Night of the Demons
In my search for Halloween-themed movies that I should catch up on this month, I came across this title in a lot of lists. So, naturally, I gave it a try. After all, the corny stuff of the 80s is what I'm all about when it coms to horror both good and bad. So where does this land? It's a "meh".
The story involves a group of bad acting teenagers, none of which I'm too sure were ever in anything else of significance. Of course, if I'm worng here, do feel free to correct me. There's still a lot I haven't seen. Anyway, these teens are preparing for an epic Halloween bash at the creepy, abandoned funeral parlor known as Hull House. The place is rumored to be cursed, having to do with a gruesome murder that took place on Halloween night, several years earlier.
During the party, and evil force is awakened and takes possession of one of the girls. From there, it kinda shifts to zombie/vampire rules in that if you come into certain contact with anyone possessed, the demon spreads a bit like a virus. Really and truly, however, what we have here is a fairly typical zombie movie if the zombies were more demonic than just shambling masses of dead flesh.
That idea aside, it did seem as though this was an attempt to combine the fiendish gore of the 'The Evil Dead' and the creepiness (and title) of 'Night of the Living Dead', an admittedly clever move for the time, keeping it it's own thing, yet giving the fans what they came looking for. The film has quite a bit going for it. There's pretty kick ass animated intro that lets you know it's meant to be a fun Halloween thrill. Besides that, the overall makeup and practical effects really do tend to shine through. One can use this as a good example of WHY practical effects are a GOOD thing for the horror genre. As a simple fun ride for the holiday, it's pretty good.
There is however one thing that takes away from the whole deal, and it's pretty unfortunate. The combination of acting and dialogue is actually pretty brutal. The acting makes it look like not just a student film, but a high school student film, and the dialogue is just plain bad and dated. Like for example when the lead's little brother tells her she has "bodacious boobs"... dude... no. Anyway, there's really not much sympathy for any character in this Halloween adventure, and you kinda catch yourself just waiting for the next kill instead. It was probably on purpose, but even in the 'Friday the 13th' films I can find someone to route for (Jason, himself) but this didn't have me routing for either the teenagers to survive or for the demons to take things over.
I pretty much concluded that this wasn't gonna be something I would watch every Halloween like 'Halloween', but one that I might revisit just to see if I appreciate it more over time. For the time being though, I just find it really hard to get past that acting and dialogue. But basically everything else about this fits the Halloween mood just right.
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