As far as movie trilogies go, the Night of the Demons trilogy probably won’t rank among the greatest of all time. Even so, there’s enough to like about the movies to warrant a watch for big fans of cheap 80s and 90s horror. Even though the series kind of ran out of steam by the third installment, Night of the Demons 3 isn’t terrible and is worth watching if you’ve made it through the first two.
Night of the Demons 3 holds with tradition and takes place on Halloween, the night that the gates of Hell are open at Hull House. Once again there is a school dance being held which most of our main characters aren’t interested in going to. Two exceptions are Holly, the attractive head cheerleader, and Abbie, her less attractive (so we’re told) friend. We first meet these two girls as they get ready for the dance in our first moment of completely gratuitous nudity, another tradition maintained throughout the series.
On their way to the dance their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. A group of disreputable looking teens in a van stops and offers them a ride, and Holly reluctantly accepts at the urging of Abbie. After a brief stop at a gas station turns into a shootout, one of the kids is dying and Vince, the group’s impulsive hothead, panics after shooting a cop. He drives the group away without a plan, but his girlfriend, a sultry vixen named Lois, suggests they go hide out at Hull House because of… reasons. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but they’re kids and they’re panicking, so why not, right?
Like in the second movie, the demonic Angela has taken up residence at Hull House. She seems to have redecorated though, because when the kids arrive and walk inside it looks nothing like the previous movies. The layout is completely different and it no longer looks abandoned. The walls are clean and white, and there are lit candles and Halloween decorations placed among the many pieces of new looking furniture. This stands in stark contrast to the earlier films, something that is jarringly brought to the viewer’s attention when we see footage of Angela floating down the dark and dingy hallways that was taken from the first movie and wedged into this one. Not only do the hallways not match, but Angela is wearing completely different clothes. It’s a strange editing decision that really stands out.
There are some other filmmaking decisions that seem odd to me. For one, either the director or the cinematographer seems to really like using dutch angles (where the camera is tilted to a certain degree). I understand that this can be used to create a sense of uneasiness, but when half of the movie is tilted it kind of loses its effect.
There’s also a questionable use of CGI in the movie. The barrier created by the underground stream that the demons can’t cross has been talked about in all the movies, but this time you can actually see it thanks to some cheesy computer graphics. CGI is also used in a few other places, including a much too long opening credit sequence, and none of it is really very good. I understand this was made with a low budget in the 90s, but it’s still a little distracting. I think the same results could have been achieved without the use of CGI. Plus, I’m a little partial to using practical effects whenever possible.
Speaking of the practical effects, they’re fine. They’re about on par with the second film in the series in terms of quality and abundance. The kids possessed by demons in this movie do have a little more variety though. Some of them look like kids from the previous movies. However they died, that’s what they come back looking like with blood and guts showing their injuries. A few of the other kids take on the appearance of whatever mask or costume they’re wearing at their time of death though. I like the variety. It makes some of the demons a little more memorable than, say, the really tall headless kid from the second movie.
The story in Night of the Demons 3 is pretty standard horror fare. After the setup and the kids get to Hull House, it’s all about getting separated from each other and trying to escape. One of the differences here is that Angela and the demons aren’t the only things out to get everyone. Vince doesn’t want anyone to leave and keeps threatening to shoot everyone even though he is pretty incompetent as a bad guy.
Also, some of the reasons for not escaping are a little thin. For example, Holly and Abbie are outside the house at one point and can leave, but Holly says she won’t leave without Nick, a boy that she saw once in algebra class and has no real connection to. So of course theirs is a touching love story based on a few looks and a can of Mountain Dew (it happened at the gas station). It’s really forced, and it’s contrivances like this and others that made me groan a little. As a horror fan, I’ve learned to just shrug my shoulders and accept it though.
Night of the Demons 3 is a passable low budget horror film. It fits the feel of the first two movies even though it isn’t made as well as either of them. The goofy comedy is toned down from the second one, but there are still some of the one-liners that have been a series mainstay. There’s also a series of “yo mama” jokes that becomes kind of a motif throughout the movie. Remember when “yo mama” jokes were funny? Yeah, me neither, but I think that’s indicative of the comedy to be found here and the overall quality of the movie. It’s like a “yo mama” joke; it’s not the worst thing ever, but even at the best of times you’ll be groaning while you’re grinning.
5 – Average
My advice for part 3 is pretty much the same as my advice for part 2, you’re not missing much if you skip this movie. It’s not terrible, but it doesn’t do a whole lot to stand out from other late 90s low budget horror movies. If you really like that kind of thing (like me), or if you’ve watched the first two Night of the Demons, go ahead and give this one a watch. You won’t be blown away, but you probably won’t be too disappointed.
Demon Wind (1990)
This movie is pretty bad, but I kind of love it. I don’t know why. It involves demon possession in a rundown old shack and lots of blood. There are some really strange decisions as far as the story and direction goes, but it’s a fun watch for lover’s of bad horror movies.
Demon Wind is about a group of friends who go with a guy named Cory to his grandparent’s property to see if they can help him find out what happened to his family. They end up getting trapped in an old shack and picked off one by one by some kind of demonic force. There’s blood, magic, and a final fight scene that is utterly ridiculous. It’s great!
English Title: Night of the Demons 3
Director: Jim Kaufman
Writer: Kevin Tenney
Featured Cast: Amelia Kinkade, Stephanie Bauder, Patricia Rodriguez, Kris Holdenreid, Gregory Calpakis, Tara Slone, Joel Gordon, Christian Tessier, Vlasta Vrana
Run Time: 85 minutes
Availability: Available on DVD and Blu-Ray