Saturday, October 1, 2016

Episode 24: Night of the Demons (1988)

“Where are you going?  The party’s just begun...”

Happy October, B-movie fanatics! Leaves are changing, the smell of pumpkin spice hangs strong in the crisp autumn breeze, and Halloween is just over four weeks away! I couldn’t think of a better movie to kick start the celebration of the season than Kevin Tenney’s original cult classic Night of the Demons!

Demons is one of those rare horror essentials without need of an introduction. It is a film that sinks its claws deep inside and stays put, leaving the viewer with memories of eyeball-gouging, neck-snapping, lipstick-stuffing good times. Few can forget Suzanne’s (horror icon Linnea Quigley) brilliantly effective disposition of a no longer needed makeup accessory. I’ve known a number of non-horror fans who remember nothing about the film except Steve “Splat” Johnson’s subtle trick-of-the-eye, poorly recreated by Jerry Constantine and company for Adam Gierasch’s underwelming 2009 “remake.”

Other stand-out moments include Angela (Amelia Kinkade) spinning wildly before a raging fire, black wedding dress swirling and swaying, as she performs a haunting demonic death dance to Bauhaus’ “Stigmata Martyr” moments before biting off Stooge’s (Hal Havins) tongue and spitting it back at him. Though Dennis Michael Tenney’s (brother of Kevin) score has its moments, it’s very much a composition of its time. Looking back on it now, it’s easy to scoff at the dated technology, but I’d be willing to bet those synth beats and stabbing violin cues really got theater audiences pumped way back when.

For this edition of B-Movie Bonanza, I, of course, used Scream Factory’s beautifully remastered and restored Blu-ray/DVD combo edition, which runs 1:33:01 (including MGM’s roaring lion prior to the opening title sequence). So, grab a big bowl of Halloween candy because it’s time celebrate the season a few weeks early with one of the best holiday-themed movies of its kind!


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