Retro Review: Night Of The Demons

Published on October 21st, 2016 in: Horror, Movie Reviews, Movies, Retrovirus, Reviews |

By Tim Murr

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As we’re still unpacking in our new house, I’m already brainstorming a little Halloween party, writing a treatment for a short film, and getting the itch to watch as many seasonally themed horror flicks as possible. I already started with Halloween III: Season of the Witch, a favorite since middle school, and last night settled in with Night Of The Demons. Starring Cathy Podewell, Linnea Quigley, and Mimi Kinkade, NOTD is the perfect Halloween rollercoaster flick.

Angela (Kinkade) and Suzanne (Quigley) are throwing a Halloween party in an abandoned mortuary called Hull House. It was the site of a brutal massacre and it was rumored that Mr. Hull used to get romantic with the corpses brought in. What could go wrong? Throw in six hapless classmates, including the innocent and sweet Judy (Podewell), a decent amount of gore, lots of nudity, a little demon-vision from Evil Dead and you’ve got the makings of a classic 1980s horror film.

NOTD has a fantastic soundtrack, with a score by Dennis Michael Tenney and features “Stigmata Martyr” by goth legends Bauhaus. It also has one of my favorite opening credits sequences, one that really sets the tone for a legitimately fun ride. Steve Johnson’s SFX work is really good; especially after a couple of decades of bad CGI, it’s always refreshing to go back and watch really good practical effects.

Story-wise, it’s Alice In Wonderland for the horror/goth crowd, right down to Judy’s Alice costume. Podewell could be a poster girl for ‘80s final girls, sweet and likable, but a bad ass when pushed into a corner. Like all good ‘80s horror films, in this one we get as much nudity as we do bloodshed, especially from the irrepressibly charming Quigley (Return Of The Living Dead), who does nothing but enhance whatever movie she shows up in.

Kinkade is a goth boy’s dream come true in her human form, and a hell of a good antagonist in her demon form. It should be noted that Rodger, played by Alvin Alexis, is one of the few black people I’ve ever seen survive to the end of a horror film, so a round of applause for Mr. Alexis, everyone, and to Tenney and Agustyn for not red-shirting Rodger!

Yes, it’s still hot through most of the country, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start hanging the little ghosts in your trees and putting the Styrofoam gravestones in your yard. Screw what the neighbors will say! By the way, you got any sour balls?

Night of the Demons is available on Blu-ray from Scream Factory.

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