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Filtering by Tag: Kevin S. Tenney

Night Of The Demons (1988)

Damien Ross

Kevin S. Tenney

“Eat a bowl of fuck, I am here to party!”

nightofthedemonsmirror[1].jpg

This film opens with the longest opening credits ever. I actually forgot for a second what movie I was about to watch, I thought I was about to watch a cartoon! Eventually, the credits dissolve and three teens are driving down the road on Halloween night. The car belongs to Stooge. Stooge is a combination of a stereotypical meathead jock and an obnoxious punk rocker. I’ve listened to reviews of this movie on Test Pattern and The Horror Show podcasts, but nothing quite prepares you for the real deal. I’m gonna have to listen to those again now that I’ve actually watched this.* That’s right folks, I’m a poser, this is the first time I’ve ever watched this. However, I did watch the remake on Netflix years ago before Netflix was cool.

Helen, AKA Bitch, is riding shotgun and Rodger is in the backseat. Stooge swaps seats with Helen so he can moon an old man, not a full moon, his boxers are still on. I miss the 80’s, when random old men were just out walking around, although this old man wasn’t so random, he was on his way home from the grocery store. Just then, Another teen comes up and scares him, causing him to drop his groceries all over the sidewalk. The teen disappears, which is when we meet Judy, who offers to help, but he chases her off. “Damn kids will get what they deserve!” He yells as he reaches into his pile of spilled bags and holds an apple and a pack of razorblades up in the air, WTF?

Judy goes home and Jay Calls. There’s been a change in plans. Instead of going to the dance, they’re gonna go to a Halloween party that a weird girl at school, Angela, is throwing. It’s not at her house though, it’s at the Hull House.

Sal, Judy’s ex, the same teen who scared the groceries out of the old man’s hands, shows up at Judy’s. Instead of Judy, he gets her little brother who was spying on her to tell him where the party is. Although he could beat Judy’s brother up, he instead does the noble thing and pays him for the information. Wouldn’t want ol’ mom to get involved.

Jay picks up Judy, who has changed her clothes for the second time. He tries to kiss her twice and gets shot down both times. She tells him to slow down. They pick up Frannie and Max.

Elsewhere, Stooge, Rodger, and Helen have a flat tire, thanks to Stooge’s shitty driving. Jay pulls up and as unlikely as it seems, they’re all friends. Jay stops, but instead of helping drives away, laughing and leaving them there.

Jay’s group arrive first, and Max explains that the Hull house was a funeral parlor owned by the Hull family until one Halloween one of them killed the whole family and then committed suicide. It appears they are being watched. They go inside and find a coffin. Sal pops out of it and scares them. How long was he in there? Stooge and everybody else arrive. It’s time to party! They all dance in the strobe light to lame music till the batteries die. Angela suggests they have a seance.

They hear a noise so Stooge and Rodger check it out. They find a big wardrobe mirror so they all look into it and concentrate until Helen sees a dead face. She freaks out and the wardrobe cabinet tips over shattering the mirror into pieces. They hear noises coming from the basement. It appears they have awoken a demon. It goes upstairs and enters Suzanne, who played Trash on Return of the Living Dead.

Angela explains the difference between a haunted house and a possessed house: A haunted house is a house with ghosts in it, the spirits of people who’ve died. The spirits in a house possessed have never existed in human form and are pure evil. Demons.

Suzanne is now acting completely different and nobody seems to question it. Rodger and Helen leave. Suzanne takes Stooge up to the bathroom cuz she’s in the mood for pork tonight, but first she kisses Angela on the mouth and let’s a little of the demon into her.

Jay, Judy, Max, and Frannie find a place to sit, drink, and talk as Max gives a history lesson. Max is full of all kinds of information, all hearsay-this is life before the internet: People talked and you believed whatever made sense to you. Nobody could prove shit. He starts in on a story about an Indian then takes Frannie and leaves Jay and Judy alone.

Outside, Rodger and Helen can’t find the gate to get out of there. While looking, he somehow loses her and now he’s on the run from creepy sounds. He climbs into Stooge’s car.

Back inside, Jay continues to pressure Judy into having sex. As she pushes him away, he mentions Sal, and that she had sex with him, but she claims they only went out once. She figures out that all he wants is sex so he bails.

Elsewhere, with a bathroom door between them, Stooge is trying to make things happen with Suzanne, unaware of what she is turning into.

Sal is alone with Angela, and he notices she’s being weird, although she had a reputation for being weird to begin with. She crawls on the floor and suddenly Stooge’s stereo comes back to life and plays Stigmata Martyr by Bauhaus. She proceeds to dance, which makes Sal very confused and uncomfortable. Stooge shows up. He fearlessly approaches Angela and slow dances with her. She wants a kiss and bites his tongue out. Sal leaves before the tongue incident and finds Suzanne. She has a lipstick heart drawn on her face and a shard of broken mirror in her hand, even possessed, still the narcissist. As dumb as Sal is, he does the smart thing, he leaves. Suzanne opens her shirt and draws on her tits with lipstick till Jay shows up.

On the way out, Sal passes Angela and tells her he’s “splittin.” She’s warming her hands on the fire and when she turns around her hands are charred, blistered, and on fire, yet she’s calm. Sal freaks out and bails.

Outside, Stooge’s corpse plummets onto his car, which freaks Rodger out. Inside, Jay is now about to get it on with Suzanne. She’s on top of him, but instead of getting laid she gives him demon face and gouges his eyes out with her thumbs.

Max and Frannie are having sex in a coffin, which is more uncomfortable than the back of a VW, when Stooge interrupts. Well, Stooge’s body, but he’s now a demon and he kills them. Personally, I found Stooge to be more tolerable as a demon, at least now he doesn't talk. Although, his talk was comical so it’s kind of a toss-up.

Sal and Rodger run into each other. Angela is lurking around the corner. They find Judy, who’s been locked in the room Jay left her in this whole time and Angela finds them. They escape and find Suzanne along with Jay’s corpse. I don’t know where the hell Rodger went. They escape Suzanne, but get separated. Judy finds herself in the sex-coffin room and gets attacked by Max’s severed arm. Then he and Frannie pop out as undead demons. She escapes and eventually finds Rodger... And Stooge!

Showdown on the rooftop: Judy comes out and runs into Angela, but Sal saves the day, kinda, he and Angela fall to their deaths. Judy is now hanging from the ledge as Rodger stands below trying to guide her to safety. Stooge jumps out and Judy falls, luckily, Rodger is in place to break it. Stooge jumps down so they runaway, but they run into Angela. They escape and hide. Rodger is crying. This is why he doesn’t hang out with white people. Judy finds a sketchy escape, she opens a door that leads to a tunnel that she is sure is the only way out. It turns out to be a crematorium. Stooge shows up. The demons don’t want Rodger, they want the girl. Damn racist demons!

Judy remembers what Helen said about the demons having one night where all Hell can break loose so if they can just keep them away until midnight, they’ll be okay. She builds a flamethrower(?) and when Stooge and Angela come in she lights them up then all the doors shut. They can’t get out. And now Jay is a demon. And all the undead demon friends enter so Rodger jumps out the window, which was actually on the same floor. Rodger scales the wall then reaches down for Judy’s hand, but then Stooge is back, along with the others. Rodger falls off onto the other side as the demons desperately claw at Judy, but Rodger climbs back up and saves her. They hit the ground and apparently it’s after midnight cuz the demon goes away. Judy and Rodger walk home and the old man from the intro heckles them. Whatever happened to Helen?

Inside the old man’s house: His wife made him a breakfast treat... Outta all the leftover apples he bought, the ones with the razorblades in them as he dies and we go full circle.

This may be looked back on as a classic 80’s horror flick, but I’ve only been aware of it for the last few years. Based on the quality of it, it definitely wasn’t some lost underground gem, so it confuses me how until recently I’d never heard of it. I watched the remake a few years ago and the title didn’t ring any bells. Sal’s backstory seemed unnecessary. Did we really need Sal to be Judy’s ex? It didn’t lead to anything. If you’re gonna include Sal as the ex who is still in love, how bout making him the one who saves her in the end? Intruder got it right.

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The Badass Award goes to Rodger, more for what he didn’t do than what he actually did. However, he defied the trope of black people being the first to die in a horror movie, he left as soon as things got weird, he risked his life to save Judy, and he was the most likeable guy in the whole movie as well as the last man standing rather than dying and making Judy the Final Girl. That's right, he stole Judy's thunder.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don’t conduct seances in old defunct funeral parlors.

2) Don’t have sex in a coffin.

3) When trying to escape a house, don’t go up!

4) Don’t put razorblades in apples.

5) Think with the right head.

*Joe from The Horror Show interviewed Linnea Quigley (Suzanne) on the October 15th episode.