Monday, May 17, 2010
Night of the Demons (1988)
Night of the Demons (also known as: Halloween Party) is a 1988 cult classic horror film written and produced by Joe Augustyn and directed by Kevin S. Tenney. The film tells the story of ten high school seniors having a Halloween party in an isolated mortuary. Their party turns into a nightmare when after conducting a séance as a party game, they unlock the demon that remains locked in the crematorium. Filming of Night of the Demons took place in South Central Los Angeles, California, USA, and lasted for two months.
The film was extremely controversial for its graphic terror violence and gore, being initially turned down by almost all U.S. film distributors until a European company and International Film Marketing finally picked it up. It was finally released into theaters on October 14, 1988. Although its budget was just $1,200,000, the film was a moderate success at the box office, grossing a total of $3,109,904 in the U.S. upon its initial release. Initial critical reception of the film was mixed, receiving both praise and criticism regarding the atmosphere, story, characters, and graphic content. Despite this polarized reception, Night of the Demons gained a reputation as a classic horror film, one of the most influential of its era, and a landmark, originating several tropes common in the genre. The film also spawned two sequels entitled: Night of the Demons 2 (1994) and Night of the Demons 3 (1997).
It was given a limited theatrical release in the U.S., playing in major cities and drive-in theaters.
On Halloween night, spooky girl Angela Franklin and her boy-crazy pal Suzanne, are throwing a party at Hull House, a local mortuary that was abandoned years ago after the Hull family patriarch slew his entire family within its walls. They have invited the usual assortment of party guests, including the class clown - Stooge, the resident tough guy - Sal, the token black guy - Roger, the preppy - Helen, the virginal heroine - Judy, her boyfriend - Jay, and two dim-witted but knowledgeable clowns - Max and Frannie.
Deciding to skip the annual school dance, Jay convinces Judy to attend a Halloween Party being thrown at Hull House by a classmate of theirs named Angela Franklin, reluctantly Judy agrees and soon after Jay picks her up along with their friends Max and Frannie. Judy's younger kid brother Billy later answers the door to Sal, Judy's ex-boyfriend, whom tells him that she is attending Hull House. Meanwhile, Angela decides to rob the local convenience store for party food while the salesmen clerks are distracted by Suzanne bending over, revealing her panties. Once outside, Angela reveals the plan is to scare everyone who attends.
At the same time, Stooge drives Helen and Rodger to the Hull House party. While driving getting lost, Stooge tries to grab the wheel from Helen and spins the car around, causing a tire to blow out. Judy wants them to pick them up when they pass; instead they keep driving, only stopping when they see Hull House in the distance. Once they arrive, they get out to see no one has arrived and Max explains why there is a wall built in front of the property. It is rumored to keep bad spirits from leaving the premises, built over an underground stream. They ignore this tale and go inside, where they find a coffin. When they see Angela's car lights pull up, Jay has them turn off their lights, hoping to climb into the coffin and scare them. But when he opens the coffin Sal leaps out and scares them; A short argument ensues before Angela and Suzanne come in accompanied by Helen, Stooge and Rodger.
The party soon commences, full with the stolen food from the store and a boom box containing Punk Rock music. Angela tells Judy who is trying to light candles that she should leave nothing in the house, that spirits will not approve of cluttering up their home. Judy believes that she is just trying to scare her but does keep the lighter in her pocket, obviously afraid, though denies it to Frannie whom asks her. All ten teens begin to dance and have a good time.
After losing the battery power, Angela decides to hold a séance as a party game. They all sit in front of a mirror and concentrate on the reflections, and it works because Helen sees her own dead body hitting the other side of the mirror. A demon is unleashed from the crematorium, which first possesses Suzanne. Meanwhile, Roger, whose father is a preacher, does not wish to participate and wants to leave. Angela then reveals to her friends that the house is possessed by a demon, and that the seance could have possibly awoken it. No one believes her but Roger refuses to take the chance and chooses to leave after hearing the news. Helen quickly follows, but neither have a car, so Suzanne gives them Angela's car keys, claiming since it is Angela's party she is not going to leave. Soon after, Max and Frannie leave with Jay and Judy under the premise of exploring, when all Jay wants is to have sex with Judy. The four depart, leaving Stooge, Suzanne, Sal and Angela alone. Suzanne invites Stooge to the bathroom but before she leaves, she shares a kiss with Angela, passing the demon onto her.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the house, the four departed friends find a room where Max begins to tell the story of Hull House, and the story behind its rumors. Worried that the horrible stories might make Judy more uncomfortable, Jay gets Max and Frannie to depart. But Judy wants no part of sex with Jay in the house. Once in the bathroom, Suzanne goes in and locks the door, leaving Stooge outside. Meanwhile, Rodger and Helen continue to look for the gate they drove through that has seemingly disappeared. After a brief argument between the two, Helen vanishes leaving the frightened Roger by himself, just as ghostly voices begin to call out his name. In a state of panic, Roger gives up trying to find the gate yet has no desire to return to the house, so he hides inside Jay's car. Inside the house, an argument between Jay and Judy continues over sexual tensions before Jay leaves her in the same room, not realizing that the door locks, keeping Judy trapped inside. Stooge continues to wait for Suzanne outside the bathroom while inside her face ages in the mirror, transforming into a hideously disheveled demon. After hearing what sounds like a mirror breaking, Stooge enters the bathroom only to find no trace of her around, discouraged over this he decides to head back to the main living room.
Back in the living room, Sal sits waiting for the others to return and watching Angela, slightly intrigued by how beautiful she has become. After asking her what exactly she was doing, she explains the day of atonement is at hand, then exhibits bizarre behavior. Having never seen Angela exhibit such behavior before, he realizes something is wrong. Suddenly, Angela begins to dance. Angela's black dress soon becomes more transparent, as if disappearing. Sal meanwhile becoming more and more sober by the second decides to leave, yet cannot take his eyes off her. Just as he is about to leave, Stooge comes. Sal tries to warn him of her weird behavior but he does not listen and Sal decides to leave. Stooge then begins to take advantage of Angela's apparent distraction only to be surprised when she tells him to kiss her; when he does, Stooge begins trying to pull away. After throwing Stooge across the room he gets on his feet, his face covered in blood as Angela chews on then spits out his tongue, laughing in the strobe light.
Sal finds Suzanne in a room covered in lipstick. He realizes everyone is acting weird and leaves the room. Meanwhile, Max and Frannie find another coffin in a room and decide to have sex inside of it. Suzanne takes off her shirt and after applying more makeup, shoves the lipstick tube inside her left breast, just before Jay walks in and they begin to have sex. Sal returns to the living room to tell Angela he is leaving, only to have her respond by turning around with her hands on fire. Realizing that something is very wrong with the party and its host, Sal tries the door but finds it locked, and after hearing Angela's voice become deep and frightening, he leaves the room. Meanwhile, back outside, Roger has fallen asleep in Jays car until he feels a bump. Expecting it to be a prank, he thinks nothing of it until Helen's dead body hits the windshield. Terrified, Rodger decides to return to the house to warn the others. Suzanne and Jay are having sex when suddenly she begins quizzing him about her makeup. Confused by this, Jay says she looks fine when suddenly Suzanne changes into a demon, and shoves her thumbs into his eyes. Back in the coffin, Max and Frannie are interrupted by a now possessed Stooge who breaks Frannie's neck; her body lands on Max, trapping him inside. Stooge then severs Max's arm hanging outside the coffin. Back in the house, Rodger is looking around when he is confronted by Angela who has now completely transformed. In his escape, he runs into Sal who knows something is wrong and they team together to get out.
Stooge appears at the door to the room Judy is locked in. After Stooge leaves the door, Sal and Rodger hear Judy yelling and find her, letting her out of the room. Rodger then sees Angela approaching and runs away, leaving the other two. Judy sees Angela and becomes momentarily crippled with fear, before Sal gets her into a room. Once inside, the light comes on and the two find Suzanne holding Jay's dead body. Suzanne tries to block the two from one another by knocking Sal out the window and deliberately letting Judy run out into the hall. Once out in the hall, all the doors begin to shut and lock leaving her no place to go, except one room. The room she enters is where Max and Frannie lie within the coffin. Max's dead arm grabs Judy's ankle causing her to scream in terror, causing the bodies to sit up and reach for her. After escaping the room, Judy runs to the only door unlocked, which leads to the balcony atop the mansion. Sal comes to outside in what he discovers is an air lift, which he climbs up.
Knowing Stooge is approaching the area, Judy quietly approaches the edge of the house, where she sees Roger on the ground. He warns her as Angela appears and attempts to throw her off the roof. Sal, who had reached the top already, intervenes, causing Judy to lose her footing and be left dangling from a gutter. In the ensuing fight between Sal and Angela, they both fall off the roof, with Sal landing on a spike. Judy ends up falling, landing atop of Rodger but spraining her ankle. After being confronted by Stooge and Angela again, they run back into the house, ending up in the basement, specifically, the crematorium. Stooge and Angela begin pounding on the door. Once they get inside, Judy and Roger have formed a makeshift flame thrower from a gas pipe in the cremator and douse the two with fire.
The two flee the scene and once again try the doors, only to find them still locked. At the living room door, Roger leaves Judy alone after he sees Jay, which, accompanied soon by a burnt Angela, corners the two in the room, soon joined by Sal and Max. Roger, seeing the only way out as jumping through the window does so, and Judy quickly follows. The two realize their only means to escape is by climbing over the brick wall surrounding the property, albeit riddled by barbed wire. Rodger climbs quickly to the top, leaving Judy alone to deal with the demons who are approaching her. After swatting at her clothes and burning the skin on her leg, Rodger appears again trying to help pull Judy over. Right as she manages to reach the top of the wall the demons begin to die from the rising sun. On the other side they watch the actual demon leave the bodies and roar mightily at them before vanishing into thin air.
The two walk slowly home, battered and bruised, and pass near the home of an old man. Inside his house, the man sits down to eat one of his wife's home-made apple pies, which she made with the apples into which he had stuck razor blades. The razor blades begin cutting through his throat before killing him; the woman kisses his head and says "Happy Halloween dear" while sipping on her coffee.
Alvin Alexis - Roger
Allison Barron - Helen
Lance Fenton - Jay Jansen
Billy Gallo - Sal Romero (as William Gallo)
Hal Havins - Stooge
Amelia Kinkade - Angela Franklin (as Mimi Kinkade)
Cathy Podewell - Judy Cassidy
Linnea Quigley - Suzanne
Philip Tanzini - Max
Jill Terashita - Frannie
Bauhaus - "Stigmata Martyr"
Dennis Michael Tenney - "Main Title Theme"
Dennis Michael Tenney, Steve King and Tim Wojan - "Computer Date"
Dennis Michael Tenney, Steve King, Rich Lowe, Paul Ojeda and Bobby Thompson - "The Beast Inside"
Dennis Michael Tenney, Steve King, Rich Lowe, Paul Ojeda and Bobby Thompson - "Victims of the Press"
Night of the Demons has spawned two sequels. The original film was first succeeded by Night of the Demons 2 (1994), also written by Joe Augustyn (co-storied by James Penzi) but directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith. The sequel was considerably more graphic and violent than the original, due to the fact that a larger amount of gore was present in the film and was consequently banned in Australia for 10 years, but finally released on DVD in a revised special edition in October 2007. The third sequel was less well-received by the critics, as they felt it had moved away from the terror of the original for the sake of dark humor. Though the popularity of the two sequels were less than the original, the popularity of the main villain has remained, making Angela one of the most memorable villains in film history. She became the series only recurring character in the films, with Amelia Kinkade returning both times. The central location of the first film, Hull House, was also used again.
Like the original, the sequels take place on Halloween night. Both films dealt with Angela terrorizing a new group of teenagers, with little to no mention of the previous film. While the first two films were shot in Los Angeles, the third was shot in Canada, with a new (and notably cleaner) house standing in as Hull House.
In 2008 it was announced that there would be a remake of the same name, without original writer Joe Augustyn signing on in any capacity. Jase Anderson would be co-writing the film with the remake's director, Adam Gierasch. Actors Shannon Elizabeth and Edward Furlong have both signed on to act in the picture. Filming wrapped in November 2008 and the film is now in post-production. The film is slated for a theatrical release late summer or sometime in September 2010, despite original plans to have it released in October 2009.
1.^ Night Of The Demon (1988) - Box office / business