Monday, October 1, 2007

Night of the Demons 2

Faithful readers may have noticed that I have a bit of a weak spot for bad horror movies. While this has led me astray more times than I can count, it has served me faithfully today, as it led me to purchase this, now in its first ever DVD release. I had had fond memories of seeing it way back in the day on HBO or Showtime or somesuch channel like that, and remembered liking it better than the first one (one benefit of horror movies: it’s the only film genre where the sequels are better than the originals with any level of frequency), but hadn’t seen it in a good decade now. Fortunately my memory has served me well here, unlike so many other of my childhood films, for this movie is indeed a superior sequel.

Just as a quick recap for those who haven’t seen the original: a group of teens goes to an abandoned funeral home on the edge of town for a small Halloween party, raises the dead via use of a ouija board, and everyone begins getting possessed by demons and most of the characters died. Jumping ahead a few years, we’re now at a Catholic school that’s getting ready to host its annual Halloween dance (Is this really that popular a holiday at Catholic schools?), and naturally one group of teens wants to sneak out and party at the villainous Hull House, now haunted by Angela, one of the possessed from the first movie. While much is made about how the demons there can’t leave the grounds due to an underground stream surrounding the place (demons can’t cross running water, don’t you know), some dope of a woman swipes some lipstick from the place, and this somehow enables the evil to escape.

Right there is one of the reasons this movie is superior to the original. The first one played for very low stakes, as all someone had to do was get past the underground stream and they were safe. Wasn’t nobody in danger except a group of idiots that blatantly placed themselves in danger. With them capable of running loose, however, the world entire could be in peril, and if the film sadly backs away from this near the end, then at least they tried, damn it. Naturally, being a sequel, there’s an increased amount of violence to go along with this greater threat (and an increase in the nudity factor, which never hurts), giving the movie an extra bit of spice.

Another thing that makes the film much better is the stronger humor on display here, and is never better than when the idiot teens get the aid of a Super Nun, who, if not quite as awesome as the kung fu priest from Dead Alive, is still pretty rough, even when faced with the threat of decapitation. There’s also some great moments, like when a girl says, “This is so romantic” while getting it on with her boyfriend in an old abandoned building where a bunch of murders had taken place while a thunderstorm is raging on Halloween night and while a demon women watches them from the corner, though to be fair, it’s uncertain whether they knew she was there or not. I clearly need to start dating Catholic girls, they seem to definitely be my type of women. To fully round out the characters, we also get a priest who’s so casually dismissive and nonbelieving of anything anyone says, no matter how much evidence is thrown in his face, that I suspect he may well have once been a policeman in a Lifetime original movie. Hell, even when he directly sees a statue of the Virgin Mary weeping blood, which I would imagine most priests would regard as a rather big deal, he casually dismisses it as vandalism and tells everyone else they’re crazy for believing in demons. This is clearly the type of person you want trying to convert people to Christianity.

It’s good that the movie works so well, because the DVD does not. One would think that, after the format being around for a good decade now, we’d be getting nothing but quality product, but Lion’s Gate evidently decided to just port a VHS copy of the film onto DVD. It’s full screen, and not extremely sharp, because they’re cheap bastards. Still, it’s the only version of the film you’re going to find anywhere, so enjoy it in whatever form you can get. Also, just as an October bonus, and at the request of a friend, I’ll be going against my judgment and start assigning star ratings to my reviews, so you can all ignore everything I write and just snap up the stars like they’re goddamned Pokemon or something.

Rating: ***

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