Film: Night of the Demons (1988)

Night of the Demons is the first in a trilogy – and one remake – of horror films set in the possessed Hull House, each one taking place on Halloween night. In each film, a group of party-goers decide that, despite the massacres that keep happening in Hull House, the location makes for a killer party. Of course, they are right.

The main character of Night of the Demons, Judy (Cathy Podewell), is talked into partying at Hull House by her boyfriend, Roger (Alvin Alexis). Roger is a dream-boat who dresses suave and is perfectly groomed. The party is crashed by the sleezeball, Sal Romero (William Gallo), Judy’s ex and the antithesis of Roger. But when the group manages to bring forth demons via the poor decision of holding a séance, characters’ roles become reversed.

Night of the Demons shines in its ability to reverse your expectations. The coward becomes the hero, the hero becomes the villain, and the sleezeball turns out to have a heart of gold. The only character who truly remains unchanged is Judy; her choice of costume being Alice, she perfectly embodies the character as she slips further down the rabbit hole of insanity. Over the course of the night, doors disappear and the dead come to life, bringing a chaos to the film that the Cheshire Cat would relish in.

The film also stands out from the rest of the cheeseball horror that were being produced at the time thanks to its punk-rock feel. The side characters, the music, even the way shots are set up, are all done in such a way to embody a punk-rock philosophy that could only have been made in the 80s.

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