The Plot: Angela and the demons of Hullhouse may have been put on hold temporarily at the end of the original Night of the Demons, but that hasn’t stopped her spirit from haunting the house and devouring anyone who wanders by. In the time just after the events of the original film, Angela’s sister Mouse has been sent off to a very strict catholic school where she, like her sister, doesn’t really fit in. However Mouse isn’t quite as outgoing, and becomes the butt of everyone’s jokes. One joke goes a little too far when one of these supposed “friends” ends up forcing Mouse into their car and taking her to another Halloween party at Hullhouse. Now the evil spirits are about to be riled up once again, and these kids are up for the (last) night of their lives.
The Review: Well, Angela is back once again in the series that just couldn’t stay dead. The brilliantly titled Night of the Demons 2 takes up the mantle where the last film left off, in terms of story and direction as well. Once again, we’re not talking about a horror film that defied the rules here – Night of the Demons 2 simply plays by them, and how much you’re bound to enjoy the film is based generally off how big a horror geek you tend to be. Horror geeks are a more forgiving lot than the average film goer. We deal in convention and were raised on all the cliches of the genre, so when it comes to flicks like Night of the Demons 2 – the only things one can really judge the film on are the few original moments it introduces and whether or not at the end of its running time you are entertained. With Night 2, well, one is left simply feeling ‘meh’.
Much the same as the first film, we’re dealt a variety of cliche characters we’ve all seen in various other slashers and supernatural horrors before a million times including the jocks, the idiotic boyfriend, the leather jacket wrapped bad boy, the mousy girl with dark premonitions about the future, the cheerleader blonde and of course the geek. Everything is cut and dry in the world of Night of the Demons, and this second continuation of the series doesn’t look to stray too far off the beaten path. As you can tell by the plot synopsis, the twenty minute introduction at the catholic school kind of sets the film up to wander down conventionally the same path as the first of the series, but thankfully things do take on a different twist as the kids actually get to leave Hullhouse and instead are locked away at the school with Angela and her cronies unleashed with devastating fury.
The character of Mouse, sister to Angela, is an interesting addition to the series even though I suspect most would find her annoying. She’s a little whiny, a little cute and at the very least more interesting than the majority of characters. Letting the kids actually leave Hullhouse was what really saved the film though. While the film built up and with the kids actually arriving there with much of the same set-up going on, such as the painting of pentagrams on the wall and a satanic ritual set to take place, but when the kids actually escape from the outside wall it at least gave the film some sort of unexpected drama. Not enough to make this sequal better than the first, but enough to actually warrant seeing it in my opinion. One of the better holdovers from the first however is the use of great physical FX, including one of the most amazing breast shots of all time. Well you see, these aren’t just ordinary boobies, we’re talking boobies that through the genius of latex FX work – turn into hands before your very eyes and reach out and grab some hapless victim. That, my friends, is the glory of low budget horror pre-CGI.
The addition of comedy within the series is a bit of a mixed bag here. The first film really played out like your average horror of the time would, with maybe some light humor sprinkled throughout but nothing that distracted from the scenes that were supposed to be “scary”. This sequel however wants to take the series into a more “horror-comedy” direction, but unfortunately due to the way it is all put together the horror-comedy only seems to come into play during the very last half of the film due to Angela, as a physical entity, being introduced so late in the movie. Her character takes on a VERY Freddy Krueger-ish style of reeling off one-liners and ripping out the occasional pun or bit of physical comedy. There’s a lot of Evil Dead style camerawork (also present in the first film, but taken to a different degree here) and even what could only be a reference to those films in a scene showing a nun gathering her armor like Ash in the second Evil Dead when he crafted his chainsaw arm. So, the comedy is both good and bad but I suppose is more welcome than it is a distraction, even if I don’t agree with the use of one-liners before a kill within the horror genre.
As I stated earlier, with flicks like this it all comes down to just how much new content there is and how much of the same old-same old is on display. For my buck, I thought Night of the Demons was a lesser film than the original in most respects. It took the tongue in cheek comedy of the first film and completely ran with it in a very hit or miss direction; but thankfully didn’t ruin the film with inept schtick. The gore and violence were actually a step up I found and think that in the end the best compliment you can give it is that it’s a very imaginitive sequel that opens up the borders that the original film set upon itself by limiting the number of sets. It simply feels more like a horror-comedy-adventure though, and it takes away some of the power that the film had. Ultimately, these films are as formulaic and by the books as you would expect but there’s a certain amount of fun that can be derived from pure genre fans. I don’t think most will see it and have their minds blown, but there’s a good time to be had if you’re up for it. It recieves the same rating as the original, a three out of five. Not a very high rating, but there’s entertainment value here if nothing else.