Monday, July 19

Some quick thoughts on Night of the Demons 2 (1994)

Twenty-something teenagers at a Catholic high school run afoul of the always saintly Angela at nearby Hull House. After initially leaving without incident, the "kids" discover the demonic legend to be gory reality after one of them innocently takes a tube of possessed lipstick from the creepy old house...
Mid-'90s horror flicks like Night of the Demons 2 are reminiscent of the recent progression seen in mainstream comedies from Judd Apatow. I'm no expert in comedic trends, but Apatow's films seem to represent a sea change for on-screen laughs. Farce franchises like The Naked Gun and Austin Powers have fallen to more contemporary, "idyllically-realistic" comedy as the multiplex preference. At the time of NotD 2, horror was facing the same crisis, with far out terror scenarios/villains rapidly starting to stumble in revenue. Wes Craven's self-referential Scream (1996) re-vitalized the marketability of the genre. Much in the same fashion James Wan's Saw (2004) re-invented mainstream horror once again after the genre began hitting the box office ropes. That's not to say these two are superior to what came before, but they should be owed some gratitude for continuing the genre's march onward. If it weren't for horror cinema's panache for "theatrical" re-invention every so many years, we would no longer have it.

So NotD 2 feels especially like a relic, but it also manages to feel like a relic for 1994. It's very much in the late '80s look, sound (queue the metal tracks while in the Seattle grunge boom times), and tone of Kevin Tenney's original. Although it's hard to believe a party featuring a variety of (extremely old looking) high schoolers would ever willingly dance to death metal. There's more lighthearted comedy amongst the well done R-rated grue and Hades make-up, but at least this sequel isn't an exact retread of the first---for the most part. The very game Amelia Kinkade is back as Angelia and still looks great instead of sorta being "motherly frumpy" in the terrible third installment. Director Brian Trenchard-Smith is always one thing and that's dependable with some threadbare spooky atmosphere amongst the body-melting hellions. If you aren't in the mood for the original, this one would make a great chaser to Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight (1995), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), or The Convent (2000).

This Republic Pictures VHS is an EP-speed promotional screener sent to video stores to get the establishments interested in ordering copies. Being in EP, it looks like shit, but there's a five minute rental marketing pitch for the movie ("host an Angela look-a-like party evening at your video store!"), two NotD 2 trailers (unlike the extraless DVD), along with trailers for Scanner Cop and some Amityville sequel. The front cover pictured to the right gatefolds open to reveal more marketing appeal for businesses to consider.


Fred [The Wolf] said...

I love this sequel. I think it's just as good as the first one.

Scare Sarah said...

This was great. Loving the low budgets! you dare tread upon the staircase?

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