The Halloween classic Night of the Demons is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, but the party is truly just beginning with a brand new documentary just starting production, and after an extensive conversation with writer Chris MacGibbon, and I can assure you that The Party’s Just Begun: The Legacy of Night of the Demons will absolutely be the definitive documentary on the entire four-film franchise.
Released in 1988, Night of the Demons is certainly not for everyone, and it was never meant to be, but for those of us who adore it, the story of Angela’s wild Halloween party at Hull House is mandatory annual viewing every October. Chris MacGibbon is one of us, a die hard fan of not only the original film but its two sequels and remake as well, all of which be explored like never before in his new documentary.
Read on for the first installment of our interview with MacGibbon and check out the never-before-seen behind-the-scenes photos from the set of the original Night of the Demons that he is premiering exclusively here at Halloween Daily News, as well as the exclusive reveal of the documentary’s official poster, designed by MacGibbon and featuring art by Juan José Saldarriaga.
How did this project come about?
Well, Michael Perez is the producer on the documentary, and he’s produced documentaries on Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Return of the Living Dead, he’s done a lot of that, and me being such a horror fan and a fan of those franchises, we connected through social media and subsequently made friends with other friends. And we started playing Friday the 13th (the video game) together. We were playing it every night, for pretty much the last year. Shout out to the Real Housewives of Crystal Lake.
One night after a particularly long night of playing, he and I stayed on later than everybody else did, and we started talking about his new project, which is a Police Academy documentary. I asked him if he’d ever consider doing something for Night of the Demons and he said that he had, but wasn’t sure what stories were left being that it had a pretty heavy special edition from Scream Factory. After assuring him there were plenty of stories I felt were left off the table, he said he’d run it by his partner, Gary Smart, and the next day, he said that Gary said, ‘Absolutely, let’s do it.’ And here we are. It came about pretty easily and quickly.
I was really concerned that people were going to tell us that Scream Factory did an hour and fifteen-minute documentary on their (2013) Blu-ray, so how much more could you guys possibly give us in terms of content, and I can safely say, a lot more. We’ve been in contact with over 20 members of the cast and crew (from the original film). We’re getting information and pictures and stories that weren’t on that documentary. We’re going to blow the lid off of anything Night of the Demons related from this point on.
I’ve been friends with the guy who wrote and produced the movie for the last seven or eight years, and I thought I’d heard everything, but I’m hearing new stuff. It’s wonderful.
And you’re going to go in depth on all of the films in the franchise, including the sequels and the remake, is that right?
Yes, we’re going to cover them all extensively. There isn’t a lot of information out there from Part 2 on, so in a weird way those took a higher priority to get folks from. I knew I could get everyone I wanted to from the first film, but I’d never talked to anyone really from the sequels or remake – so that was more of a challenge. I think fans are going to be really happy with who’ve got from them.
Learning more about Part 3 has certainly provided a perspective and an appreciation for it. When I first saw Part 3 as kid, I was like, ‘What is this?’ But as an adult and learning all of the information I have about it, it’s become a much different movie and much different viewing experience for me. With that movie, there are people that obviously it’s not their favorite in the franchise and I think some people would tend to forget it even exists, but with a probably unhealthy amount of re-watches – I’ve personally found myself enjoying it quite a bit.
I think the obvious flaw in the film is the house being completely different, and no acknowledgment of it – it’s so blatant and almost a slap to the face to fans. Make up a story about the house being torn down or something and a new one was built you know? Just ignoring it and pretending it’s the same seems rather silly in hindsight. I love the script and the characters though – and some of the demon effects are great in that one too.
It’s the same thing with the remake. The remake has a fair amount of people that don’t care for it and will probably skip our portion on the remake, but there are people that love it and it’s watched with the other movies. We’d be amiss if we didn’t feel like it needed to be in there in some fashion. We’re going to give it as much attention as we are the other two sequels. It’s a fun film.
What does the original Night of the Demons film mean to you? What was it like the first time you saw it?
The first film, I saw it when I was probably much too young for watching a movie like this, maybe five or six years old, maybe even a little younger. I’m not a hundred percent sure. I was a horror fan pretty early on. My aunt was very supportive of me being into gross things. She bought me my very first horror movie, which was George Romero’s Day of the Dead, which became my favorite horror film. And Night of the Demons was probably the second or third horror film I had ever seen.
I actually bought it myself with some birthday money at a department store of all places. I remember it was late and the store was closing so I had to hurry – I saw that iconic cover and immediately knew I was taking it home.
I just couldn’t get enough of Angela and her demon cohorts. It just became a staple in my life. I always had a copy of it. I used to wear the tapes out, and on my fourth or fifth copy, my mom told me I had to get a tooth pulled at the dentist or I wouldn’t get the tape. And I told my dentist to lie to her. I tried to bribe him and told him I’d give him 120 dollars if he told her he pulled my tooth out, so I could get the tape, because I didn’t want him to stick that big ass needle in my mouth. Needless to say, he didn’t lie for me, so the tooth came out and I got the tape. I suffered for my love of the film!
It’s really just always been a part of my life. Every now and again, it pops up in a different way and becomes something that I get really invested in, and it just never seems to go away.
The movie, I think, resonates with so many people because it really is just a fun movie. It’s littered with a ton of characters that anybody can relate to. It has such a wide array of different types of people, from the goth girl to the party animal to the geeky kid who knows all the history about the place, the stuck up jock, the pretty blonde, they’re all there. There’s something for everybody to kind of grab onto.
I also think it has a bit of self awareness to it, as well. It knows what it is. It never tries to be anything more than that either. The director (Kevin Tenney) has always said if the opening animated title sequence doesn’t grab you, the movie’s not going to work for you, because it perfectly captures the tone of what type of movie you’re getting yourself into. And I think that’s probably the most accurate thing I’ve ever heard when it comes to the film. If that title sequence bores you or doesn’t interest you in any way, the rest of the movie is not going to play well for you.
It’s like going into a carnival and dealing with barkers and demons on Halloween night.
Can you talk a little bit about the legacy of Night of the Demons and its fan base?
Being a fan of the film, it seems like with Night of the Demons there are these people who are more like a family. It’s bizarre to a certain degree, because it transcends horror. I’ve talked to people who are not into horror but they know what Night of the Demons is. But in that same vein there are also people that don’t know what it is in the community, which just surprises me when I hear people outside of it knowing what it is. Then when you tell someone about it or show it to them, you feel like you’re giving them the key to this world that you’ve already experienced and you just want to see what they’re going to do once they walk through the doors of Hull House. I feel like that’s shared among its fans; we love revisiting it and celebrating its life. It’s always a party.
It’s weird because it’s a B horror film, and you don’t expect it to bring a community together, but it did.
I love being a horror fan. The horror genre is where, for lack of a better term, a lot of the misfits hang out – and I hate that word really, but it’s all I can think of. I always kind of equate horror as being the Island of Misfit Toys. We’re a lot of people who really didn’t quite fit in, whether it’s social awkwardness or just liking different things that other people don’t like, and we found our niche in the horror genre, because there’s people that like that stuff too.
My first horror convention was unbelievable, that I was around people that I could talk to about horror movies that weren’t going to look at me like I was crazy because I knew all this stuff about movies that nobody else knew. Horror conventions have become like family reunions for a lot of people, including myself.
That’s why Night of the Demons appeals to so many people, because Angela is kind of a misfit herself. She’s the one who is out of the norm and little bit different, and she sort of becomes the queen of all of all these demon creatures that she begins to kind of inherit. And she brings them back to her house to party. As daunting as demonic possession can sound, when you look at it from that perspective, it almost sounds like it would kind of be cool. I kind of what to go party with Angela. I mean who wouldn’t?
You can see more exclusive photos and the official poster reveal for the documentary below, and keep watching this site for more exclusive news and updates on The Party’s Just Begun: The Legacy of Night of the Demons as we follow the film’s development through its release in October 2019.
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