Roar roar goes the MGM lion, and with a synth-laden power theme, the animated credits begin. I’m thinking of doing some aerobics while this nifty little tune plays, and Flash animation ghouls and goblins float into the title card:
With a solid opening credits sequence over with, we CUT TO a car zooming down the road that’s decked-out for Halloween. Generic 80’s metal plays diegetic in the car and the driver is wearing a pig nose, and I’ll just show you this because a picture’s worth a thousand words I’d rather not put the effort into writing:
The most surprising thing here is that a woman is voluntarily in this car with this guy. He’s drinking and driving and whooping it up. She thinks he’s disgusting, he calls her a bitch, and Token Black Guy alerts Pig Man that there’s an old man walking down the street for them to harass. They do so, with Pig Man putting his butt out the window to reveal he’s wearing jack-o’-lantern underoos. I don’t know where this guy gets off calling anybody old, since he looks about 40.
The old man calls them stupid bastards and damns them to hell, so this guy’s my new hero. But Stalker Cam’s on this dude like peanut butter to the roof of a mouth, and some garbage teenager holds a dead rat up to his face. The old man calls him a son of a bitch and the kid spews more hate speech before running off. I gotta say this: this movie’s really succeeding in making we want to see all of these young people die. Like, what the fuck did this elderly gentleman ever do to them? Win World War II and secure America’s place as leader of the free world? Yeah, what an asshole.
He picks up his groceries and yet another young person scares him. Unfortunately, she gets the brunt of his anger at The Youth of Today and he calls her a whore, even though all she wanted to do was help him. She runs off, but to be fair, if I was this dude, I’d be pretty wary about any young person that night, too. Maybe she was going to mace him or something, I don’t know. So while picking up his groceries, he dawns upon the idea that razor blades + apples = revenge on the young. Anyway, he laughs and laughs at his brilliant plan.
The day Mr. Wizard finally snapped.
So Judy, the girl that was just called a whore, runs into her house to get ready for a dance, but her date Jay (great names, movie) says there’s a way better Halloween party elsewhere. Oh, and she gets undressed on-camera, too, because horror movie. Turns out it’s being thrown by the weirdo girl in her History class and is “into witchcraft and all sorts of creepy stuff,” but Jay’s like, come on, this freak will throw a great party. The party’s being held at some crazy goddamn abandoned house in town, and Judy’s creepy 12-year-old brother is hiding in the closet to scare her/get some practice as a future sex offender.
The doorbell rings and this creep kid is scared by the same punk asshole with the rat before. He has a thick New York accent even though nobody else does in the movie, and I’m betting he’s a total fucking prick throughout. Anyway, he shows up to bully this kid and threaten him with violence if he doesn’t get his sister to the door ASAP. So he grabs this kid’s shirt for the fifth time and bribes him to find out where the party’s being held that night. I mean, seriously, is he auditioning for Grease? He steals the kid’s mask, too, because what a fuck.
Man, does this movie have a lot of T&A. It’s been 10 minutes and I’ve already seen two different girls’ asses. We’re in a grocery store, and this second ass this is a ploy to distract the dopey kids behind the counter of the store so her friend can rampantly steal. The girl that’s thieving is going as Fairuza Balk in The Craft for Halloween, while her friend is going as the sluttiest fairy princess of all time. So the fairy girl walks up to the counter oglers and gives a killer line: “Do you guys have sour balls?” “We sure do!” “Too bad, you probably don’t get many blowjobs.” Ha ha! These are minors.
She books it and Fairuza Balk is the “weird girl” in History class, but she doesn’t seem weird. Well, no weirder than the other apes and bozos that we’ve seen in this flick so far. Fairy Girl is boy-crazy, while Fairuza is looking forward to scaring the shit out of her guests.
Judy’s date shows up, and he’s dressed like Miami Vice for Halloween, or as they called this outfit in 1988, haute couture. The little brother mentions that his sister has “big cha-chas” and this movie’s veering uncomfortably close to Sleepaway Camp levels of sexualizing the young. Judy’s mom offers Jay a fudge log, but it looks like a plate of doody, and he says no fucking way. So Judy is dressed as Alice from Alice in Wonderland and Judy asks why he’s not dressed up; meanwhile, her little brother is one mean-spirited little shit and calls them both girls as they leave. Outside, Jay gives Judy a smooch and he seems like he’s looking for a bag full of fucking for Halloween.
Back to those abysmal monsters in the car—Pig Man, Awful Girl, and Token—and they curse and bitch about the bad directions to the party, and Pig Man is just the worst, screaming in the girls’ face to shut up, bitch. It’s truly unpleasant.
A still from the unaired reboot pilot of The Mod Squad.
Judy and Jay pick up their friends for the party, who also comment that Jay’s a fucking tool for not dressing up (true), and off they go. Those horrible bastard-people fucked up their car because Pig Man is an irresponsible idiot and now they’re stranded in the middle of nowhere. Goddamn, does he scream in this girl’s face really often. Why is anybody hanging out with this guy? Does he poop quarters or something?
Lo and behold, Judy & Co.’s car drives up and Pig Man pretends to be a decent person for half a second to score a ride to the party. But guess what, fuck nuts? Everybody hates you and they let these degenerate fucks eat dust as they drive off.
A little exposition scene lets us know the house the party’s being held was once the biggest funeral parlor in the county (do people track that kind of thing?). Anyway, the dude that used to own it apparently fucked the dead and massacred everyone in his house before taking the easy way out himself.
They drift around the property, and Max (dressed as a doctor) checks out an old legend about the place using his stethoscope. He listens for an underwater stream and mentions that a brick wall was built on top of it. I’m guessing that this information is going to come back into play, and it’s also let known that the haunted spirits that roam the land can’t cross running water (just so you know, audience).
They trespass into the house looking for the party (some nameless girl says, “Somebody fired the maid!” and it’s like no, nobody’s lived in here for decades, you dope), and Judy’s shocked to find a coffin in a funeral parlor. But ha ha, it’s that awful jerkoff that was stalking Judy earlier (his name is Sal), and he’s casually jerky. Fairuza Balk is there with Fairy Girl, and unfortunately Pig Man and his friends are also there. Can I just go to the dance instead?
The party starts, Sal’s a fucking jerkoff as usual, and Fairy Girl can’t help but shake her money maker to the joy of all of the guys present. Fairuza and Judy fucking hate each other, and why are all of these people hanging out with each other, again? Fairy Girl can’t help but put her ass directly in the face of every guy there, and she should really read a pamphlet on self-esteem.
Gloria Allred: The Early Years
Judy holds onto a lighter (foreshadowing!) and Max’s nameless girlfriend is like, hey can you not eye-fuck Fairy Girl for just one second? Someone puts on a strobe light and mentions that her mother used to be an acid head, which explains all of her problems, and Jay ditches Judy to follow Fairy Girl’s ass around. This party has like 10 people in it, and almost all of them are fairly despicable, so it’ll be refreshing to see how they’ll all soon die.
Fairuza says it’s time for party games, Pig Man says something piggish, and they decide it’s séance time. Pig Man forces Token to check out some noise they heard, and The Bottom of the Barrel Gang looks concerned. Token comes back in the room, looking freaked out, and Pig Man is smiling about…something. They find a mirror and decide to tamper with forces they do not understand (Hey! I almost have Horror Movie Bingo!). Token seems unnerved while the rest of the gang get into the séance spirit, and while it starts to work, everybody gets distracted just as an eldritch abomination appears in the mirror.
“Hey, guys? Unfathomable creature over here! Hello? I hate this generation.”
But the girl that Pig Man is always screaming at sees something scary in the mirror, and Pig Man both moves to strike her and calls her a bitch at the same time, doubling down on his awfulness. Her name is Helen, and not Bitch, like she’s been called about a dozen times by now, and she’s generally shitted on by everybody there. Then they hear a booming knock at the door. Somebody asks if Fairuza invited anybody else to the party (of course she didn’t; why would you? This group of frenemies are just unstoppable amounts of fun on their own). We get a look at the nightmare that’s being unleashed in the house, and it’s the creature they totally missed while distracted during their own party game. It goes into Stalker Cam to witness all of these young assholes insulting each other and goes into Fairy Girl because she has her mouth open.
Party Girl Demon suddenly becomes the most composed person in the room, while Fairuza gives a little exposition about how the temperature dropping suddenly and the sulfur-like stink in the room means demons are afoot, but Pig Man just says some more gross shit at this conclusion. Meanwhile, Token’s dad was a preacher (racist) and says he doesn’t like what’s going on here one bit. Me neither! He goes to leave but stops because everyone smells roses. The camera spins and spins around and Pig Man is just a pure contrarian in the classic tradition of Christopher Hitchens, only he’s fat and gross and an idiot. Fairuza’s like, whatever’s going on now is real and pure evil is coming, but Pig Man and Sal blow it off because they’re fucking awful.
Fairy Girl Demon lays down the goddamn law though, and Pig Man tells…somebody…to “eat a bowl of fuck.” Token and Helen want to get the fuck out of here, and Party Girl Demon gives them Fairuza’s keys to leave, and then it’s TIME TO PARTY! with these six people. Jay and Judy split to another room to have sexual relations of some sort while Party Demon suckers Pig Man to following her to his inevitable demise. Sal correctly calls Pig Man a fat pig, and I’m glad he’ll be dead soon because he’s goddamn terrible. Party Demon gives Fairuza a long, evil kiss, and she starts crying because anything outside of heteronormative values in 1988 is evil. Then she flashes a wide smile at Sal because she’s now possessed, as well.
Pig Man idiotically walks to his doom with Party Demon, who leaves him waiting in the hall while it uses the Demons-Only bathroom. He pokes his snout around a bit and shows himself to be a fucking coward, as well. Meanwhile, Max tells a story about the land they’re on, how there’s an ancient curse on it, and that a bunch of fucked up shit went down here, but he read about this in a book, so in 1988 he may as well be calling himself a homosexual communist with this admission.
Jay gives Max the ol’ “get the fuck out of here so I can fudge” head-tilt and Judy’s alone with this young republican. He immediately starts feeling her up, and she’s like, this creepy place isn’t doing it for me, and he’s disappointed.
Outside, Token and Helen are stuck by the brick wall (*nudges at you* Remember? The beginning? That thing about the stuff?) and Helen’s thinking they’re dead and have gone to Hell since they can’t find the exit anymore. He spouts a string of obscenities at her because I guess she produces a pheromone that makes men curse at her non-stop, but when he turns around she’s gone and he freaks the fuck out.
“Wait a minute….horror movie… nobody’s died yet…I’m black…oh, shit!”
There are spooky whispers and jumpy horror arpeggios all over the place and he leaps into a nearby car. Back in the house, Jay’s kissing Judy like she has chocolate smeared all over her face and slut-shames her for dating Sal once, thinking that she had sex with him. He stupidly goes in for another kiss and she pushes him off (hooray!). So he does what any good, decent man does and fucking abandons her for not putting out. And apparently she’s also locked in this room.
Meanwhile, Pig Man bashes on the bathroom door, calling the woman he’s hoping to sleep with a bitch (who taught these guys how to court a lady, Chris Brown?), but Party Demon’s too busy turning into an actual demon to answer. Pig Man hears a crash inside the bathroom, but Party Demon’s gone. He stands there looking like the fat, ugly, stupid pig that he is.
“Call me a bitch one more time, I fucking dare you.”
Fairuza’s acting coo-coo crazy downstairs with Sal, and she does some interpretive dance. I’m expecting her to do the old “light as a feather, stiff as a board” routine, but then realize that that movie won’t be made for another 8 years, so instead she crawls around on all fours and turns the stereo on with her mind. She gets pretty into it and hikes her dress up because ostensible minors haven’t been sexually objectified for about 10 minutes. Sal’s a fucking nerd that doesn’t know how to react to this, so she ups her game by turning the strobe light on, but he’s more confused than turned on. This sequence goes on for a very long time, I guess because they were going to get their money’s worth for hiring a professional dancer, and Sal starts backing out of the room after a few minutes. Speaking of that increment of time: We’re nearly 50 minutes into this goddamn thing and not one person has died yet. I wonder if Mr. Wizard’s young, unsuspecting trick-or-treating off-screen victims count? Probably not.
Pig Man bumbles into the room and, despite Sal’s warning that Fairuza’s acting weird, he strolls right up for some old-fashioned sexual harassment. He should suspect that something’s up when a good-looking woman starts calling him sexy. He kisses her because she tells him to and promptly fucks his face up. Now who’s the bitch?
Yeah yeah, rejection hurts. Get over it, crybaby
Fairuza Demon bit his damn tongue off, so now I like her character a lot more. Was that some sort of cleverness on the filmmaker’s part? The verbally abusive asshole gets his tongue bit off? I sure hope so. Either way, it was nice to see Pig Man in pain.
Sal wanders around looking for someone to practice his Mid-Atlantic enunciation on and finds Party Demon in a room, who has used lipstick to draw a big heart on her face. Uh, it’s Halloween, not Valentine’s Day, demon. Sal’s dismayed to find yet another girl going crazy at this party and says he’s getting the fuck out of here, and Party Demon seems bummed out by this.
Aww, don’t feel bad: I choo-choo-choose you!
And then she takes off her top. Man, this movie really knows its demographic of lonely male weirdos. Why yes, I write a comedy horror blog, why do you ask?
Elsewhere, Max and his nameless girlfriend have found a coffin-filled room and since they’ve “never made it in a coffin before” (direct quote), they get down to business. Party Demon is still topless and is now drawing an outline around her breast. Then she shoves the lipstick into her nipple and it disappears into her breast. What the fuck? Anyway, Jay comes by and, looking for literally any action whatsoever, decides to get busy with this obviously deranged person.
Sal lets Fairuza Demon know that he’s splitting, and she says that she was just warming her hands by the fire, literally. Like, her hands are now scalded and on fire. Get it? A nice push-zoom on his horrified face happens and he beats feet for the door. But it’s locked, so he runs off into the house.
Back outside, Token (hey, he’s still alive!) is having a snooze in one of the cars. The car gets jolted and he thinks it’s Pig Man, but instead the disfigured face of Helen slops onto the windshield. He freaks and bolts out of the car.
Jay, looking like Uncle Joey from Full House, is watching Party Demon get undressed, as are we for about the fourth time in this movie. WHOA! Full-fruntal nudity out of nowhere! Anyway, they start getting to it, but then Party Demon goes Full Demon on him and tells him to stop looking at her. But it’s kind of hard to when someone looks like this:
In 1988, this was why you didn’t have casual sex. Oh, and AIDS. But mostly this.
She thumbs his goddamn eyes in, and I’m pretty sure that all of the deaths in this movie are ironic echoes of the characters’ worst flaws, so good on you, movie, for being clever-ish!
Another girl, and another scene featuring their nakedness. This time it’s the nameless girlfriend of Max, and a lot of these women have those really crummy boob jobs that were popular in the 80’s before we figured out how to not make them look like obvious boob jobs. This may sound like I’m objectifying them, but 1) I’m not the one that made this movie and included all of this, and 2) I’m not the one having sex in a coffin, so my hands are clean.
Pig Man shows up and now he’s a demon, too (Pig Demon? Sure.) and he goes after Max’s Girlfriend. He breaks her neck with his bare hands, and then closes the coffin on the two of them, breaking off Max’s arm in the process. This party sucks.
Hey! Token is still alive! This must have been a record for a person of color in a horror film up to this point in history! Fairuza Demon scares the dickens out of him, he runs away, and then meets up with Sal, who’s also freaked out.
Drinking Coors: not even once.
They try to figure out how to get the hell out of this place while Fairuza Demon stalks the halls. Meanwhile, Judy just fell asleep in the room she was locked in while Pig Demon tries the door. She asks if it’s Jay, but it’s not, and Pig Demon splits to go kill elsewhere. Then she slides back down to the floor and looks out the window. I bet she’s pissed because she thought she was going to be the star of this movie, but has been locked in a room by herself instead for the past half hour.
Token and Sal continue their long day’s journey into night and try to…find their way out of there? Avoid the demons? Find Judy? It’s unclear, and the movie makes no effort to clarify. They hear Judy asking for help and Token’s like, come on, that’s probably a demon, but no, it’s Judy. But whuh-oh! Here comes Fairuza Demon.
“This makeup isn’t a rip-off of The Exorcist at all!”
Judy lamely falls to the floor when this happens and Fairuza Demon keeps playing “Find The Squares.” They duck into a room, but it’s the room where Party Demon is with Jay, who’s now missing both eyes. She says some creepy sexual shit and knocks Sal through a window while Judy runs away. Party Demon mocks her pain, as party demons do.
All of the doors in the place slam shut on her face like she’s a Communications major looking for work after graduation. She arbitrarily decides to run down a hallway and finds herself in the Cryptkeeper’s bedroom. There’s Max’s severed arm, which jumps up and grabs her ankle. She kicks it away and screams and screams, and then Demon Max and Demon Unnamed Girlfriend bounce up out of the coffin like this is a fucking haunted house exhibit.
“Tell your friends it’s two-for-one admission this week at Dr. Max’s Haunted House!”
The soundtrack goes do-do-do-do-dee-dee-dee-doo-doo-doo really fast as Judy finds herself trapped in the house. Sal wakes up from being blown through a window and notes that he can’t get out of here. He climbs up a water pipe and says out loud, “Thank heaven for water pipes,” and I tend to agree with him. Water pipes are very useful in modern society.
Judy’s slowly scoping out this fucked-up scene and comes across Token, but nope, there’s Pig Demon waiting for her. Then it’s Party Demon’s turn to growl at her. Judy’s now covered in dirt and grime as she continues to gingerly find her way through Mickey’s Haunted Mansion. She’s now on the top floor, and Pig Demon’s sussing her out like she’s a truffle. But hey! It’s Token again! And Sal! And Fairuza Demon, who has gone through a costume change at some point! Judy nearly falls off the fucking roof like a goddamn goon while Sal gets strangled by Fairuza Demon. Both Sal and FD take a header off the roof onto the ground below, Sal with a wooden stake through his chest and Fairuza taking the kind of nap that also makes blood spill out of your mouth.
Token tries to have Judy let go so she won’t die, but she’s hesitant because of those two people who just fell to their deaths from the same height moments earlier. Pig Demon shows up on the roof and this provides her with enough motivation to let go.
At this point, she takes a quick moment to audition for a Tom Petty video.
She breaks her fall with Token, but Pig Demon jumps down after them. And then there’s Fairuza Demon letting them know that the party ain’t over. They turn around and run back into the house (why?) and the film just straight up lifts the cinematography from Evil Dead at this point because there’s 20 minutes left so who cares?
Token and Judy get themselves into a “safe” room, and they both laugh and cry like two maniacs at this crazy turn of events. Judy thinks she found an exit, but Token says they should pray first (not a bad idea), but it’s the fucking crematorium, not an exit. Have they never even heard of a funeral home? Did she think there was a Super Fun Happy Slide in the basement? She finds a skull in there, because it’s the crematorium in a funeral home, and figures out where she is. Meanwhile, the growls and bangs are getting louder at the door, and the demons tell Token that they won’t hurt him if they give them the girl. He doesn’t buy that shit, but they also let slip that it’s Halloween, so Judy puts it together that they just have to survive until dawn and then they can go to Denny’s for the Rooty Tooty Fresh N’ Fruity breakfast.
But the demons start taking the hinges off the door while Judy looks for a weapon and Token…just kind of gives up. She gets a pipe that for some reason still has running gas even though this place has been abandoned for decades, and starts flicking the lighter (*nudges* Remember? That lighter she pocketed earlier? Foreshadowing!) while Pig Demon bursts through the door. But she gets the gas lit and torches Fairuza and Pig Demon.
This party is on fire! Everyone is lit and looking hot! I just hope it doesn’t go up in flames. (*tasers self*)
So the demons do a flaming dance while Judy can’t stop the fire, and Token actually does something useful by turning off the valve for the gas. They seem pretty happy with themselves, but a s-s-s-skellington grabs his shoulder from inside the crematorium!
Token realizes they can’t get out of here, and Blind Man Jay shows up to make Judy feel bad. Fairuza Demon makes a hilarious pun about Judy not liking her blind date, and now everybody, including Impaled Sal, is a demon. Token says fuck this noise and jumps out of a window, leaving Judy to deal with this shit on her own. She runs out after Token, and they’re trying to find the gate, but Token already knows that game. Token starts climbing up barbed wire with his bare hands because he’s not going out like a chump, gets to the top of the wall, and waits to help Judy up. But here comes Pig Demon to fuck everything up. Indeed he does, by grabbing onto Judy and singeing her skin (?) as she tries to climb up. Then all of the demons start staggering towards her. Token fucking ditches Judy, who’s getting pulled down by the demons, but hey, at least he’s safe.
But no, Token comes back to the top of the wall to help her, because it turns out that he’s the hero of the movie. The sun comes up and melts these fuckface demons, dragging them back to Hell where they belong. The ignored demon from the beginning re-appears to growl at them, and then is sucked back into Hell/Bad Projection Land.
Sun up, heads up, seven-up, and their long nightmare is over. Judy’s leg is badly burned and they look like they rolled around in the mud all night, but at least they’re alive. The old man with the razor blade apples call them rotten trash as they pass by his house, and we follow him inside. He sits down for the paper and a bowl of resentment for breakfast and trashes his wife’s cooking. She made him apple pie, and whoops! It’s from the apples he put the razor blades in. Blood starts spurting from his neck and he dies, and she’s rather pleased at this, giving him a peck on the back of the head. She says Happy Halloween dear and takes a sip of her coffee. AND THAT’S FUCKING IT, THAT’S ALL YOU GET, YOU SAVAGES!
- Sorry about calling the black character Token: As I’ve mentioned in these reviews, if I don’t catch their name early on, the characters are kind of stuck with the nickname I affix to them so I can just type really fast while watching the movie. Considering that he was the eventual hero of the movie, I feel that he deserves his name to be mentioned somewhere here. Roger. The character’s name was Roger.
- This movie was re-made in 2009, but I don’t know why somebody wouldn’t just make their own original movie. It’s not that this movie was bad, but it wasn’t exactly an intriguing masterwork of horror.
- To say this film took some inspiration from Evil Dead is like saying Mr. Pibb borrowed a little from Dr. Pepper.
- The guy that wrote and directed this film, Kevin S. Tenney, followed this with a long career as a horror filmmaker, including the remake of this movie. So that’s why it was remade!
This was a pretty solid horror movie,if not terribly memorable. While it leaned on all of the usual horror tropes (horrible kids meet terrible ends; messing with forces beyond your understanding = bad idea; lots of gratuitous nudity; archetypal characters up the ying-yang), its premise, pacing, editing, and cinematography were all on-point. While it wasn’t scary or disturbing, it was exactly what it set out to be: a horror movie.
This film is regarded a cult horror film, but I haven’t come across many horror movies in this little blog that aren’t considered cult in one way or another. Is this a label that’s easily branded on horror movies? Perhaps. I suspect the nature of horror films—to highlight the disturbing, bizarre, and grotesque—attracts viewers that are seeking out this kind of outré entertainment.
On characters: while it was refreshing that there was no racism hurled at the only black character in the film (Roger. His name was Roger.), the women in this film don’t fare so well in the “respect” category: the amount of times a woman is angrily referred to as a “bitch” in this movie is downright disturbing to 2016 sensibilities. Likewise, every female character, save for one, showed off their assets to varying degrees and only in service of cheap titillation (huh huh, “assets and titillation”). Also, aside from the broad strokes they were painted with, there isn’t much characterization outside of the costumes the characters wore (the boy-crazy party girl wears a revealing fairy princess outfit; the innocent female protagonist dresses as Alice; the weird girl is dressed as a witch; the fat, awful slob is dressed like a pig, etc.).
The demon makeup looked great, and the practical effects were also very well done (dig the final scene’s throat-shredding effects—gross). It had a spooky atmosphere in the classic “haunted house” sense, but aside from the little séance they arbitrarily decide to hold, there isn’t much in the way of “reason” or “purpose” for any of the action (aside from: it’s Halloween and demons come to Earth to raise a little Hell). While I find the best horror the type that isn’t explained to the audience, this movie gives a lukewarm version of that: they give an explanation for the horror, but it’s neither well-thought-out or mysterious enough to fully commit to either nonsense nightmare horror or straight-forward monster horror. This film has a lot to appeal to the horror audience (for one reason or another), but doesn’t deliver on scares. Instead, it’s a survival horror tale wearing a slightly different suit than usual.
Again: it’s a solid horror flick, but there’s nothing special here. Just some shitty kids being assholes and getting their worlds rocked because of it. Not terrible enough to be great, and not great enough to be memorable. It’s a middle-of-the-road offering, and that’s where my rating is landing. Night of the Demons gets two-and-a-half out of four Fairuza Demons.