Friday, 1 October 2010

Review of the remake of "Night of the Demons"

Well this was a surprise. I was expecting a version of "Night of the Demon", Jacques Tourneur's inky black foray into shadow and suggestion, fatally flawed by the unwanted intrusion a big scary monster. But this is a remake of "Night of the Demons": tawdry 80's shlock-horror gore-fest. And things dont stat well...

Director Adam Geirasch's mission statement ( and I am franky horrified by the idea of a director's mission statement! ) reveals "My aim for "Night of the Demons" was to make the ultimate film that my seventeen-year old self wanted to see. Punk rock, demons, scantily clothed women, gore and big scares!" I suspect me and Adam were very different kinds of 17 year olds, given that my idea of a good time was wearing an off-the shoulder cardigan, covered in badges and hanging around in record and coffee shops never buying anything. But I'm older now and sufficiently coarsened so I can see where he's coming from.

The film opens with some dodgy sepia back-story. Eighty years ago, on Halloween night, Evangeline Broussard hanged herself from the balcony of her New Orleans Manor house. This Halloween Angela (Shannon Elizabeth) has rented the place out and everybody who's anybody is going. This doesn't include local drug dealer Colin ( Edward Furlong, and he's really let himself go - he looks like James Dean Bradfield!) who is desperate to get inside and reap the rich rewards of a captive audience. When the police arrive and break up the party only seven guests remain behind: three moronic men and four nubile young women in light bondage gear. It's then that they realise that the gates have been locked and their "cell-phones" have stopped working. And that's when weird shit starts happening.

Inspired stuff, eh? Did i mention it comes with that dull, chugging American version of goth-music that was everywhere in nineties, and fewer acting chops than you might expect from your local butcher's window.

However, HOWEVER. I did quite like it. Sure, it's the sort of film that IMDB reviewers would describe as a "turn off your brain, get a pizza and a six-pack" classic but in fact it's not quite that stupid. Furlong is remarkably unaffected and scuzzy and, despite the uber-boobedness of many of the women, the playing is fairly naturalistic. There are some great lines: "Maybe pantry is French for fucking deathtrap" and "she stuck a lipstick in her boob and it fell out of her pussy, okay?". It's the okay that gets me every time!

And it has the best "breasts-behaving-badly" scene since Ken Russell's "Gothic".

By the end you are really rooting for Monica Keena's Maddie, so much so that at the rather matter of fact end to the film,she makes it seem cool and stylish, rather than hastily pat. No mean feat.

So "Night of the Demons" came from behind, hacked bloodily away at my preconception and eventually made me like it. Though maybe i'm not such hard-arse after all: I DID thrill to the blink and you miss it Linnea Quiqley cameo. And it takes a special kind of pathetic nerd to do that!

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