediately likeable and appears to be having a blast that people still enjoy these movies.
Actress Alison Barron (Helen) shares a collection of her personal photographs from the production in the short featurette Alison Barron's Demon Memories (4 minutes). She provides a running commentary to each photograph and this is a nice addition to this disc.
Original marketing materials including both the theatrical and home video trailers, assorted radio and television spots and an original promo reel from 1988 are all on display for your viewing pleasure.
A series of stills galleries offer an extensive look at promotional photographs, behind-the-scenes pics, a collection of posters and storyboards and a generous array of special makeup effects shots.
A DVD copy of the film is also included.