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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Night Of The Demons

     I have such a huge place in my heart for cheesy 80's horror. Pretty obvious, right? Which brings us to the most recent 8'0s treasure I've blown the dust off and given a whirl. I don't recall ever seeing NIGHT OF THE DEMONS in its entirety back in the day. I distinctly remember certain scenes here and there, but finally saw the entire film from start to finish last night. And let's just say, I'm so glad I crashed Angela's party, cuz it was awesome. NIGHT OF THE DEMONS is so outlandishly campy and absurd that it's impossible to take any of it seriously.  It's very much like THE EVIL DEAD in that respect.

      NOTD tells the story of nutjob Angela and loose Suzanne (memorably played by both Amelia Kinkade and Linnea Quigley), who on Halloween night, decide to throw a dance party at "Hull House", an abandoned funeral parlor. During a seance, a horde of demons are unleashed on the partying teenagers, and Angela and Suzanne become possessed. This is when NOTD kicks into high gear, as the two set out to infect the entire group of horny teens.  It's completely over-the-top, with boobs, blood, and plenty of demonic mayhem to spare.  Director Kevin Tenney (WITCHBOARD) obviously loves the genre and gives the frantic fright fest some nice touches along the way. You know how I am about my atmosphere, and NIGHT OF THE DEMONS is positively soaked in it. It's a bona fide cult classic, and pretty damn funny on top of it. And this movie works best with that right group of people under those right circumstances, if you know what I mean... It's silly, it's ridiculous, and frankly it's not October without it. And that's a huge part of why I love it.

       There's so much to love about NIGHT OF THE DEMONS- the bad acting, the cringe-inducing but hilarious puns, the outrageous gore effects, the boundless energy. Throw in some "Evil Dead" mayhem and some righteous 80s fashions, a great time is guaranteed.  It's certainly as fun as "The Evil Dead", maybe even more fun. This movie, like most starring Linnea Quigley, is certainly an acquired taste.  Those looking for a serious scare might look elsewhere. I can appreciate both myself- depending on my mood.  "Night Of The Demons" has made its mark on pop culture apparently, as it's yet another 80s classic to be remade.  I haven't seen the remake, but I would imagine it's pretty hard to replace the original.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2

     The original PROM NIGHT from 1980 is one of my favorite horror films of the decade. It's one of the most memorable slashers of the 80;s, in my opinion, and it obviously struck a chord with movie-goers as it has produced two sequels and a remake. PROM NIGHT was one of the more popular slasher films of the early 80's, so a sequel made sense after a few years.

      As I'm sure most everybody knows by now- this second installment has nothing whatsoever to do with the original PROM NIGHT. Besides them both taking place at Hamilton High, there is no continuity with the original storyline. No Jamie Lee Curtis, no killer- in fact, it's not even a slasher film. Here's the jist.

      It's 1957, and beautiful but loose Mary Lou Mahoney is caught cheating on her boyfriend Bill, who initiates a prank on Mary Lou. Of course, it backfires, and she winds up dead by her jilted ex-boyfriend  just as she was about to be crowned queen of the prom. Burned alive, to be exact. We flash forward 30 years later, and Bill is now principle of Hamilton High. His son is about to attend the prom with Vicki Carpenter, who finds a trunk in the school basement. She opens it, and finds Mary Lou's old prom dress. Guess what happens next? You betcha. The vengeful spirit of Mary Lou takes possession of pretty Vicki, and soon all hell breaks loose at doomed Hamilton High. I swear!

     This non-related sequel to the slasher classic PROM NIGHT is a pretty entertaining story of revenge from beyond the grave that gleefully rips off  many classic shockers without a trace of guilt throughout. Besides the obvious traces of CARRIE, it's also easy to spot the echoes of THE EXORCIST, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, and even a bit of THE EVIL DEAD thrown in for good measure. It's a fun and frantic slice of schlocky 80's teen horror that's almost impossible not to enjoy, as cheesy as it is. The cast and crew give it their all, and there's an obvious love of the genre that shows in the finished product.

     HELLO MARYLOU: PROM NIGHT 2 is much more of a black comedy than the original PROM NIGHT. As fun as it is, I still wish they had kept it more serious and dark, like the first film. I personally don't think this was the right direction to take the "Prom Night" franchise (not that it was my decision to make, but still...)- but then again could they have honestly done the original justice and believably continued the storyline from it? Probably not. Anyway, this sequel is certainly entertaining if a bit odd, quirky yet kinda cool. I can honestly say it was great fun watching,and I lump this one in with NIGHT OF THE DEMONS or THE EVIL DEAD. Over-the-top, frenetic, and fun.

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