Five Favorite Things:: Night of the Demons 2 (1994) By Unk

1: Perfect for Halloween.

The original NIGHT OF THE DEMONS is a well-acknowledged perennial Halloween-set horror favorite but somehow its nearly equal sequel gets somewhat shafted. NIGHT OF THE DEMONS 2 kindly treats viewers to plenty of spooky season eye candy including but not limited to a plethora of costumes and decorations at an All Hallow’s Eve bash. Sure the trees are tellingly green but the film’s climax features a hefty load of crunchy leaves framing a courtyard fight for life. Beyond the visual array, the film’s consistent commitment to mischief, hijinks and mayhem is the perfect fit for a Halloween night.

2: Solid Sequel.

NOTD2 does everything a sequel should do and it does it right. It expands from the original film without stepping on its toes, it takes it in new directions while still being faithful and it winks toward the previous film whilst offering the unexpected and new. It’s actually such an airtight, well constructed ship that I’d say it can stand completely on its own and familiarity with its source material is beneficial but certainly not required.

3: The Humor.

Combining humor with horror can be a treacherous affair and the road to hell is paved with failed attempts. As silly and over the top as NOTD2 is willing to go (this is the type of film to shamelessly utilize the old holy water in a super soaker gag) it’s able to keep the threat level high enough that the chuckles never sink the ship. A kick-ass nun with Ninja skills may elicit eye rolls on paper but the miraculous way it is pulled off here creates a memorable heroine for the ages. Sick, dark, bawdy and maybe a slash corny this movie is consistent giddy fun.

4: The Special Effects.

NOTD2 may be a mid-nineties horror film but the squishy brazen gore and twisted monster effects may have you convinced it was born a good decade earlier. Perhaps because it avoided theaters and was released straight to video, NOTD2 clearly has no qualms showing the good stuff and there is some real eye-popping artistry on display if you’re so inclined. Be prepared for a horrific mouth injury, breasts that transform into grabbing hands, one of the better decapitations I’ve ever witnessed and a final-boss snake-beast that puts most big studio horror pictures to shame.

5: The Cast.

Returning Amelia Kinkade’s demonic Angela is still the star of the show but just as in the original, she’s surrounded by many a scene-stealer. Merle Kennedy (MAY) is highly sympathetic as Angela’s estranged sister Melissa who is better known as “Mouse”, Cristi Harris (NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW) shines as Mouse’s only ally, Zoe Trilling (DR. GIGGLES) is the ultimate bad girl and Christine Taylor (THE CRAFT, CAMPFIRE) is her usual brilliant self as snarky but ultimately likable brat Terri. For my money, Jennifer Rhodes performance as Sister Gloria is the jewel on the film’s crown. At first, she is presented as the typical nightmare scold but by the end of the movie, her character keenly destroys all cliché expectations. On her Imdb page, Rhodes says she’s best known for a horror film she doesn’t wish to discuss but since she was in SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE 2 as well, I’m going to assume that’s that one she is referring to. Surely, she can only be proud of NOTD2; a fun, frightening foray perfect for Halloween viewing.

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Name That Trauma Solved:: Bill S. on Operation X-70

Hey Kindertrauma!
Many years ago, around 2016, I emailed you (HERE) about a film I only remembered the vaguest details about, which I saw at the tender age of four (or possibly five, but no later than that), in the early 1970s.  The details I thought I knew became clouded, so it made it near impossible for me to remember but recently my subconscious became obsessed with it, trying to remember any more than the few images I could hold on to.

Today I rediscovered it.

I was browsing a forum I’m not a member of, and saw a user’s avatar…

..and that creepy thing put me on the trail.  A reverse image search on Google gave me my answer:

OPERATION X-70 (WATCH HERE).  A French cartoon, dubbed in English, that involves the accidental chemical-weapon bombing of a neutral/allied country with the titular chemical weapon, which creates interesting mutations in the people of the city.  The horror show in the animated .gif explains that “Asiatic” POWs were experimented on first, with the neurotoxin (and that it wasn’t lethal)…but as soon as I started watching all of the details fell into place: the bomber that accidentally drops its payload on the unsuspecting city, the onboard computer called Tarzan that malfunctions and directs the pilots to do so, the eerie, depopulated town, the creepy masked soldiers and politicians…

This one definitely, definitely qualifies as a Kindertrauma! 

Name That Trauma:: Mike from Minnesota on a Man in a Clown Mask

Hey folks, Michael from Minnesota here again. First, a million thanks for your wonderful website, it’s become a genuine addiction! Second, thanks for the speedy help in solving my first submission (“The Ghost in the Shed”); I was half convinced that I’d dreamed the whole thing. With that in mind, I’d like to make TWO more requests for help. Both of these were seen on television in the very late 80s or very early 90s, and for some reason I feel like both might have been on the USA Network (that was my dad’s favorite station growing up, and I believe he was with me for both of these):

-A woman is being chased through her home by a knife-wielding man in a clown mask. I’m pretty sure it’s a mask, and not makeup. The house is very nice (80s upper class), the cinematography is very dark, and there’s some sort of relationship between the two (the clown is her husband or ex-lover). I remember he talks a lot (not a “silent slasher”), possibly taunting her. I don’t think this was a movie, I feel like it might’ve been an episode of The Hitchhiker, Tales from the Darkside, Monsters, etc.

-This one’s a lot more vague. An animated show about fish. I believe they live in a grotto/bay of some sort, and the “villain” of the piece is a big carp who acts like a mob boss. I’m 100% certain it’s NOT Fish Police.

Thanks in advance for any help identifying these!

Becky (2020)

Death. Death really sucks and I’m not the best when it comes to dealing with it. Sure, I’m an old pro when it comes to the sadness, depression and general hopelessness involved; it’s the unfathomable anger that arises that I find unwieldy. A little over a month ago, we lost our beloved cat daughter Rory and let me tell ya, if there was a button that could destroy the whole world, I would have pounded on it. And boy did I hate whatever the hell it is that we call God. What kind of idiot assigns cats a lifespan less than twenty years and then tells turtles they can kick around for over a hundred? That’s just incompetent design work in my book.

Anyway, because I feel a great affinity with anyone who might feel like stabbing the entire universe in the eye after the death of a loved one, I really dug the film BECKY and found it to be a wonderfully cathartic experience. In fact, it made me laugh with sadistic glee on multiple occasions. I guess I’ve always been a sucker for killer kid flicks. I think (I know) it’s because I felt so powerless in my youth. BECKY is a home invasion turned revenge tale and it’s basically crafted to have you hooting and hollering when the bad guys get what’s coming to them and for me, it was just what the doctor ordered.

BECKY features frequent horror star Lulu Wilson (OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL (2016), ANNABELLE: CREATION (2017) THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE (2018)) as the titular Becky who has recently lost her mother and now has to deal with her father (Joel McHale) setting up house with a new gal (Amanda Brugel of JASON X) and her young son. Even though she is lucky enough to have a super cool fort in the woods and two lovely canines, the girl is salty as hell due to her grief. Making matters oh so worse, a group of escaped convicts led by a bearded, swastika bearing Kevin James (!) stop by to terrorize the household in search of a key (I never fully understood the key aspect but the ambiguity works). The mean home invaders get a little too cocky, kill a dog (ugh) and soon Becky is channeling her suppressed volcanic rage into inventing ghastly ways to dispose of them (and when I say ghastly, I mean I had to cover my eyes at one point). One of the intruders (Robert Maillet aka WWE’s Kurrgan) is the gentle giant type but he’s only gentle because he already killed two kids on the way to Becky’s house so don’t feel too sorry for him.

As noted above, this film is my jam. It kind of reminded me of DEVIL TIMES FIVE (1975) except in this case most of the people who get offed deserve it for being Nazis and in that way, it also reminded me of FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE (1977). Lulu Wilson delivers a multilayered performance and I have to give props to Kevin James for so efficiently shedding the jovial persona he’s known for. More importantly, though BECKY allowed me to vicariously express my fury at death. I was totally with her the moment she snapped and completely understood the wave of nihilism she gets swept up in. I actually felt better after watching this movie as if some air had been left out of my tires right before they burst. Thanks, BECKY!

Note: I realize I just equated an adult man (that would be me) losing a cat who had a full life to a teen prematurely losing her mother and that may be a bit off. I’m sticking with it though because we need content, I’m still a little angry and cats are better than people.

Name That Trauma:: Mike B. on a Supernatural Neighbor

I remember something from when I was a kid that I wish I could identify. I seem to vaguely (and perhaps incorrectly) recall seeing something on TV where a couple lived next door to an eccentric/reclusive rich guy, who they may or may not know/suspect to be not-quite-human and/or in possession of some kind of supernatural abilities. Anyway, the man in this scheming couple sends the woman over to seduce or at least get close to the rich guy so she can get access to his safe or other riches when he’s not around. I don’t recall how long this plot gets drawn out (maybe the rich guy grows to think she really cares for him over time or maybe he quickly catches her trying to slip away at a dinner party or something), but at some point he walks in on her trying to get his stuff, realizes what’s been going on, and (possibly as an involuntary reaction or perhaps deliberately) “does his thing”, which I think might have been depicted with him emitting a high-pitched shrieking/whistling noise or something. Maybe she screams, but I don’t think we see the effect of this incident before it cuts away, back to the scheming man, who hears the woman come home and enter but doesn’t yet see her when he asks how things went or whatever. She then is seen approaching the man as she starts to say something like “It’s alright…” before the man turns around in horror as he (and the audience) sees that her face is disfigured and she says something like “You still love me!”

I recently saw a clip from the 1978 movie “The Medusa Touch” that kind of reminded me of the (distantly remembered) intensity of this scene, with some of the same elements, and that film’s main character’s telekinetic powers could almost fit the bill (and I even think his last name of Morlar seems to ring a bell), but the scene and overall plot don’t otherwise match my memory, so perhaps I’m conflating two different films…

Now the funny thing is, I had seen a really short clip (HERE) of a much lower-budget movie (maybe even the scene I’m remembering) years later in part of the video intro at a Weird Al concert (which he apparently first used in a 1987 concert, so the film must be from 1987 or earlier if that’s true).  Luckily, I found this video online some time ago, and now I found your website.  If this is the movie, the clip is a bit different than I recall, as it appears the scheming man has been captured by the rich man and strapped down to a table for some other horrors when the woman enters and says, “Don’t be afraid, Jason”, but maybe I’m just misremembering it or this is a later part of the movie. Any ideas?  Thanks.