Director Kevin Tenney loves Halloween, and it’s never made more clearly than during the “Night of the Demons.” The 1988 horror film is still a fun and hilarious horror comedy that doesn’t just embrace its horror tropes, but celebrates Halloween as a whole. From the pumpkin in the opening shot to the book end sub-plots involving a crabby old man preparing for trick or treaters, “Night of the Demons” is a perfect film for a Halloween party, and just a downright fantastic summary of why the eighties were such an unabashed festival of novelties for the horror genre.
The low budget gladly never shines through what is a horror film centered on limited scenery and set pieces. But director Tenney is able to wisely use those settings to stage some truly excellent moments of comedy and horror, all of which are tough to forget. There’s the opening shot of Linnea Quigley leaning over a candy rack as Amilia Kinkade lurks in the background shoplifting, and the final scene that will arouse laughter and some eye rolls. “Night of the Demons” is just so much fun for folks that can appreciate the punk rock horror sub-genre that director Tenney evokes with immense enthusiasm. Judy is a virginal young girl whose boyfriend is pressuring her to sleep with him, and figures out if she wants to lose her virginity as she ventures out for Halloween night.
Her friend and local Goth Angela is throwing a private party with her friends at the abandoned haunted Hull House. Within the creaky halls and dusty rooms, Angela and friends accidentally invoke a demonic entity that begins possessing the party goers one by one, and the vicious demons are making a play for virginal Judy for sinister plans. Director Tenney’s horror comedy is very small scale, but still filled immense dread and tension. Tenney is capable of building some very respectable mounting horror, with the unleashing of the demon, and the slow destruction of the party goers, and then unleashes them in a harrowing manner.
Much of the house feels like a character in and of itself, allowing for a lot of terror and grue to ensue, including eye gauging, neck breaking, and impalings. Tenney is able to make even the most simplistic effect look incredibly creepy, while turning the demonic make up in to memorable characters with their own unique elements. Angela is particularly a terrifying villain whose menacing of Judy and fellow survivor Rodger becomes eerie, especially when she’s constantly featured hovering through the dark halls, anxious for blood shed. “Night of the Demons” is such a raucous and very novel horror film that hasn’t aged a bit. If anything the eighties decor only lends a whole other layer of entertainment value to the havoc that ensues.
It’s a worthy horror film given a worthy treatment by Scream Factory. Among the features in the Scream Factory release is “You’re Invited: The Making of Night of the Demons” is a great extensive look at Kevin Tenney’s horror classic and its legacy. At over an hour in length, Tenney and co. discuss the creation of the film and how it began life titled “The Halloween Party,” and eventually became “Night of the Demons” after Mustapha Akkad threatened to sue the low budget production. There are interviews from the entire cast, including Linnea Quigley, and they offer some fun anecdotes about filming in the creepy abandoned house, and how much of the story changed to fit the budget restraints.
There’s even explanation of the inconsistencies in the story and how Judy’s Alice in Wonderland costume factored in to it. It’s a fun segment for fans. There’s a twenty two minute interview with the gorgeous Amilia Kinkade, who played the enigmatic Goth Angela, a character that eventually became the primary villain for the “Night of the Demons” trilogy. Kinkade is still very attractive and garners a unique personality that makes her fun to listen to during the interview. She seems to embrace her role as Angela, and explains her history in dancing, music videos, and her experiences with celebrities like Ray Charles.
It’s a fun interview and Kinkade’s a bit of a bubbly persona that you can laugh with. There’s the four minute “Allison Barron’s Demon Memories,” a four minute recollection of Barron’s days shooting “Night of the Demons” as character Helen. There’s also the theatrical trailer, the trailer for the home video release, TV Spots, Radio Spots, a Promo Reel, a Behind the Scenes Gallery, A Special Effects and Make Up Photo Gallery, Another Photo Gallery, and a gallery featuring Posters and Storyboards for the film.