Night of the Demons (1988)

Genres - Comedy, Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Haunted House Film, Horror Comedy  |   Release Date - Sep 9, 1988 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 92 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - R
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This well-crafted but hollow horror entry manages to deliver the requisite amount of gruesome shocks and little else. There's a solid little chiller waiting to get out in Night of the Demons, but it is consistently held back by a slapdash script from producer Joe Augustyn: despite a workable premise and an interesting origin for its haunted house, the script is burdened with thin, obnoxious characterizations, too much self-consciously clever dialogue, and a weak sense of structure (particularly in the second half). Thus, the resulting film is inescapably mediocre but hardcore horror fans will find it watchable for two reasons. The first is Kevin Tenney's direction: he makes the best of the weak script by couching it strong production values, shooting it in an atmospheric fashion and managing to pull off the occasional impressive sequence along the way. The other reason is some strong, creepy makeup-effects work by Steve Johnson, including a memorably bizarre trick involving lipstick (it's tough to describe; you just have to see it). All in all, Night of the Demons is a lightweight example of shock-horror fare that will probably turn off a general audience but has enough gruesome flair for the hardcore genre enthusiasts.