Night of the Demons is one of those movies I like well enough, but wish I liked more. The movie’s got a lot going for it: a creepy setting, solid monster make-up, and some decent gore effects. It’s like a cross between The Evil Dead and Lamberto Bava’s Demons, just without all the things that make those movies great. I much prefer the sequels, the remake, and the two spiritual sequels The Convent and The Hazing to the original. It’s a decent effort but it just doesn’t have a hook.
Taking place several years after the first movie, Night of the Demons 2 deals with a Catholic school for wayward youths somewhere near the original film’s location of Hull House. Angela and the murders that happened long ago on Halloween are the topic of local legend and a young man obsessed with demonology (Tremors’ Melvin, Robert Jayne) seeks to commune with the spirits. A group playing a prank on Angela’s younger sister Mouse (Merle Kennedy) takes her to Hull House on Halloween. They all escape without incident, but bring along the lipstick that Linnea Quigley stuck in her nipple in the first movie. Since the lipstick is on the other side of the underground river which keep the demons trapped in Hull House, the demons now wreak havoc on the school. So a handful of students and Sister Gloria (Jennifer Rhodes), a nun with a particular set of skills, go back to Hull House to stop Angela once and for all.
Does It Hold Up?
I like it more than the first. Brian-Trenchard Smith is a director who’s equally as likely to direct absolute garbage as anything good but he does a fairly good job here. Night of the Demons 2 never quite figures out what to do with Angela, the film’s ending look like it was reshot at leat 3 times and I think we may have at least a couple cuts shown in the finished version, and remaking a sequel to a film with very ’80s sensibilities in the mid-90s was doomed to have issues. I also feel like the plot could have done with at least one less change of scenery, there’s too much back-and-forth between the school and Hull House.
With that being said, Night of the Demons 2 has a lot more happening than the first movie, which often seemed to be twiddling its thumbs to kill time. The demon make-up is all pretty effective and there are plenty of creepy little set-pieces dreamed up for the demons to do. Also, unlike the first one, this movie has a hook. That hook is Jennifer Rhodes as Sister Gloria. I’m sure the character was the result of several rewrites, she’s sort of an Ash or Burt type character. She wields a yardstick like a rapier and rosary beads like nunchucks. The movie’s biggest failure is that it never gives her an actual sword with which to battle Angela (who does, bizarrely enough, does wield a sword in this.)
Night of the Demons 2 isn’t exactly the movie I had hoped Night of the Demons would be, but it has more of the qualities I wanted from that movie.
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