With Amelia Kinkade returning as the demonic Angela, Night of the Demons 2 expands upon the mythology while also attempting to outdo its predecessor, which it succeeds to some degree. Picking up six years after the event of the first movie, the direct follow-up leans more toward comedy than horror while still being a gory shocker thanks to the laughable dialogue, silly performances, and outlandish, over-the-top action. Courtesy of Scream Factory, the sequel arrives on Blu-ray with a satisfying and enjoyable audio and video presentation, joined by a nice collection of new bonuses to sweeten the deal. Overall, this Blu-ray package is Recommended.
The unspoken rule of sequels is to outdo their predecessors while simultaneously expanding upon the first story. And it would seem that the filmmakers of Night of the Demons 2 took that sentiment to heart by doing as much as imaginably possible to surpass Kevin S. Tenney's cult horror favorite. Arguably, the best moment of this preposterously silly follow-up is a Halloween dance at a Catholic boarding school that tries to outshine the two most memorable scenes of the first movie — those being Angela's provocatively eerie dance and Linnea Quigley's shocking boob-and-lipstick magic trick. Except, rather than having their attempt be two separate shockers as Tenney did, legendary Ozploitation director Brian Trenchard-Smith (BMX Bandits, Dead End Drive-In, Leprechaun 4: In Space) meshed the two ideas into one gloriously hilarious sequence that sees Amelia Kinkade's Angela perform another naughty dance — this time to the tune of Morbid Angel's "Rapture" — and exposed breast suddenly transforming into very grabby hands.
And what makes the totally bonkers scene a fun tolerable watch is an underlying sense of self-awareness, a tongue-in-cheek tone that invites laughter just as much as shock. The whole thing, along with every moment of gore and supposed frights, is ridiculously over the top and cartoonish, matched only by the comically bad dialogue and performances, namely Jennifer Rhodes as Sister Gloria. That's not to say she's a bad actress or does a poor job as the overly austere and stern nun who wields a yardstick and believes discipline is the only remedy for dealing with horny teenagers. In fact, it's quite the opposite as she is the movie's top highlight and arguably, the best part of the production — other than seeing Amelia Kinkade return as Angela, of course. When the school turns into demonic pandemonium, the montage sequence of Sister Gloria preparing for battle as though she was a martial artist Rambo is absolutely hilarious, and it only gets better when finally seeing her fight while spouting stupid one-liners at demons.
While embracing the silliness of their own premise, screenwriters James Penzi and Joe Augustyn — the latter of whom also penned the first movie — also manage to expand upon Tenney's creature feature. Picking up six years after the events of its predecessor, the massacre at Hull House has now become an urban legend, like a campfire story for scaring kids, except here, it's told by Terri (Christine Taylor) and Bibi (Cristi Harris) before bedtime to new girl and eventual bully Shirley (Zoe Trilling). And once again, as with Sister Gloria, these girls are essentially caricatures of the bad, troubled Catholic schoolgirl stereotype, especially Shirley who loves tormenting Kurt (Ladd York) with her provocative ways and tricking everyone into celebrating Halloween at the haunted mortuary. Although she's probably not meant to be funny, Trilling's tough, cold-blooded bad girl nonetheless delivers several laughable moments, but arguably, the funniest part is Taylor being called Marcia a year before starring in The Brady Bunch Movie.
The other aspect of this story I rather admire is Augustyn and Penzi giving Angela somewhat of a backstory. In Night of the Demons 2, we learn that she lived a relatively normal suburban upbringing, but her actions led to her family's downward spiral, which effectively ruined the life of her previously unknown little sister Melissa (Merle Kennedy), who is mocked as "Mouse" by the other kids. Granted, she doesn't actually add a whole lot to the plot or the mythology aside from serving as catalyst to Angela's diabolical plans, but this is also where some of the movie's flaws begin to reveal themselves and some of the logic is thrown out the window for the sake of moving the story forward. For one, Robert Jayne's Perry plays the comic relief by annoying everyone, including Father Bob (Rod McCary), with his obsession over exorcisms and the occult, yet it's a little funny to watch him rise to the role of hero while brandishing a super soaker filled with holy water. And the fact that Angela found a loophole for crossing the running water barrier confining her to the mortuary is much too convenient to be thought of as clever.
Nevertheless, Trenchard-Smith's sequel is, in the end, a fun, suitable follow-up to the cult horror favorite.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Scream Factory brings Night of the Demons 2 to Blu-ray as a single-disc Collector's Edition. The Region A locked, BD50 disc is housed inside the normal blue case with a shiny cardboard slipcover. At startup, the disc goes to a static menu screen with music playing in the background.
Scream Factory invites cult enthusiasts back the Halloween party with a devilishly satisfying and proficient 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode that was made from a fresh new scan of the best available interpositive. Although not a leaps and bounds upgrade from the 2013 Blu-ray, the transfer is nonetheless a welcomed improvement, boasting lots of sharp detailing in the costumes, buildings and surrounding foliage. Individual hairs and small whiskers in the cast are distinct while the grain and minor imperfections in the woodwork of the mortuary are very well-defined, making it all that tad grimier and grungy. Facial complexions continuously appear healthy and revealing with natural, accurate flesh tones. However, the video comes with its share of softer, blurrier moments, which are to be expected in such low-production fare and possibly due to the condition of the source.
Nevertheless, the presentation comes with a stable, strong contrast and brightness balance, showing clean, crisp whites and true, inky blacks with dark shadows that never ruin or engulf the finer details of Hull House. The color palette also enjoys a nice boost, supplying the cooky horror with full, bold reds and energetic blues while softer secondary hues provide a good deal of warmth. Awash with a very fine layer of natural grain that is more prominent during darker sequences, which is to be expected, the 1.85:1 image overall looks great for a low-budget, straight-to-video feature with an attractive film-like quality. (Video Rating: 76/100)
The demons wreak havoc in home theaters thanks to a competent and largely enjoyable DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo soundtrack. Truth be told, the sound design is a rather unremarkable and not particularly memorable track, but then again, what more could be expected from a low-budget production about horny, Catholic school teenagers. With that in mind, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that all the focus is on the vocals, which are surprisingly precise and distinct with excellent intonation throughout. There are a few appreciable atmospherics in the background that bounce into the off-screen space and do well in slightly widening the soundstage, making for a good, slightly broad soundstage. All the while, the mid-range maintains good clarity and definition even during the loudest, rowdiest moments. There isn't much by way of low bass though several action sequences come with some appreciable weight to them. Overall, the lossless mix is a fun listen but nothing really standout about it either. (Audio Rating: 72/100)
For this Blu-ray edition, Scream Factory offers a nice assortment of new bonuses for fans to enjoy.
Continuing in the same vein as its predecessor, Night of the Demons 2 aims to expand upon the mythology of the first movie while also attempting to outdo it, and it actually succeeds to some degree. However, the direct follow-up, which picks up six years later, leans more toward the comedy than the horror while still being a gory shocker thanks to the laughable dialogue, silly performances and outlandish, over-the-top action, making for a competent and fun watch. Courtesy of Scream Factory, the sequel arrives on Blu-ray with a great-looking HD video and an enjoyable DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. With a nice assortment of new bonuses to sweeten the deal, this Blu-ray edition is Recommended for fans of the silly comedy-horror franchise.
All disc reviews at High-Def Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More about the gear used for this review.