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.