Night of the Demons is a horror cult classic that is just as entertaining today as it was back in 1988 when it was released. I recently bought the Blu-ray of the original as well as the remake and decided it would be fun to do a comparison article. It is no secret that the remake receives a lot of hate, but why?
Remakes are a dime a dozen in recent years. Some are welcomed with open arms and others are shunned before they are even seen. This is due to so many inconsistent variables. Halloween’s remake was loved by everyone. The original is a classic in the horror community and loved by many. Psycho’s remake tanked and the original is also beloved by fans. I could venture a guess that if a remake doesn’t have the same amount of love put into it that the original has accrued, it is destined to fail. Psycho was a shot-by-shot remake and lazily done. Rob Zombie loved Michael Myers and it showed in his epic remake. So, how did Night of the Demons get received when it was remade?
Night of the Demons (2009) is not a bad film at all. The acting is great and the casting was well done, but they decided to switch it up a bit with why the demons were possessing them. In the original, the demons came after an interrupted seance with a mirror. With the remake, it is a skeleton that bites Angela and infects her with the demon or possesses her or whatever. It does not take place at Hull House but at a mansion. The demons have a whole backstory that is shown towards the beginning and later explained in-depth towards the middle. I am all for a few minor changes but in this remake, the whole mythology is changed and so is the tone of the movie.
Night of the Demons (1988) is a perfect ’80s horror movie: the soundtrack, the big hair, the nudity, the sex, the practical effects, the simple plot-line, the inevitable cheese, and of course the legendary Linnea Quigley! Everything about this movie takes you time-traveling back to the ’80s, to when horror was at its prime. I love being in that zone! When remaking a movie from that time, you have to take special care and put in just as much effort as the original filmmakers did. By the way, the original had just over a $1 million shoestring budget. The remake had $10 million to play with. Do you want to know how they spent it?
The remake, it seems, wanted to one-up everything from the original… everything but its substance, that is. The sexual nature of this film might appeal to a straight male audience. It could distract them enough from what the film is lacking. There are so many boob shots in this film, it is ridiculous. When they (the boobs) are actually placed in a top, they are practically popping out of it. Seriously, you take a horror classic and spend $10 million on tit shots? There are girls making out, explicit sex scenes (all featuring the female anatomy, no male parts are shown), and a wine bottle being deep-throated. I get that the original had a lot of sex and nudity, but it was done in a tasteful way. The remake just comes off tacky.
An example of how tacky this film is would be the infamous lipstick scene from the original. You remember it, right? Suzanne, obsessed with her looks and possessed by a demon, traces her lipstick down and around her chest and pushes it into her nipple. Crazy, right? In the remake, the lipstick is also pushed into her nipple but it doesn’t stop there. She then fishes it out of her bleeding, oozing vagina to show it off. What in the actual fuck? The effects are not very well done, either. The bloody slime that drips from Suzanne’s fingers looks like something you could purchase for $19.99 on Nickelodeon – with your parent’s permission, of course.
The demons of the remake are laughable. I would expect to see these types of makeup jobs on an episode of Goosebumps, not a horror remake with $10 million to blow. The original’s demons were terrifying and these demons were just….. not. The movie is literally called Night of the Demons. There should have been a lot more focus on that portion of the film instead of what they chose to focus on. By 2010, they could have pulled off some pretty terrifying effects but that was not what they were passionate about, apparently. Instead, we got what looked like Halloween costumes from a discount outlet.
Night of the Demons (1988) also possessed a more intimate feel. It was a few friends looking to raise hell on Halloween night. It was not a giant bash that got broken up by cops so that Angela could save herself from eviction. I just think that they approached it completely wrong and it does not live up to the caliber of the original. Too bad Scream 4 didn’t come out for a couple more years or maybe they would have heeded Sydney’s infamous warning.
Overall, I prefer the original. Most horror fans feel this way about any remake but it rings especially true for this comparison. There is no need to one-up something if it isn’t possible to begin with. While the remake is good for a one-time watch, it isn’t really enjoyable if you have seen the original first. Shannon Elizabeth, Monica Keena, and Diora Baird do amazing jobs when it comes to this film’s acting. I, by no means, fault them for anything. All three of them rank in my list of favorite actresses. Night of the Demons (2009) just didn’t offer anything new that was worth keeping. That doesn’t make it a bad film but it doesn’t make it a good one, either. Save your time and watch the one where you get a new storage spot for your lipstick instead of a disgusting transport machine. You will thank me later.