Years have passed since the events of the original 1988 classic Night of the Demons, but the legend of what happened on the nightmarish Halloween night it depicted endures among the teens who live in the town where it occurred. Where the demon-possessed former funeral home Hull House still stands on the outskirts.
Tellings of the legend are especially popular among the students at a Catholic school for troubled youths. The girls who attend the school shut off the lights in their dorm room, gather in a circle and tell the story by candlelight. A story of teens possessed, mutilated, dismembered, body parts scattered around Hull House. The body of every victim was recovered from the property except for that of Angela, the girl who made the unwise choice to throw a Halloween party in Hull House. According to the legend, Angela descended into Hell, body and soul, where she became the favorite demon of Satan himself. Now she is said to still roam the halls of Hull House, ready to terrorize and murder anyone who dares to enter.
The fact that Angela’s younger sister Melissa, nicknamed Mouse because of her small size and meek manner, is one of the school’s students makes her peers even more intrigued about the legend. Gossip among her classmates is that Mouse ended up there because her parents committed suicide a year after Angela disappeared when they received a disgusting homemade Halloween card from their missing daughter.
After bad girl Shirley gets banned from the school’s Halloween dance, she decides to make her own holiday fun by stealing the Necronomicon from a demonology-obsessed boy named Perry and sneaking out to Hull House with a group of fellow students, a couple local hoods, and Mouse, who is tricked into joining them and totally freaks out when she sees where the others have taken her.
Shirley’s plan is to scare her pals by putting on a fake sacrificial ritual, but that’s not even necessary to stir up the evil spirits that lurk inside the crumbling mansion.
As soon as things start to get strange and scary, after Shirley’s prank is thwarted, Mouse thinks she spots Angela, and a girl named Terri is scared by a talking head in a toilet bowl (which disappears when she tries to show someone else), the teens get out of there and head back to their school… And, unlike the group who preceded them in the previous movie, they’re successfully able to make it off the property. But that doesn’t mean the spirits of Hull House are done with them.
When Shirley is possessed in the grossest way possible by a tendril that slithers out of a tube of lipstick found in Hull House (a callback to one of the most popular moments in the original film), Angela shows up to bring some hell to the Catholic school.
In another call back to the ’88 film, Angela makes her presence at the school known by crashing the Halloween dance to perform her own dance routine, while her demonic protégé Shirley does a provocative dance of her own… Which ends with her undergoing a monstrous transformation. That really kills the party atmosphere.
Demonic possession spreads through more characters, sisters are reunited, and it all builds up to a rescue mission raid of Hull House with a priest, the school’s discipline-dealing, ruler fu-practicing nun Sister Gloria (called Sister Gory by the students), and Holy Water-filled water guns and balloons in tow.
Demon bodies do not take well to Holy Water.
While Night of the Demons writer Joe Augustyn returned to write the sequel’s screenplay as well, that film’s director, Kevin S. Tenney, did not return. Instead, directing duties on part 2 were handled by prolific exploitation and genre filmmaker Brian Trenchard-Smith, who did a lot of work in Australia and is probably best known in the states for this film, Leprechaun 3, and Leprechaun 4: In Space.
As a big fan of the first movie, I’ve always found the sequel to be kind of disappointing. Although it has a good cast and solid ideas at its core, the way its executed just doesn’t appeal to me and doesn’t live up to what came before.
A lot of my issues start with the script. I feel like there’s too much time spent messing around at the school, and too much going back and forth between places in the structure – from the school to Hull House to the school to Hull House. Just land on a location and let’s get this show on the road already. Because of this, the film doesn’t fully deliver on the mayhem that I expect to see going into it until very late in the running time, and even then I find the action it does contain to be rather lackluster.
Other issues for me are the look of the film, which is flat and bland compared to the Halloween spookshow Tenney crafted with the first movie, and its overly silly tone.
The fact that Night of the Demons 2 is going in a goofy direction and isn’t going to be as stylish as the first is clear with the opening scene, which shows Angela hacking up a missionary couple that knocks on Hull House’s front door. It has humor that doesn’t amuse me and no style or atmosphere to it at all. It’s a bad omen for what’s to come… And while nothing in the rest of the film is as poor as that opening scene, I still never find it to rise above mediocre.
And don’t even get me started on how much the character of Z-Boy annoys me, both when he’s alive and when he’s a demon.
Night of the Demons 2 has a large fan base that is very adoring and appreciative of it, but I’ve always thought it was a bit of a letdown. I still watch it, though, for the little bit of enjoyment that its demons and the returning Angela do provide for me.