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Cinema/TV, Film Notes

Film review – Night of the Demons (2009)

My notes on the minor remake of the minor film.

Like that Stephen King story about the shipwrecked doctor who eats himself piece by piece, the horror movie remakes craze is getting to the point when you think there can’t be anything left to consume without fatal injury.  There was an obvious commercial imperative to make over well-remembered titles like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Halloween, Dawn of the Dead or Friday the 13th, but surely few were eagerly waiting for redos of Toolbox Murders (written by Adam Gierasch and Jace Anderson), April Fool’s Day or The House on Sorority Row.  Gierasch and Anderson are back, with Gierasch directing as well as co-writing, for this remake of the 1988 Kevin S. Tenney film.  The original Night of the Demons went straight to video in the UK, and is probably remembered only for a weird bit (expanded here) in which starlet Linnea Quigley shoves a lipstick into her nipple.  Quigley gamely takes a cameo in a trick or treat sequence, reproducing her butt-waving-at-the-camera intro shot from the older movie, but Amelia Kinkade, who spun off demon goth girl Angela into a minor franchise (sequels in 1994 and 1997) isn’t summoned back (she now writes books about communicating with pets).  The old movie was nothing special, and neither is this – but it’s a reasonable time-waster with kids stuck overnight in a haunted house on Halloween, persecuted by demons which possess their friends but don’t like rusty metal.

 

Angela Feld (Shannon Elizabeth) is no longer an outsider, but a rave-organising entrepreneur – the rest of the disposables include a slobbish drug dealer (Edward Furlong), with a debt to pay; his nice ex-girlfriend (Monica Keena), who is least sluttily dressed and most likely to survive; a couple of possessable bimbos in sexy cat costumes (Bobbi Sue Luther, Diora Baird); and the usual horny guys (John F. Beach, Michael Copon).  After the big excessive costume party is shut down by the cops, these seven are stuck in ‘the old Broussard mansion’ overnight.  They find seven skeletons in the basement, which prompt a couple of unwieldy ‘the old legend says …’ speeches from characters who fill in the backstory about a 1920s séance and explain that seven people need to be possessed to usher in an age of demon rule on Earth, but that besides rusty iron the symbols scrawled on a wall by a maid during the original crisis can ward off the creatures.  Here, the girl who shoves the lipstick into her breast also produces it again from her vagina – demonstrating some advance in the field of demon-possession since 1988, and this movie’s commitment to gross-out humour/horror.

 

Eerie supernatural moments are in short supply, though a brief bit where the demons lure the survivors out from safety by faking sunrise (complete with twittering birds) is acceptable – mostly, the demon possessees continue the same type of wisecracks, insults and snarls they were prone too in their normal personae.  The old movie, and especially the sequels, built up Angela as a horror star character – confusing, since the Sleepaway Camp franchise had an identically-named figurehead – but Elizabeth’s presence here is limited, and she doesn’t appear to take much of a lead among the other fang-mawed, floating, boo-shouting, face-shredding bogeys.  Despite Angela’s speech about wanting this to be the wildest, most decadent party ever, she’s uptight about the presence of a drug dealer in the crowd – and the hijinx are fairly standard teens-on-a-bender grade, rather than something which might segue into deviltry (when stuck together, the young folks play spin the bottle kissing games like fourteen-year-olds rather than break out a ouija board).  It’s okayish fun, but doesn’t make you eager for remakes of Creepozoids, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers or Sorority Babes in the Slime-Ball Bowl-a-Rama.

 

Here’s a trailer.

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Discussion

One thought on “Film review – Night of the Demons (2009)

  1. Michael Krzmarzick Kim, an excellent review. It’s now gone from purchase to rental.

    Jason Vedder I never saw original and your review is far better and interesting than this movie could ever be. Sadly, I probably would check out a remake of Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (Showtime came in free one weekend years ago.) God help me, but I enjoyed that one.

    Jack Karswell I can’t see this finding an audience at the cinema. I remember renting the original on VHS, which, I guess, makes me officially old!

    John Worley Not seen the original – but I actually rather liked this version. (As far as I recall – from last year’s FrightFest, I believe.)

    Dan Gosse The original NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (1988) did have a theatrical release. From Wikipedia: “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.”

    Jack Karswell I don’t think it got a theatrical release in the UK, though. Although I might be wrong.

    Calum Waddell I’d like to see remake of Night of the Demon (the bigfoot one)!

    Kim Newman Calum – since all Bigfoot films have roughly the same story, I assume that every one since 1980 is a de facto remake of Night of the Demon.

    Calum Waddell Ha! Good point. Your intro to Don’t go in the Woods on Marc’s nasty DVD had me laughing out loud incidently: I forgot how cluttered these woods were (and how lousy most of these old nasties are!)

    Jack Karswell Ah, Night of the Demon. Sadly not enough films feature girl scouts doing a hokey-cokey of death with someone who looks like a cross between Mick Jagger and an orangutan.

    Barry Poulton The annoying thing about this is I’ll probably see this before the original which hasn’t been released on Region 2 yet.

    Posted by kimnewman | September 23, 2017, 2:27 pm

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