(it) wrote: It is Halloween night. What are you planning to do? Go trick or treating with friends? Or maybe cause some mischief instead by playing pranks on your grumpy old neighbor? How about attending a Halloween party? But not just your run-of-the-mill soiree -- this party I'm talking about promises a night to remember. Your hostess for this particular party is the wicked Goth chick extraordinaire Angela (Amelia Kinkade). The location: Hull House. In case you are wondering, no this house isn't haunted -- just possessed. Word has it Hull House was actually a mortuary built on land the Native Americans considered "unclean". Hull House was also said to be where pure evil roams free. But these are just rumors, right? C'mon, you know it is gonna be fun having a party at a place like Hull House. The rumors of it being possessed merely enhance the...tone and atmosphere of the spirit of Halloween. Lucky for Angela, there are a bunch of teens out there who are eager to try something different and actually join her soiree. Let's meet them. Judy Cassidy (Cathy Podewell) is the nice, virginal girl. At first, she is reluctant to attend Angela's party, but her boyfriend somehow convinces her. He is Jay Jensen (Lance Fenton), one of those preppy, clean-cut nice guys. We later find out he is not as clean-cut as we thought, but I'll leave it at that. Sal Romero (Billy Gallo) is the rebel, the guy who loves to talk back to you --in your face. Max (Philip Tanzini) and Frannie (Jill Terashita) are the typical horny couple. Suzanne (Linnea Quigley) is Angela's best friend and a slut. And of course, horror movies need to have their share of truly obnoxious guys so fat lard Stooge (Hal Havins) and motor mouth Rodger (Alvin Alexis) fit the bill perfectly. All of them converge at Hull House where they decide to (what else?), party. After spending some time chillin' and dancing, one of the teens suggests that they have a seance of some sort. While the seance is being performed, Suzanne witnesses a visage of a demon in a mirror. She panics, the mirror falls and shatters. She'll definitely be getting seven years of bad luck. But that is the least of her problems because there is even a more palpable threat. The demons, which have laid dormant in the deepest depths of Hull House, are finally awakened. Being that this is Halloween night, these demons are now free to wreck havoc however they wish. So one of the demons possesses Suzanne. She in turn kisses Angela (yes!!!) and before long, Angela is also inhabited by a demon. As Angela and Suzanne gradually transform into full-blooded demons, the two embark on a killing rampage and the bloody mayhem begins. They growl, they bite, they have a penchant for Freddy Krueger-style wisecracks. Who will get out alive? Will anyone be able to survive the night? Get ready for this is gonna be one hell of a party...The extremely cheesy animation sequence which takes place during the opening credits strongly intimate that Night of the Demons is a horror film which really doesn't take itself too seriously. That's a good thing because Night of the Demons is replete with horrendous stereotypes, mostly unsympathetic characters, mediocre-to-terrible acting (and sophomoric overacting) and cliches galore (e.g., those who have sex will die). Night of the Demons isn't exactly an innovative or groundbreaking horror film. The acting is for the most part lamentable and the plot itself is trite and unoriginal. Imagine combining the "house is alive" element from The Amityville Horror, the "I dare you to stay in this spooky place for one night" motif from both Hell Night and House on Haunted Hill plus the demonic possession concept from Lamberto Bava's nonsensical but entertaining Demons. That's basically the formula for Night of the Demons. Another problem I had with Night of the Demons were the appallingly extreme stereotypes. Stooge, the really rotund guy is a rude, obnoxious bastard with zero social grace (picture Bluto from Animal House with a touch of Eric Cartman and Peter Griffin). Rodger, like most black guys in these kinds of movies, naturally has a penchant for acting overzealously paranoid. He also happens to be the son of a preacher. Like the stereotypical Goth chick, Angela acts freaky and even does a freaky dance number at one point while her slutty best friend loves to be gazed at. We also have a grumpy old man as a supporting character. Being the grouch that he is, he hates those damn kids and thinks they cause nothing but trouble (which is mostly true). These stereotypes in turn, make the characters mostly unsympathetic --that, and the fact that they do some of the most absurd things imaginable while trying to survive in a possessed house. Of course, it is expected that teens in horror flicks lack rationale. Only the virginal chick is remotely likable -- and if you watch horror movies frequently, you'll know what kind of role she'll end up playing. As for everybody else, actually I was kind of happy when a few of these characters bit the dust. The dialogue is definitely pathetic, but truth be told, I couldn't help but laugh at it at times. That's the point, right? One of the more unforgettable (and quotable) lines of dialogue is "Eat a bowl of fuck! I am here to PARTY!" This line is of course, courtesy of Stooge. Another scene takes place in a convenience store, where two horny clerks are staring down Suzanne's dress. She notices the two peeping toms and asks if they have any "sour balls". Of course, the two replied positively, but she makes a comeback by saying that they don't get a whole lot of blowjobs. Some audiences will groan when listening to the dialogue; others will revel in it. I suppose it all depends on what kind of mood you are in. To put it kindly, the acting in this film is unmemorable. Most of the performers themselves were apparently at least ten years older (at the time this film was made) than the teenagers they portrayed. Veritable screen queen legend Linnea Quigley delivers one of the better performances. Especially when she is possessed...and horny at the same time. The overacting from a number of cast members (especially from Alvin Alexis and Hal Havins) bothered me a bit, but I guess they were portraying caricatures after all. Yet in spite of what I have been writing, I still find Night of the Demons to be a competently made horror film. Unlike most post-Scream horror flicks which emerged starting in the late 1990s, Night of the Demons goes for the jugular when generating scares. Instead of going for cheap frights and thrills, director Kevin S. Tenney actually gives a damn about building suspense and tension. He doesn't rely on hyper-kinetic, migraine-inducing editing; instead Tenney focuses on mood and deliberate pacing to exploit -- and play with -- our intrinsic fears of the unknown and supernatural. Tenney makes use of the derelict house setting to amplify the fear factor. When the camera pans the various corridors and deserted rooms of the haunted house, you get a sense of apprehension tingling down your spine. When a demon possesses a character and she begins to exhibit eccentric behavior, you feel just as nervous as the characters on-screen. For me, it is a more satisfying experience to watch a movie that emphasizes on slowly building terror and gradually increasing momentum. It is both nerve wrecking and exciting at the same time. A truly good horror sequence should allow the viewer to realize danger is approaching yet he/she cannot exactly anticipate when (and how) it will manifest. Like Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, Night of the Demons is a possessed house tale that has atmosphere to boot. Good atmosphere, mood, and tension which builds level by level all enable this film to convey an overall sense of palpable dread throughout -- especially once the real party begins! At times, Night of the Demons does go for the "false alarm" scare (this always seems to irate me the most). In one scene during their arrival at Hull House, a couple of teens investigate what is inside a coffin. As soon as they open a coffin, someone jumps out. Of course, it is only Sal. However, unlike a good majority of horror movies out there, this happens only few and far between. The eye-opening special effects are really ingenious. One particularly memorable effect has the possessed Suzanne sticking a tube of lipstick right inside her breast. That sequence admittedly impressed this normally jaded viewer. The graphic and gory murder sequences are worth highlighting. One poor soul gets both of his eyes gouged out. Someone else loses his tongue while trying to make out with Angela. And yet two other foolish victims decide to have sex -- inside a coffin! Consequently, they both get trapped -- permanently. Sex is lethal, my friend. My favorite death scene though involves the aforementioned cantankerous old guy and some sharp-edged razor blades. I will say no more except it is an awesome twist on the traditional throat-slashing murder. Special effects guru Steve Johnson gets the job done right in crafting the gruesome sequences. Earlier on, I pointed out some of the film's more glaring weaknesses, but even I have to admit this: the badness is part of the film's amusement factor. The film's sense of humor isn't overbearing to the point it becomes a parody of itself. Granted the humor does misfire quite a bit, but at least it is worth a couple of chuckles. Good thing this film maintains some semblance of humor; otherwise its flaws would've made this film rather embarrassing. For the more serious-minded horror fan, if you can get past the corny dialogue, lame plot, and inordinate stereotypes, you will find Night of the Demons to be a surprise treat. It is worth a rental for horror film buffs who are looking to have a good time without having to worry about such cinematic nuances as thematic content and pathos. No, this film will not change the face of horror cinema, but it is an enjoyable, spooky ride with the right mix of gore and goose bumps. Be sure to get the unrated version. From what I hear, the R-rated version edited out several good stuff.