Night of the Demons

Production Year: 1988
Release Date: 02/04/14
Studio: Scream Factory
Collection Number: 1510

Just over two weeks into 2014 and I've already picked up my first new Scream Factory blu-ray.  While I would have loved to have received 1982's Cat People, I'm more than content with Tenney's masterpiece.  That's right, masterpiece.  Night of the Demons is 80's horror gold.  Great direction, interesting FX, cool set pieces, and Bauhaus.  Prior to this I owned Anchor Bay's 2004 release which was pretty good in it's own right.  It was one disc that would get a few spins throughout the year (especially during the month of October) but after giving this one a go I can safely say that not only is the AB disc inferior, but this is the last Night of the Demons release you'll ever need to purchase.

The premise of Night of the Demons is nothing new, a group of high-schoolers break into the local "haunted" house (known as Hull house) for a little Halloween shindig.  As I mentioned, nothing new.  It's the execution here that pushes this one into classic territory.  Sure enough Hull house really is haunted, and the demonic spirits that call that old abandoned mortuary home begin to possess the souls of the inebriated teenagers.  It's The Evil Dead meets The Haunting.  

Director Kevin Tenney is no schlub when it comes to demonic possession, his first feature (1986's Witchboard) was about the consequences of the Ouija board.  In many ways NOTD is a superior film with tighter direction, great editing, and a nice eclectic cast.  It's certainly one that's not to be missed and thankfully Scream Factory really knocked it out of the park.

Scream Factory's record really precedes them and thankfully this release is more of the same. There's a nice natural film grain present throughout the film, while a majority of the movie takes place in a dark abandoned building there still manages to be a lot of detail present.  The colors at times are fairly vibrant but maintain a realistic look with some nice deep blacks.  No indication of DNR or any other edge enhancement are present throughout the film.

The blu-ray disc includes three main audio options.  The first is a 5.1 DTS-HD master, which sounds excellent.   The audio is pretty even with with soundtrack not drowning out any of the dialogue.  The other two are both 2.0 DTS-HD master tracks, one being an original with the other being newly mastered.  The main difference between the two are the depth and bass of the new master.  

Audio Commentary with Kevin Tenney, Cathy Podewell, Hal Havins, Billy Gallo, and Steve Johnson - This is a new track specifically recorded for this blu-ray release.  It's a pretty easy listen with the group discussing everything from the title, special effects, and on set anecdotes.  If you've ever wondered to yourself "where did that 'eat a bowl of fuck' thing come from?" you'll certainly want to give this one a go.

Audio Commentary with Kevin Tenney, Jeff Geoffrey, and Walter Josten - This is a carry over (the first of a few) from the old Anchor Bay disc. 

You're Invited; The Making of Night of the Demons (HD 01:11:27) - From the film's early beginnings as "Halloween Party" to the special effects, Kevin Tenney, Steve Johnson, and number of others discuss the production of the beloved horror film.  The bits with Johnson discussing the FX were probably my favorite part of this near feature length making of.  It's very well done, definitely one of the better Scream Factory produced featurettes.

Amelia Kinkade, Protean (HD 22:31) - Amelia Kinkade discusses her career preceding and following Night of the Demons.  A chunk of the interview is dedicated to conventions and fans, including one fan (a Marine) who took a Night of the Demons DVD to Iraq.

Marketing reel (SD 04:11) This short feature is a carry over from Anchor Bay's 2004 release.  It's basically a promotional video created to sell the film to various rental establishments.  It's a neat archival featurette and I'm really happy it was included.

Theatrical trailer (SD 01:28) 

Home video trailer (SD 01:55)

TV spots (SD 01:16)

Radio spots (00:35)

Four different still galleries 

To date this is easily the most comprehensive release of Night of the Demons.  If I haven't said it before let me clearly state that I hope Shout/Scream Factory handles more of my favorite horror films in the future.  The presentation is there, the PQ/AQ are superior to the past US release, and with the inclusion of a near feature-length documentary I think it's safe to say this is a very worthy upgrade.