Teen Horror Sequel
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Night of the Demons 2 (1994)
17th Aug 08
80’s style horror from the 90’s with the tough job of following a movie renowned for Linnea Quigley’s knickers and cinema history’s best ever disappearing-lipstick scene. The world’s hottest Catholic schoolgirls drag along a much-put upon school doormat for some fun - and inevitable death - at “Hull House”.
Here’s a likeable sequel to the fun 80’s horror comedy from Brian Trenchard Smith, whose main genre claim to fame is that he directed Turkey Shoot, the once-notorious schlocker featuring a mad cannibal who looked like Noddy Holder of Slade. Like Kevin S Tenney’s original Night of the Demons, this flick belongs in the 80’s with its welcome boobs n bush shots alternating with roving Sam Raimi-inspired subjective camerawork, and corny one-liners from the mischievous central villain (Amelia Kinkade’s sexy demon Angela).
Even a defiant hero-nun (also spouting one-liners and showing off some martial arts moves) suits up to fight evil via a montage like some 80’s action star. There’s a lot of undemanding retro fun to be had, with the jokey freewheeling tone set by a prologue in which Angela slashes up a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses who have foolishly decided to cheerfully predict the apocalypse at her house.
This sequel settles down into a slow build after the initial splatter gag, with a largely gore-free first half centred around an atmospheric rendering of Angela’s old haunt, Hull House. Trenchard-Smith is savvy enough to fill out the time with amusing or arousing diversions, including the aforementioned ruler-wielding comedy nun, a sister whose key philosophy is “A kiss is a sin when it is an upper persuasion for a lower invasion”. Is anyone else turned on by that line? Hello? Nurse?
Night of the Demons 2 also has a much better cast than the typical 90’s direct to video genre movie, with an appealing bunch of smart, feisty, hot girls easily stealing the movie away from the one-note doofus representatives of the male species. The one exception is the unfortunate “Mouse” (Merle Kennedy, later in Trenchard-Smith’s Vegas-set Leprechaun 3), a much-persecuted lesbian outcast the script doesn’t care about enough to make genuinely sympathetic.
The girls look great in and out of their fetishised convent school outfits, with prime kudos going to a sexy young Christine Taylor (later married to Ben Stiller) and acid tongued buxom babe Zoe Trilling. Trilling was a minor-league video sexpot in this period, and spent a lot of time in expensive underwear in Tobe Hooper’s demented Marquis De Sade flick Night Terrors alongside an uber-hammy Robert Englund (not, alas, seen in his underwear). Her cleavage is perhaps the most spectacular sight in the movie, and some kind of all-time B movie highpoint is reached during the catalytic moment in which her breasts sport a pair of extra arms. Is anyone else turned on by - ah, forget it.
While the majority of 90’s horror films veered toward the tame and bland end of the spectrum, this flick harkens back with verve to 80’s-style surrealistic horror gags involving demon heads in toilets and possessed lipsticks with phallic tendrils. The Halloween party mayhem of the second half has a cool anything-goes sense of fun. Water pistols are loaded with holy water, Angela invades backseat make-out sessions, and a guy plays basketball with his own recently severed head while the noggin gives a running commentary. The climax is a showcase for old-school Steve Johnson make up FX, with exploding bodies, demon meltdowns and Angela transforming into a demon snake a la Freddy in Nightmare On Elm Street Part III : Dream Warriors.
Like Trenchard-Smith’s other genre outings, the movie has, above all, an infectious sense of unpretentious fun. It’s so breezily entertaining that it even gets away with a standard 80’s “shock coda” that ropes in a goofy animated serpent of the kind that wouldn’t be out of place in a Saturday morning kids’ cartoon. A third movie in this soon-to-be-remade franchise followed in 1997, but Demon House (as it was known in the U.K.) ain’t patch on either this or the Kevin S Tenney original.