October is the time when folks who don’t usually watch horror start asking for recommendations. So in the interest of being helpful, I’m going to cover an 80s horror essential about every other day this Halloween season. The other days will probably be the same self-indulgent semi-obscure crap I usually deal out.
So to start this 80s Essentials series, let’s look at the ultimate 80s B horror movie: Night of the Demons. This movie is fun right from the opening credits, which feature some cool animation, all the way to the closing credits, when you hear a dark power ballad performed by director Kevin Tenney’s brother Dennis Michael. In between we get to be the fly on the wall at a small but pretty wild party in an old cursed mausoleum, where the guests have an ill-fated seance, and then disastrously try to get laid, before almost everyone gets infested with pesky-ass demons. There are plenty of nude shots, a small horde of demons, gore, laughs, a hot chick with a flamethrower, a memorable effect with a tube of lipstick and a nipple, and a wrap-around subplot about a Halloween Grinch type character.
Night of the Demons spawned two sequels and a remake, and the franchise’s main villain, Angela, was intended to be a feminine answer to Freddy. But the first movie in this series really isn’t all that Angela-centric. Angela is the one who invites a bunch of classmates to party at an old haunted mansion on Halloween night, but really, almost all her scenes are stolen by her friend Suzanne, played by Linnea Quigley. The one bit where Angela really shines is when she dances.
Yeah, this is cheesy to the max, the acting is kind of stilted, and we spend a little too long getting to know these partying fools, but the last 35 minutes or so are balls to the wall. Night of the Demons has earned its status as one of the all-time classic Halloween movies. Watch it with a friend, but leave the scrying mirror in the closet.
Bonus: I’ve embedded both the opening credits and the closing song. Also, Night of the Demons is available on Hulu. Enjoy!