Night Of The Demons
Director: Adam Gierasch
Stars: Shannon Elizabeth, Monica Keena, Bobbi Sue Luther, Diora Baird, Edward Furlong
Review by Brian M. Sammons
The original 1988 Night Of The Demons is one of my favorite campy fright flicks of all time. Now I’m not wearing blinders, I’m fully aware that my love of 80’s horror movies could just be because I grew up watching them, but in all honesty they just seem better than the horror films that come out now. It’s an ethereal quality, but something about Regan era horrors just appeals to me much more than the vast majority of modern genre films. Hey, maybe that’s because back then, say what you want about them, but the horror flicks were at least original stories. Today they only seem interested in making remake after disappointing remake. Will this latest re-imagining of a campy cult classic be one of the few exceptions and actually turn out to be good? Well put on your Halloween mask and grab your bowl of f… well, you know. (cool points to those that get that), we’re find out.
This 2009 remake has a few good things going for it. The director of the original movie, Kevin Tenney, is a producer on this one and lovely Linnea Quigley has a cameo, still sporting her pink tutu (and still with a pretty fine ass). The basics of the story remain; a cute creepy girl (Shannon Elizabeth) is throwing a party at a haunted house. Some people show up, a few demons get out, and mayhem ensues.
Really, that’s about it.
There’s a bit more back story this time out in regards to why the demons are in the house and what they ultimately want. Also a few things are changed in the story. Gone is the funeral home and in its place is a New Orleans mansion of a lovesick woman who meddled with things she really shouldn’t have.
Further checks in the “good” column include some really cute girls and a few naughty nudie bits for the guys, which being a guy always makes me happy, and some gooey gory bits for everyone else. Speaking of gore, the special effects are pretty darn good and on average are better than what was in the original. Most notable, the demon makeup is much improved. Also the infamous lipstick scene makes a return, this time taken to a whole new, gross level. Last but not least, it has a groovy soundtrack that I would definitely pick up on its own, if just for 45 Grave’s “Night of the Demons” tune.
Now for the checks in the “bad” column, and there are a few.
First the male lead is Edward Furlong and while he was once a pretty good actor, I liked him a lot in American History X, here he just looks sleepy or … well I’ll just say “out of it,” and his performance is so phoned in it should have been sponsored by Verizon. The characters are a bit samey; none of them stand out from the pack. While the first Demons had some great memorable characters, this movie just has “cute girl” one through four, a few “dumb ass guys” and Furlong’s “drug dealer with a heart of gold.” Not one of them has the gravitas of Hal Havins’ Stooge or Linnea Quigley’s Suzanne from the 80s flick. The best of the new bunch is probably Shannon Elizabeth and she’s the first to get demon possessed and afterward she’s pretty much just snarling and hissing. There are also some silly bits, like demons hating rusting metal … uhm, ok.
To further keep the balance between buying and not buying this movie as even as possible is the Blu-ray by Entertainment One. Sure it has amazing picture quality, but that’s to be expected. Sadly it has only a few, somewhat brief extras, but they are done well. There’s a commentary track with the directors and some of the cast, a kind of short “behind the scenes” featurette that’s largely a collection of cast and crew interviews, and a short intro to the movie that was filmed at Comic-Con.
And … that’s it.
While that it perfectly fine, and better than a bare bones release, there could have been more goodies here. Don’t tell me they ran out of space on the Blu-ray.
So when both the good and bad columns are tallied the end result is kind of a wash. That means this remake drives squarely down middle of the road. It’s not bad, and if you’ve never seen the original movie then you might like this remake a bit more than I did. However if you are a child of the 80s and you fondly remember the first NotD then this one will undoubtedly fall short time and time again. It’s worth a watch, even from us “old school” horror fans, but it might be a rental instead of a purchase.