The 80’s were arguably one of the best decades for horror cinema (not to mention my personal favorite decade in general, parachute pants aside). It was the decade many horror classics wormed their way into our rotten hearts to make us love the genre that had birthed so many nightmares. I know for myself, the 80’s were my introduction to horror and from there I branched out and expanded the list of horror films I’d seen, everything from old Universal monster movies to the greats of Hammer Horror, and while I’ve come to love the genre as a whole over the years, those 80’s flicks will always be my favorites. They were fun movies that didn’t require much of a plot, were full of unnecessary gore, and provided an endless number of drinking games. Some of them were garbage, there’s no doubt about that, but even some of those could be good for a laugh at the very least. The 80’s were also a golden time for the horror icon, characters who would come to define their movies. One of those icons was the horror hostess Angela, chief demon in 1988’s Night of the Demons,but unlike some of her counterparts, Angela didn’t last and by the mid 90’s was nearly forgotten. Then came the new millennium and horror entered a new era, the era of the remake. It wasn’t that remakes were anything new, but they were certainly never utilized quite as much before we entered the year 2000 and found out we still didn’t have flying cars. Lesser known cult classics such as Night of the Demons were ripe for the pickings and sure enough in 2009, Angela was resurrected for a brand new audience. Unfortunately, she lost a lot in her resurrection, though the movie itself might have actually improved just a tad. Let’s take a look at the two films.
Night of the Demons 1988: A group of party seekers are prodded by their friend Angela to throw a Halloween shindig in an old dilapidated funeral parlor called Hull House but once there find that ancient demons who have tormented the land for centuries have now set their sights on our unlucky revelers and said demons begin to possess party goers one by one as the night wears on, starting with Angela herself.
Night of the Demons 2009: Party planner extraordinaire Angela is throwing a massive Halloween bash in New Orleans’s famous Broussard Mansion, a place where several people disappeared decades earlier and the lady of the house hung herself. When the party gets shut down by the cops Angela and a few of her friends are locked inside the mansion where they find the skeletal remains of those who had disappeared behind the mansion’s walls. Unfortunately, one of those skeletons possess Angela through a bite and Angela begins to possess the others in an attempt to complete a ritual begun by the previous occupants.
Both movies have the same basic structure, kids in house during Halloween piss off demons who come and attack them by possessing each one over the course of the night, Angela remains demon number one, and both versions are chocked full of their decade’s respective stereotypes, but that’s where the similarities end. For one, the original had a better reason for the demons in my opinion, it was just cursed land and demons like to fuck shit up, it’s in their nature, so after being contacted through a mirror all hell breaks loose. In the remake it had to be a séance that summoned the demons who needed to possess a number of people to escape some kind of a curse to do…something, I really have no idea what they’re ultimate goal was but it didn’t need to be there. Demons killing people just because they’re demons is all you really need, the simplicity of the original made it more enjoyable. Speaking of simplicity, the remake added far too much story and far too much character development and it came across as completely unnecessary as nothing was ever really fleshed out thanks to there being just too much added story. The original is just a fun romp with crazy demons instead of a bad attempt at serious horror with some minor humor.
So which movie do I think would be better? Despite just spending a paragraph tearing apart the remake it’s actually kind of hard to say which would be a better movie. They both have their good and bad points. I love the simplicity of the original but it had its own set of problems, generic characters, dated (but not bad) makeup, and the 80’sist of everything 80’s mashed up into a single horror film. The remake had a much stronger female lead, better music, and amazing makeup (not to mention John Fucking Connor, who might look a little worse for wear since he went toe to toe with the T-1000 but is still the savior of mankind against machine supremacy…show respect). The stronger female lead is probably the biggest thing the remake has going for it; in the original all she does is scream and cry while in the remake she kicks some major ass. Though in the original they don’t have to explain away the cell phones and that does give it some extra points because the “what do we do about cell phones” paradox has gotten amazingly annoying in horror movies since the popularity of cell phones, and the reasons the cell phones become unusable is always dumb, no different with the remake. They all suddenly lose the use of them because the demons, having learned all about cell phones while being locked away in human skeletons, cut them off. The demons are reduced to AT&T canceling a phone because of nonpayment (though I always suspected Satan was in charge of AT&T anyways so I guess it works). On the other hand, the remake did have a much better soundtrack and music is the quickest way to my heart (right next to a love of both Star Trek and Star Wars). Don’t get me wrong, I love me some 80’s synth music but the sound track for the remake was really top notch. Still, I think I’m going to have to go with the original as the superior film, if only slightly. The addition of too much story bogged the remake down, slowed the film’s pace to a crawl at too many points, and left far too many unanswered questions when the only question we should have to worry about is whose going to die next. The win goes to the original.
Okay, so now that we now which movie was better what about which group of evil would win in a fight? Can’t have a match up without deciding a fight victor now can we?
Angela and Her Demons (1988): The demons have one goal, to fuck these teenagers up. Sure, it took being contacted through a mirror on their own cursed land, but once they were out all bets were off. With the sexy, intimidating Angela at the helm there’s nothing these demons can’t do…except leave. Their major weakness is that they are trapped inside the funeral home because of a river they can’t cross and walls they can’t climb. Why demons haven’t figured out how to scale walls surrounding a river they don’t have to cross is beyond me but it is what it is. None of that matters for our victims though because with them on the demons home turf and now trapped themselves, the freed denizens of hell can have their fun possessing each annoying teen until the dawn sends them back to the underworld.
Angela and Her Demons (2009): These demons have a different goal, to possess seven people and escape the confines of hell. They were summoned during a séance in the 30’s but were stopped just short of their goal when the lady of the manor hung herself from the balcony, trapping them in the house until the ritual could be completed, something they have a chance to do now that seven unlucky people have been locked inside their resting place and discovered the remains of their previous victims. They may not have as much of a carefree attitude but can none the less make life just as miserable for those they possess. The major thing they lack is the intimidation and leadership of the original Angela who might be a little sexier but puts everything into just being a temptress. They’re also hindered by their desire to spontaneously break into demonic orgies. Yeah, you read that last part right, the remake’s demons are rather sex starved creatures, not that real demons aren’t but I think they can control themselves when freedom is only hours away.
Let’s check out the stats:
Angela and Her Demons (1988):
-Can possess people through touch or violence
-Don’t give a fuck attitude
-No real goal to hinder their insanity
-Have a much better leader in their Angela
-Great at amping up the terror of their victims
-Since the ground they inhabit is cursed they will always be there to torment people
-Seem to have trouble with doors
-Are trapped no matter what they do
Angela and Her Demons (2009):
-Can possess people through touch, violence, or sex
-Are better at hiding what they are until it’s too late
-Have greater strength
-Determination pushes them even further to accomplish what they need
-Not much creeping terror in their actions, just surprise or chase
-Are only able to attack newcomers upon the discovery of their original victims
-Distracted by sex too easily
-Are weak to magic runes
So who would win? I’d have to say the remake’s demons even though they have a weaker leader. True enough, they have several weaknesses of their own to contend with such as their crippling sex addiction (at least that can be used to turn people who don’t realize what their humping into demons as well) and weakness to magic runes (something the original demons don’t seem to know anything about, the remake’s humans just found them) but their strengths are much better. In the original doors were a major weakness for the demons while in the remake the demons can punch through walls when they aren’t stopped by the runes. Add in the fact that I think the remake demons would have trounced the original humans and I have to give the points to them. Angela might not be up to par but her underlings seem to have all in hand. The win for better creatures goes to the remake.
The Undead Review