Friday, October 14, 2011

October 12th: Night of The Demons 3 (1997)

PLOT
It's been years since the St. Rita's Academy massacre and school cheerleader Holly (Stephanie Bauder) and her shy friend Abbie (Patricia Rodriguez) are getting ready for the Halloween dance. Meanwhile, bad boy Vince (Kristen Holden-Ried), his slutty girlfriend Lois (Tara Slone) and their friends Nick (Gregory Calpakis), Reggie (Joel Gordon) and Orson (Christian Tessier) are killing time by cruising around town in Orson's van.
Picking up Abbie and Holly after their car breaks down, the teens park at a gas station so Reggie can get some beer. When Reggie argues with store clerk Mr. Morris (Ian McDonald) over his fake ID, the clerk pulls out a shotgun on Reggie. Vince snatches the shotgun away just as two cops walk into the store, leading to a gunfight that leaves one cop (Minor Mustain) dead and Reggie badly wounded.
Ignoring Nick and Holly's pleas to get Reggie to a hospital, Vince, Lois and Orson take them hostage and bring them to Hull House to lay low, where they find Angela Franklin (Amelia Kinkade) getting ready for Halloween. With Vince and Lois forcing Nick to search the house and Orson holding the others at gunpoint, Angela slowly reveals her demonic nature and begins turning the teens into demons, leaving Nick and Holly to defend themselves while Lieutenant Dewhurst (Vlasta Vrana), a few hours shy of retirement, searches for the missing teens.
REVIEW
In preparing to watch Night of The Demons 3, I went in with incredibly low expectations. The original Night of The Demons was a fucking catastrophe and, though I enjoyed Night of The Demons 2, I would never say it was a good movie. Furthermore, the man responsible for that first film, Kevin S. Tenney, was back for the third installment as writer, editor and second unit director, leaving it to Jimmy Kaufman of Shades of Love and Sirens fame to direct, not to mention that '90s horror, save for The Silence of The Lambs and Scream, is pretty dismal. How could this possibly be good?
Those hoping for a surprise in this series can put those hopes to rest. Night of The Demons 3 is even worse than the first film in so many ways. First of all, the lack of comedy. The previous films were horror comedies; I recognize neither were fully successful, but that was the intention of this franchise. None of that humor is anywhere to be seen; just like The Return of The Living Dead series, the third installment in the franchise tries to refresh the story by eschewing the kitschy humor in favor of atmospheric horror.
Unlike Return of The Living Dead III, which was straight horror all the way through, Night of The Demons 3 screws the pooch by holding onto some of those silly jokes. Angela makes wisecracks even Freddy Krueger would be ashamed to use, Kaufman reuses the kid busting in on his half-naked sister bit from the original and Lieutenant Dewhurst does magic tricks during police investigations. Remember Yo Mama's So Fat... Jokes? Yeah, they're here in gross excess and not a single one is even slightly amusing, just cringe worthy.
Does it even work on a horror level? No, not at all; if you watched the first two films, nothing here will surprise you. The opening scene is lifted from Part 2, the credits sequence is similar to the original film's opening credits, most of the character types are a mish-mash of the previous films' characters, and everything is painfully predictable. The only thing that gives this any novelty from its predecessors is that these kids, rather than going to a Halloween party, are running from the law. It makes the dynamics a little bit different and works pretty well in contrast to everything else in the film.
That being said, practically everything else in the film is garbage and for this conceit to really work, the characters have to work and guess what? This cast of characters are far and away the worst lot of the whole series. They're not just annoying or poorly acted; they're downright despicable. But unlike Zoe Trilling's Shirley in Night of The Demons 2, these characters never become entertaining to watch, even in a love-to-hate way. It's a chore to watch them interact and, looking back, I realized the only time I was even remotely connecting to Night of The Demons 3 was when they started dying.
However, I'm not going to put the blame on Tenney for this. In my opinion, these characters because of the performances more so than the script. Kristen Holden-Ried (a guy named Kristen?) is certainly big enough, but his attempts to convey macho intensity and rage aren't even slightly convincing. Gregory Calpakis is playing the same role William Gallo essayed in the original film, only without the bad accent. Joel "Yo Mamma's" Gordon and Vlasta "Pick a Card" Vrana's antics get tiresome really fast, while the rest of the cast leaves no impression whatsoever.
As for Angela herself, I'll give Amelia Kinkade props; she's getting better with each installment. Even though she's got horrible one-liners, Kinkade gets to show more acting range this time and does much of it fairly well, especially in the way she seduces the other characters. Unfortunately, Angela the character isn't really doing anything different, not to mention the Part 2 subplot involving Mouse has been completely dropped. And in case you're wondering, yes, Angela does the psychosexual dance again.
This begs an obvious question; Why not do something different with Angela? In all three films, Angela is just a caged animal, trapped in Hull House and waiting for her victims to come to her. By this third film, it feels redundant. I understand the demons can't cross the underground waterstream, but Part 2 clearly showed there were ways to escape, not to mention Part 2's ending hinted Angela would escape Hull House. They should've gone there and let her run loose on Halloween Night. State officials have the house moved elsewhere. Angela performs a spell allowing her to escape. The underground waterstream is shut off or destroyed. Anything to get her out of that house would've helped immeasurably.
Before closing this out, I have to bring up the effects. For god knows what reason, Kaufman relies on a tremendous amount of CGI for this film and every bit of it looks bad and incomplete. Arms turn into snakes, people transform into demons on-camera, bodies disintegrate, and the invisible wall keeping Angela in Hull House is now, for the first time, visible and looks appalling. The prosthetic effects aren't much better; Angela looks weathered and the others are just generic demon makeup, save for Orson, who actually looks pretty cool in his red demon face.
It's worth noting that Night of The Demons 3 is not only the last film in the series until 2010, but it's also the end of the original franchise, as the next installment is a remake by Adam Gierasch and Jace Anderson. Why is this worth noting? Because generally, a franchise doesn't reboot unless one of two things happen. Either the franchise goes on without a new installment for so long a reboot is the only way to go, or the property gets fucked up beyond repair and has to start all over again. Night of The Demons 3 most certainly falls into that later category.
OVERALL
I give Night of The Demons 3 1 out of 5 Stars. Given that this film bears a very tenuous connection to its predecessors (some even consider it a remake), there's honestly no reason to subject yourself to this, even if you do consider yourself a fan of this franchise. As I stated in my original review of Night of The Demons, the concept behind the trilogy can work in the right hands. I love Halloween movies and I wanted to be able to add these films to my list of required October viewing. Instead, all I got were two shitstorms and one mildly fun ride that I'll probably never watch again. At least Night of The Demons 2 made me laugh; Night of The Demons 3 just depresses me.

Next Up: October 13th: Night of The Creeps (1986)

1 comment:

  1. I never had a problem with it being it was the first of the series I actually watch

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