Drinking With The Dread: A NIGHT OF THE DEMONS Gets Boozy!
In 2009, Adam Gierasch’s Night Of The Demons resurrected an 80s cult classic. Dread Central’s own review is quoted on marketing materials calling it a “Rock ‘N Roll Horror Flick,” and I can’t argue that selling point. Late-00s industrial Type 0 Negative bands pump energy like punk squealers once defined Dan O’Bannon’s The Return of The Living Dead. Definitely not comparing the two – one a classic, one a lesser-known remake – and there’s a reason why. Night Of The Demons utters some of the *worst* horror dialogue ever written to page, which, in turn, kinda makes it fun? With beers? Hence why it’s my Drinking With The Dread pick this October (thematic was well).
As is always the case, cleavage-heaving coeds and unfairly covered-up bros attend a raging Halloween bash located on the site of a long-ago botched seance. Master of ceremonies Angela – played by Shannon Elizabeth – selects the grounds of a 1925 mystery where six people disappeared and Evangeline Broussard hung herself. Now, decades later, Maddie (Monica Keena) and her friends chug, smoke, and fornicate inside the cursed house – until demons trapped inside seek new human hosts in an attempt to escape.
Night Of The Demons is a backloaded watch that spends too many opening sequences “steamin’ up the camera lens” or blasting overage trick ‘r treater bullies with paintball guns. After an opening decapitation, we’re subjected to mostly corset adjusting, college-dorm brand ditziness, and discussions of Brazilian waxing methods. Maddie’s modest apocalypse survivor costume is mocked by skin-exposed “pussycat” vixens Lily (Diora Baird) and Suzanne (Bobbi Sue Luther). Then it’s party time! Ex-boyfriends pop up, gross shots are downed, hookups abound – admittedly, it’s every “teens gone wild” party flick you’ve seen before, down to weirdos ogling female partiers as the cinematic times were previously defined.
That’s why my drinking rules are front-favoring.
What’s unexpected are unnecessary additions of gratuitous sex or indecency meant to define characters. Enter Colin (Edward Furlong), Maddie’s one-time flame, and his conversation with local crime lord Nigel (Jamie Harris). How do we know he’s an unsavory gentleman? Because when Colin asks if he’s interrupting anything, Nigel waves Colin in like everything is peaches ‘n cream – until the camera reveals he’s mid-fellatio. Nigel’s fluffer even asks if he’s almost finished right as Nigel’s threatening Colin because that’s the kind of movie this is. Where Monica Keena can pine over straight-from-a-gutter lowlife Edward Furlong. Where guys merely enter rooms and within minutes horned-up women pounce. Where Shannon Elizabeth deepthroats a bottle of champagne, and that’s hardly the most forward flirtation sequence.
And yet, Night Of The Demons understands the sleaze-rock anthem it desires to belt out. Gierasch leans into sins of the flesh. I say none of the above to proclaim such entertainment “problematic.” Gierasch’s going for a dive bar schtick and that’s what you’re getting with soundtrack talents like Goatwhore and Psycho Charger. Far, FAR from perfect, but that’s why Satan invented alcohol.
Once cops shut down rave antics and spirits begin morphing hardbodies like Michael Copon’s Dex into rotting worm-spitters (ick), as the kids say, shit gets real. A few instances of whack CGI do suck some of the life from gore, but other bouts of ridiculousness save face (torn apart faces, technically). Suzanne’s snake lassoes that shoot from her breasts? Lily’s skin removal? Angela’s pale second-coming look? Walls run red with blood, evil beasts bump super-uglies as a means of demonic transference, and it all gets wildly complicated to the point where HORRIBLE write-off excuses from characters become hilarious scene savers. Like, NO ONE SEEMS BOTHERED BY THE DUSTY CORPSES LAID OBSCURELY IN THE BASEMENT. Intention not the question here, entertainment derived by any means possible.
Highlight moments include but are not limited to:
- Linnea Quigley’s ballerina cameo.
- Suzanne’s lipstick magic trick.
- The Nigel scene. It’s…so extra.
- Dex and Suzanne’s demon boink.
- John F. Beach, as Jason, not being able to deal with anything.
- Imagining that Furlong’s dirtbag would *ever* have a chance with Monica Keena’s badass.
- How the house is eventually duped.
- NO COSTUME, NO CANDY!
Enough chat. Crank out the jams and get down with Night Of The Demons’ Drinking With The Dread rules!
- Drink whenever one of the main gang takes a drink or smokes something.
- Drink whenever one of the gang rationalizes something away with a hilariously bad explanation.
- Drink whenever there’s sex, making out, or anything sexual in between on screen.
- Drink whenever a “cat” (real or costumed) comes onto the screen (leaves frame, returns)
- Drink TWICE whenever someone turns into a demon/dies.
- Drink TWICE whenever a rockin’ needle drop kicks in.
- TAKE A SHOT when Demon Angela first appears!
I feel like the only respectable accompanying beverages for Adam Gierasch’s honorary Drinking With The Dread would be the cheapest light beers and Poland Spring vodka. Legit. Poland Spring makes vodka and it’s as brown-bag as you’d expect. That’s Night Of The Demons. The kind of “garbage” (don’t you dare speak ill of my Natural Light) that you willingly digest because sometimes we crave “cheap,” “dirty” thrills. There are nights for sophistication and others for howlin’ at the moon like a transformed trashbag werewolf. Now, thanks to me, that kind of behavior comes with a bitchin’ Zion warehouse playlist and goth-babe Shannon Elizabeth.