Movie Review: Night of the Demons (1988)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1988 horror film starring Hal Havins and Linnea Quigley.

Synopsis: A group of teenagers throw a Halloween party at an abandoned funeral parlor and predictably encounter supernatural activity. As the demonic entities begin their rampage, the teenagers realize the creatures can't be stopped on Halloween night and they must, instead, find a way to survive until morning.

Who's In It?

Review

My wife came across this movie last night as I was getting the kids ready for bed and, even though she only intended to leave it on until we found time to watch something else, we ended up watching the entire film. After doing so, my opinion about whether or not we wasted our time is a bit mixed.

I'll start out by saying this was not the worst supernatural horror film I've ever watched. In fact, it did manage to have some good things going for it. I especially liked how the teenagers ended up being trapped on the funeral parlor's grounds when the gate/only exit disappeared. This part, at minimum, answered one of the biggest questions I have with most films in this genre, "why don't they just leave?"

My biggest problem with this film is I had a hard time telling if the movie was making an effort not to take itself (or the horror movie genre) too seriously and purposely trying to keep things lighthearted or if it just seemed that way because of a poorly-written script. Sadly, even if it was the former and the bad dialogue and over-the-top acting was intentional, the film just didn't work for me, primarily because it just wasn't funny enough to be a comedy and failed miserably as a horror film.

I think a big part of the problem is the movie never really gives a decent backstory about the funeral parlor. There are, of course, rumors of a family being slaughtered in a murder/suicide and I can only assume that is related to the demons they encounter. But, the demons themselves, and their objective, remain a bit too much of a mystery. I'm not saying filling in the blanks would have automatically made this a better film. But, it wouldn't have hurt.

The movie also seems to have quite a bit of gratuitous nudity/sex in it. Again, this isn't something that is uncommon for this genre. But, in most of the cases, the scenes just seemed forced, as though the writers realized the movie wasn't very good and were hoping to distract the viewer with a half-naked woman.

This being said, the movie did, admittedly, have one thing going for it. It's a film that turned out to be so bad, I found I couldn't help but keep watching to see what would happen next. Of course, I'm not sure if this was because of the movie itself (either intentional or unintentional) or just because it was getting late and I was too lazy to find something else to watch.

Final Opinion

Whether it was intentional or not, this movie is actually kind of lousy as a horror film. If you come across it late at night and can't find anything better to watch, it's probably worth your time. But, I wouldn't recommend going out of your way to see it.

My Grade: C

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Updated: 02/16/2016, StevenHelmer
 
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