Nights of the Demons ’88 Defies Tropes…but Still isn’t Very Good

I watched Night of the Demons ‘88 because my friend Paul told me that a lady pushed her lipstick into her nipple. That didn’t appeal to me on a sexual level, but one I’m a little more embarrassed about. I watched a feature length film so I could tell Paul I’d seen the “nipstick” scene.

That ninety minutes was about as well spent as it sounds. The movie had bad dialogue and worse acting. I think it could be fun with a lot of friends and a lot more beer, but it had one redeeming grace: not only did the black guy, Roger, not die first, he didn’t die at all. Roger, dressed as a pirate, is by far the best part of that movie.

I wouldn’t give the writer credit for subverting tropes, but that’s because I don’t believe he’s smart enough to identify tropes. I will give him credit for unintentionally writing the funniest slasher survivor of all time.

Roger gets to the abandoned funeral parlor where the high school kids are having their, as people do on Halloween. As soon as there is a modicum of evidence they’re in danger, he runs.

The girl who flees with him is killed. He does nothing to prevent her death. There’s no investigation. There’s no attempt at vengeance. Instead, Roger keeps running.

Then as his friends are possessed and killed one by one, Roger falls asleep in the car he’s hiding in. When he does wake up, he twice shirks the typical male role of saving the lead girl, Judy. The first time, a skeleton moves and he’s out of the room before Judy can tell him to wait.

They’re surrounded by the demons later. There’s seemingly no escape. Roger jumps through the window with no concern for Judy’s safety. He doesn’t say “Follow me” or “This way.” He acts in his own self-interest. Judy follows, but gets no help from him.

The piece-de-resistance, though, is the very ending. Judy follows him through the window but the ten-foot tall exterior wall has morphed its gate into part of the wall. She spots a wire that they can climb. She tries to go up, but doesn’t have the skill, so Roger cuts her in line and scampers to safety himself. He comes back over and saves her too, but only after he himself is assured of survival, and I love that.

It’s hilarious, and realistic. The person who worries about surviving themselves first in a bloodbath should live, provided they keep their wits about them. Roger did that, and though he couldn’t save Night of the Demons, he saved himself, which turns out to be his M.O.

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