Back when I was a kid, demons were something I use to be extremely afraid of! The idea that these invisible evil creatures existed, used to keep me up at night because I kept thinking that if demons really existed then there must be one or two roaming around the shadows in my room. I lived in fear of these mythical creatures for a long time!
My religious up bringing taught me that demons could posses your body if you weren’t doing 'gods will', it taught me that demons were evil creatures that were cast out of heaven by God because they sided with Satan. They were considered traitors to God, so he kicked them out of that castle in the sky. And the worst part? Demons are supposed to be so angry that they were kicked out of heaven that they are down here on earth making life a living hell for all of us. Taking out their anger on humanity. I don’t believe in demons anymore, I guess you could say I’ve evolved into a more rational human being.
I even thought that just by watching a horror movie I could attract demons into my home! This is the main reason why I took so long to watch The Exorcist! This was something I quickly fixed as soon as I stopped believing in demons. There came a moment in my life where I began defying all my previous beliefs! I bought a Ouija board and defied spirits to talk to me…ha! Nothing happened! I even signed a contract I found on the internet to sell my soul to the devil. Nothing came of that either, though who knows; maybe I’ll end up paying for that one in the afterlife; if there even is an afterlife, I guess I'll find out if I ever get there, things could go either way.
So anyways, I started devouring horror movies like there was no tomorrow and I purposely watched as many demon related movies as I could get a hold of, simply to prove to myself that nothing would happen to me if I did. I was wrong; something did happen. I was enjoying a lot of these freaking movies that’s what happened! Here is a list of some demon movies I finally got around to seeing. Some of them are awesome, some are mediocre and some are so bad they are good. They are all about demons, not the antichrist, not ghosts, not haunted houses, but demons. The kind that turned their back on God! Hope you guys find this list useful come Halloween night!
Night of the Demons (1988) and Night of the Demons 2 (1994)
Both of these movies are extremely similar. They all deal with this haunted house everyone is afraid of called 'Hull House'. And they are both about horny teenagers looking for a place to party on Halloween Night. Problem is, these teenagers don’t know the real horrors that this house has in store for them! This house is crawling with Demons! And Angela is looking to bring as many teenagers as she can to appease them! On the first one, the kids decide to play with a Ouija Board, you know just for kicks. When they do so, they unwillingly resurrect a demon that had been dormant for a long time. It aint long before teenagers are turning into demons and ripping each other apart. This first film is famous for a sequence in which a possessed Linnea Quigley introduces a lipstick into her nipple for no reason whatsoever than to amuse you.
On Night of the Demons 2, the comedy quotient was amplified which some of you might not enjoy, but hell, this film came out during the day and age of Freddy Krueger, when horror villains who spewed jokes every five seconds was the cool thing to do in horror movies. But still, this movie has some cool effects, including a sequence in which Angela (the demon hostess of these Halloween parties) turns into a humanoid snake thing; not a bad effect for such a low budget flick. There are two more Night of the Demons movies, but I never bothered with them because they got really bad reviews.
This demonic slice of filmmaking comes to us from Italy, and was directed by Lamberto Bava, son of Italian Horror Maestro/Legend Mario Bava. This one is interesting because it takes place almost entirely inside of a movie theater, as an audience is watching a new horror movie that hasn’t been released yet. On the film they watch, there is this metal mask that turns whoever wears it into a demon. Problem is, somebody in the audience finds this mask in the real world and has decided to wear it! In no time people are turning into demons inside of the movie theater and all hell breaks loose. This is a very gory film! It’s the kind of film I like to show my friends to shock them with some gory fun. When people turn into demons, they turn extremely violent and want to do nothing more than kill! One cool sequence has this demon girl rip this other dudes throat to shreds with her fingernails! Something else that's cool about this flick, the soundtrack has Billy Idol and Motley Crue in it! A workd of advice, when watching Demons, you might find moments that will make no sense at all! For some reason, Italians love doing that in their horror films. So be ready for that, otherwise, just enjoy this Dario Argento produced gory ride!
Demons 2 (1986)
Lamberto Bava takes up directorial duties once again in this sequel to Demons (1985)! This time around the film doesn’t take place inside of a movie theater, but inside of an apartment complex and the story focuses on a 16 year old girl named Sally who is celebrating her birthday with a bunch of her friends. During the birthday, Sally goes to her room and begins watching a horror movie (cause you know thats what you do when your celebrating your birthday with your friends) about a group of kids who investigate a "forbidden zone" where a demon out break occurred many years ago. As Sally watches this movie, one of the demons from the movie starts to come out of her television and posseses her! An awesome sequence that Im sure was partially inspired by Cronenbergs Videodrome (1983). Actually, the premise for this film is also similar Cronenberg’s Shivers (1975) because it takes place in an apartment complex in which everyone ends up trying to kill each other. You see, Sally starts turning everyone in her apartment complex into demons! This movie has the same basic structure as the first one: a girl turns into a demon and she starts killing whoever comes across her path. The people she kills turn into demons as well and the cycle continues. This one isn’t as gory as the original, but its still has some great moments in it including a little demon creature that resembles a Gremlin. There's more Demon movies (I believe they went up to part 6) but I havent checked those out yet.
Night of the Demon (1957)
This horror film from the 50’s comes to us from director Jaques Tourneur and its about this college professor who is investigating these strange deaths that are occurring. Supposedly, the deaths are linked to a Satanic Cult that is going around sacrificing people in their rituals. But is this whats really going on? We soon learn there is more to it then that! A magical parchment marks you as the next one to be visited by a gigantic Godzilla like demon that comes and kills you. I love this old film for various reasons, one, it has intelligent characters and dialog. They don’t easily accept things, much less the existence of the supernatural, their first answer is always towards the logical. Second, the villain in the film is awesome! He is this intelligent yet powerful warlock that disguises himself as this nice old man who throws Halloween parties for kids. A very atmospheric film that served as the insipiration for Sam Raimi when the time came to write and direct Drag Me to Hell (2009).
Drag Me to Hell (2009)
This one comes to us from Sam Raimi, the director of The Evil Dead Trilogy. On this one he returns again to demonic themed movies with the story of a working girl who denies a bank loan to an old gypsy woman. The gypsy woman doesn’t take rejection very well (probably because she’ll end up loosing her home) and so she places a curse upon the girl. She will be tormented by a demon called The Lamia, and this demon will come in a few days time to literally drag her to hell. So the girl only has a couple of days to try and figure out what to do to avoid this. In the mean time, she gets tormented by The Lamia day and night through a series of demon attacks. This movie might seem a bit tame coming from the director who made the Evil Dead films, but it has its own charm and it is an entertaining and fun horror film. I was hoping Raimi would take this opportunity to do something that really cooks, something truly terrifying, instead he opted to make this PG-13 morality play. Cant blame the guy for wanting to try something different, but deep down inside, I’m waiting for the day when Raimi really returns to horror.
The Convent (2000)
The Convent was a very low budget independent horror film made by director Mike Mendez , who is also known for having directed The Gravedancers (2005) a couple of years ago. The Convent is a film about a group of college students who break into an old abandoned Convent to smoke weed and make out. Too bad they do not know about the Convents past. At the same time, a duo of Satanists is trying to perform one of their rituals inside of the Convent. Soon, everyone is being possessed by demons and tormented in various ways. I thought this movie was hilarious! It has that cheesy vibe you get from watching horror films from the 80’s. It has that same vibe you get from watching films like Night of the Demons. Performances and dialog is silly, but to make up for that there's lots of gore and demons! The demons have this glow in the dark effect, even their blood glows in the dark too! This is a gore fest with a sense of humor, specially when it comes to the Satanist who are a laugh riot. As an added extra bonus, Adrianne Barbeau plays the part of a veteran demon slayer who is somehow tied to The Convents horrific past. I recommend this movie if you are looking to have a fun night watching horror movies with your friends.
Amityville II: The Possession (1982)
The Amityville movies are mostly seen as haunted house films, and they are for the most part. But this second entry into the series is a bit different because it focuses more on demonic possession. If you guys are up to date on the whole Amityville Horror story, the first film is about this couple that buys a house with an ugly past. A teenage boy supposedly went coo coo and decided to murder his whole family with a shot gun! We never see these events take place in the first film, they are simply told as a background story. But the couple decides to buy the house anyways in spite of its horrible past. As a result, they are later plagued by ghosts and demons. The thing about Amityville II: The Possesion is that it’s really a prequel. It tells the story of that teenager who went nuts and killed his whole family one dark and stormy night. According to this film, the young man was possessed by demons that controlled him and made him wipe out his entire family with a shot gun. I love this movie, it plays out a bit like The Exorcist, but with a young man instead of a little girl. I like the way the story develops, and how little by little the young man looses control of himself until the demon has completely taken over his life. The ending is a huge battle between demon and priest in a huge exorcism sequence! A worthy sequel to the original. Sadly, these movies would only go downhill after this one.
Cameron’s Closet (1988)
Cameron’s Closet tells the story of a little kid named Cameron Lansig who has telekinetic abilities. His father (who is also a scientist) is trying to unlock the secrets of Cameron’s telekinetic abilities by conducting a series of experiments on the boy. Sadly, Cameron’s dad gets mysteriously decapitated one night by an unseen force! Could it have been Cameron who did it with his powers? Or are there demons at work here? We soon learn that Cameron is being hounded by an ancient Mayan demon, who wants to kill Cameron so he can stay on earth. Interesting thing about this movie is that Carlo Rambaldi the special effects master who worked on films like E.T., Dune and Conan: The Destroyer was the guy responsible for the demon that appears on this movie. Sadly, the creature is extremely disappointing! But whatever, what really drew me to with this movie was the telekinetic angle. Cameron has mental powers that make him special and I’ve always liked stories about little kids with powers. This one is similar to Firestarter (1984) and Poltergeist (1982) in that sense. The problem with this one is that at times it feels like a made for t.v. movie, but that probably has to do with its low budget.
The Church (1989)
This one is a great Italian horror film that I always enjoy because it’s so beautifully shot, thanks to the work of Ialian horror director Michele Soavi who made some really good horror movies: Cemetery Man (1994), Stagefright (1987) and The Church (1989). He also made one called The Sect (1991), but I’ve yet to see that one. Sadly, he hasn’t made anymore horror films after these. He decided to separate himself from filmmaking to take care of his ailing son. I say sadly, because all of his horror films are freaking great in my book! The Church tells the story of a group of individuals (mostly tourists) who are locked up inside of a Church that mysteriously locks its doors with everyone inside! Once the front doors are locked, there is no other way out of it! Why are demons attacking people inside of a Church? What horrible secret does this Church hold in its past? The cool thing about this movie is that it was written and produced by Dario Argento himself, and same as in many Argento films, this one is filled with historical facts and draws a lot from actual myths and legends. Argento loves to fill his movies with stories that are somehow linked to real events from history and lace them with fantasy and horror. It also stars a very young Asia Argento.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
This is the kind of horror film that gets people to literally gasp inside of a horror theater. I remember hearing a gasp here and there when I first saw it in theaters. This film is based on a an exorcism that was performend on a German Catholic girl named Anneliese Michel. That exorcism was controversial because it went on to last for ten wole months; in the end, the girl died! There was debate over who to blame for her death. Demons? Or the fact that the priests never took the girl to get any professional mental or physical help? Who is to blame for her death? This is the reason why the film is told in a series of flashbacks as the court case against the priests unfolds. It’s a very interesting film because it never sides with one side or the other. Does the girl suffer from convulsions, or are demons contorting her body that way? Does she have psychological problems or are demons making drink her own urine? And how can she speak in languages she doesn’t even know? Whatever the case may be, I find this case very very spooky. Interesting part is that you can hear The Exorcism on the internet as it really happened (the priest acutally taped some of the sessions) and her voice sounds so freaking strange on those tapes, theres something really otherwordly about it. The real life events make the film scarier.
The Last Exorcism (2010)
This one is told in documentary form, leading us to believe that a documentary is being filmed as it unfolds. In other words, this is a horror mockumentary. The film looks and feels as if someone is shooting the whole thing with a camera strapped on their shoulders. It follows the life of an evangelical minister named Reverend Cotton as he is about to perform an exorcism on a girl called Nell. Why do most of these demons choose teenage girls to posses? Could it be because all these movies are influenced by The Exorcist? I’m pretty sure that is the reason. But anyhows, we follow Reverend Cotton as he visits Nell’s house and performs an exorcism. His only real interest in all of this is exposing “exorcism” for a farce. He is set out to show that all this is in peoples heads, that its all psychological. Religion and its teachings are making these people see things, because they really want to believe in all these things. Problem is that even after the exorcism is performed, strange things continue to unfold in Nell’s house. Could the girl be possessed by real demons? Or is there something more evil hidden behind her strange behavior? This film is interesting because it aims to expose religion as a farce, it portrays religion as a psychologically dangerous tool that has turned many people into schizophrenics! Which is why the last 10 minutes of the film disappoint a lot of people, because essentially, the film switches in tone completely! But whatever the case maybe, the film is an interesting one, and I salute it for achieving a chilling horror film with such a small budget. This film and the way it was shot (small budget and documentary style) came as a direct result of the success of independent horror films such as The Blairwitch Project (1999) and most recently Paranormal Acivity (2009).
Paranormal Activity (2009)
This one is about a girl (see? Demons are always after girls!) who has always experienced supernatural events ever since she was a child. Now that she is all grown up she's decided to forget about everything, but the strange supernatural events that occurred to her are always in the back of her head. Problem comes when she and her boyfriend move in together and the supernatural occurrences start all over again. Doors open on their own, someone pulls the covers from their bed. Strange shadows are seen roaming through the house, not to mention those weird noises they hear all the time! So, her boyfriend decides to put a camera in the room as they sleep, to see if he can capture any supernatural events with his camera. To his surprise (he is a skeptic all the way) he does capture a couple of supernatural events. And from their on in, they try various ways to get rid of and confront the demons that are attacking them. What made this film so profitable and such a hit is the fact that it plays with people’s fears of demons, but as opposed to many of the films on this list which play with the idea of demons in a cheesy or funny way, this one did it from a realistic point of view. Shooting the film as if it was being filmed by the couple with their own video camera made everything more realistic for audiences. It felt like it was all really unfolding in a real home, with a real couple. Problem for me is that this film doesn’t have much re-watch value. After you’ve seen it once, it looses its magic. But, that first watch you give it? Make sure it’s with the lights out and in your own living room! I consider this film to be this generations The Amityville Horror (1978).
Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight (1995)
This is the first of the three Tales from the Crypt movies and it has all the fun and mayhem you might expect from a film that is linked to the excellent HBO horror show that ran for seven great seasons. The film opens with The Crypt Keeper directing his own slasher film. He takes a break from directing his film to tell us a tale called “Demon Knight”. And this is where the film really starts. Demon Knight deals with a key that can help Demons bring hell to earth. Demons have always wanted that for some reason. So, the last of the seven keys is being protected by a fellow called Breyker. It is his mission in life to protect this key from the demons. Problem is, the demons are hot on his tail! He manages to hide inside of a hotel and uses the blood inside of the key (which is partially made up of Jesus Christ own blood!) to create a barrier so the demons cant come into the hotel. How long will the demons stay out of the hotel before they can come in and posses and kill everyone and finally get a hold of the magical key? I love this movie! It is extremely fast paced and never boring! The demons look awesome! They remind me of Pumpkinhead in look. There is lots of cartoonish gore, and everyone is always running and screaming on this one. A very fun horror film that benefits from having an excellent cast which includes: William Sadler as the current protector of the magical key, Billy Zane as the leader of the demons, Jada Pinket as the future protector of the key, and even Thomas Haden Church is in it, who plays the resident selfish asshole. The ending of the film is left open for a sequel…which was called Tales from the Crypt: Bordello of Blood (1996), yet another fun movie to watch on Halloween night.
The Mangler (1995)
This is a strange sort of horror movie. I mean, who in the world would think that they would make a horror movie about a possessed refrigerator and a possessed laundry machine? And that this movie would be based on a short story by Stephen King? Exactly. But this film exists and it comes to us from Tobe Hooper the director of such horror classics as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist. So yeah, believe it or not, the central plot of this film is all about this big old steam press that is possessed by demons. The only way the machine can be appeased is if it’s fed a 16 year old virgin girl! I know right? Weird! But then again, considering Tobe Hooper’s filmology this movie is right up his alley. The owner of the Laundry Service Company is played by Robert Englund, he is the guy who knows the true story behind the deadly machine. You’d expect this movie to be bad right? And you would be right in a way, but strangely enough I find myself enjoying this movie. I mean, the idea behind it is so outlandish that it kind of pulls me in, and just the fact that they actually pulled it off, and made an entertaining horror movie around that premise makes the movie that much more interesting to me. I love the ending where they actually perform an exorcism on the giant machine! Its like watching the exorcist, but instead of having Linda Blair, you get an ancient laundry machine that’s possessed by demons! And wants nothing more then to gobble you up! This film was followed by two more sequels, The Mangler 2 (2001) and The Mangler Reborn (2005) but I never bothered with those so I can’t tell you if their any good or not.
The Gate (1987)
The Gate is about a couple of kids who unknowingly do everything that is necessary to open up the gates of hell! After the gates of hell are opened, suddenly their home is invaded by all sorts of demons. Most of them are in the form of these little creatures that look like something out of Darby O’Gill and the Little People…if the were possessed by demons! The kids try closing The Gate, and even start reading from the bible in front of the gate, but this only angers the demons! So then they throw the bible into hell! And this angers them even more! The kids are psychologically tortured all through out the film. This is something that demons just LOVE to do to people, they love to mess with peoples heads and drive people over the edge. The film is filled with great visual effects for a film with a small budget. The director effectively uses top motion animation and miniatures to bring the demons on this film to life. One amazing sequence has a gigantic demon come out of hell through the floor boards of the kids living room! Awesome sequence! This movie stars a very young (must’ve been about 10 or 11 years old) Stephen Dorff. It was followed by a sequel called The Gate II (1990) unfortunately, even though some of the cast from the original returned and the film was helmed by the same director (Tibor Takacs) The Gate II was not as effective and the special effects went down in quality. Interesting bit of information about The Gate: a re-make is scheduled to start filming soon, with creature designs by H.R. Giger and its to be directed by Alex Winters (Bill of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure). I’ve seen some conceptual art work for it and I think it just might turn out good. Let’s keep our fingers crossed on that one!
REC 2 (2010)
This film takes off exactly where the original left off, so you get a feeling of continuity between both films. You get the feeling that the first film never stopped. On the first film, the government thought that the ravenous tenants of the building were acting that way because they were infected with some sort of virus. What this film brings to the table is the idea that it wasn’t a virus, but demons! That’s right my friends, this film takes a turn towards the supernatural side! So the what the government does is send in another SWAT team but this time, a priest will tag along with them to make sure he can send these demons back to hell! This sequel was once again shot in the documentary style, which is quite effective for the sole reason that it brings the film right in your face! You feel like you are right in there on the action! And the demons are just about to grab you! I really loved those moments that were filled in night vision, they were pretty effective. REC 2 is filled with lots of tense moments, and at times you will feel like you are watching The Exorcist. Once again, the demons are after little girls! I hear these directors have a whole slew of REC movies ready to be made, so if this one is successful, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of these films getting made soon.
The Evil Dead Trilogy
There’s not much I can say about these movies that hasn’t already been said but for the benefit of those young souls out there who have not yet had the pleasure of seeing these horror classics: what are you waiting for? Go out there, rent or buy these movies and sit back and enjoy! These movies are all about an ancient book called The Necronomicon. A book that can resurrect demons! Now, why would anyone want to do that? Beats the hell out of me; but the characters in this movie do it and demons come forth to wreck havoc on their lives. People get possessed beyond recognition, possessed trees come to life and rape women, magical daggers that kill demons have to be found, girlfriends are turned into zombies, a guy fights his own possessed hand and time vortexes are opened! All three films are different from each other. The first one is straight out horror, the second one is kind of like a remake of the original one but with a bigger budget and more make up effects and the final one is an action adventure type of film, but with monsters and demons in it! The success behind these films rests in the fast paced nature that they have. Something happens in the every five minutes. The special make up effects are fun and the gore quotient is high as hell! Let’s not forget that these movies are laced with Three Stooges type of slapstick humor in them as well, and you got a winner in your hands! If you haven’t seen them, you can’t call yourself a true horror fan.
This movie was Stan Winstons first stab at directing a film. Stan Winston had been involved in many films across the years, but he was always working on the make up effects and the animatronics. He had never directed a film himself, but with Pumpkinhead, he changed all that. Pumpkinhead is an old myth that goes around this hillbilly town in the middle of nowhere. The myth is that if you should ever need to avenge something that’s really terrible, you call upon this demon to exact your revenge for you and you wouldn’t even have to get your hands dirty. Pumpkinhead is the demon of vengeance. Kind of like the Ghost Rider. The story revolves around this man and his son, they both live really happy lives. They do everything together and the love between them is pretty obvious. The perfect father and son relationship. The father loves his one and only son, and his son admires his father as his own personal hero. Problem comes when a gang of bikers come to their town and accidentally kill the kid with their bikes! They run off not wanting to pay for the murder. And so Lance Henriksen (the father character) decides to conjure up Pumpkinhead, which he does! And after that, the film is all about the bikers running away from the demon of vengeance! This film is extremely atmospheric, the wind is blowing all the time, theres lots of fog and dead trees all over the place, I loved that about it. But of course, the real highlight of the flick is the creature itself. Pumpkinhead. A masterpiece of monster make up effects! My only real problem with this movie is that the creature moves so slow sometimes. You could tell it gave them problems to move the monster around. I wish they had at least made him look like a faster creature through editing, but as it is, it looks like this clunky thing, that looks awesome, but you feel like you could out run the thing! Still, I don’t really care about that. The movie is a great revenge tale, and a moody piece! Highly recommend it for that alone.
The Exorcist (1973)
Finally, you know I had to mention this film on this blogpost! The Exorcist. The classic. This film always figures into horror fans top horror films lists for a reason. It’s a great horror film. Doesn’t matter what you believe in, this movie is a good horror movie. But if you are a Christian, and believe in demons and priests and the bible, this movie is probably your worst nightmare! It plays with Catholicism mythology and brings it all to horrifying life! In fact, this movie will only help Christians want to get closer to their bibles! Cause they wont want what happened to little Regan to happen to them. Lot’s of things are excellent about this film, it’s one of those movies in which the whole production is marked by excellence. Excellent performances, excellent direction, and an excellent script. The script is so solid, that it helps bring these characters to life. The dialog that the demon Pazuzu and his demon friends say really makes them sound like they come straight from hell. The make up effects are still frightening, even by todays standards. This is one of the most influential horror films ever made, and it shook a generatin of movie goers. I mean, people couldn’t take this movie! Some actually walked out of the theater! Some fainted! But they all loved it, cause the lines ran long for this classic! It was followed by many sequels, but if you ask me, the only one thats worth a damn is The Exorcist III.