NIGHT OF THE DEMONS 2
(The Legend of Crosskicker)
Welcome back to the Cult Corner, your express ticket to everything classic in the horror genre! Hosts Barnabas and Samael choose and examine a horror film that has attained some level of status and discuss whether or not it deserves the “cult” label. Due to the nature of these die-sections, there may be spoilers, but we hope that you, the reader, will give these films a chance if you haven’t seen them before! If you have, please join the discussion and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
Barnabas: Let me start off by saying that “The Legend of Crosskicker” means absolutely nothing to anybody but Samael and myself; it is not an alternate title to the worthy but underlooked sequel Night of the Demons 2, but dammit, it’s hilarious. At the very end of the film, Johnny (portrayed by real-life martial artist Johnny Moran) kicks a boarded-up window to reveal the shape of a cross that burns and seemingly destroys Angela, the antagonist from the first film – hence, Crosskicker is born! We’ve theorized about Crosskicker’s subsequent adventures and came up with some ridiculous stuff, but this moment in Night of the Demons 2 was clearly memorable for us, and it wasn’t the only one.
Brian Trenchard-Smith’s sequel to the original Night of the Demons expands on the humorous tones of the first film to establish its own identity while still retaining the scary, nerve-wracking atmosphere, and has become a cult classic in its own right. Initially, we are introduced to Melissa Franklin – or “Mouse” as her endearing classmates at St. Rita’s Academy call her – who is revealed to be Angela’s sister. I’ve personally never liked the idea of the sudden sibling in horror sequels as I feel it’s simply a shoehorned attempt to connect to a previous film and build a plot, but we are nevertheless given a reason to care about Mouse, who is actually bullied constantly. Her bond with Angela, even in death, drives the story forward, and grade-A bitch Shirley (played by Zoe Trilling) uses her to try and summon something evil. I think that this plot structure is fine; we are given a reason to return to Hull House and pick our sides character-wise as viewers.
Here’s where Night of the Demons 2 does something truly enjoyable: taking some of these bullies and slowly turning them into heroes. Johnny and his girlfriend Bibi never come off as world-class assholes, but they still run with the same gang of jerks that torment Mouse constantly. As the film progresses, Johnny, Bibi, and even the faithfully stout Sister Gloria come into their own as the true protagonists of this story, armed with demon ass-kicking potential! Where the hell does the karate come from? Why is it even relevant? Nobody knows, but it’s one of the random comedic elements that make this film a treasure. I appreciate that these characters are given a chance to shine, and their takedown of the demons in Hull House is entertaining as hell. Fun fact: the preparation montage in this film seems to have directly inspired the one in From Dusk Till Dawn, where Seth Gecko & Co. even used holy water-filled Super Soakers and water balloons!
Aside from the campy but incredible character progression and new secondary location, the basis of Night of the Demons 2 is pretty similar to its predecessor, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The franchise has never been very big in scope, and the formula of killing demons in a vacant, creepy house just works. As with the first film, the practical effects here are grossly unique and scary, Amelia Kinkade kills it as Angela, and it still feels like an 80s horror movie overall, rife with cheese and gore.
Night of the Demons 2 does enough to be wildly enjoyable and further grow the franchise’s mythos, and I think all of these elements combine into a film that deserves its cult status. Will it ever be as popular as the first? I doubt it. A hi-def reprint here in the States would help it out immensely, but we’ll see if that happens. For now, you can check out Angela in all her ghoulish goodness on some streaming services. 3.5/5 as a film for me, but 5/5 for Crosskicker and good times.
Samael: Horror sequels get a lot of hatred, but there’s no room for hate when you’re watching Night of the Demons 2. This one starts off at a Catholic reform school for disobedient teenagers. The powers that be are there to make sure these kids repress their sexual urges and desires in order to be normal teenagers. What a time the 90s was.
In the middle of this mess is a girl named “Mouse”, or Melissa. She’s the sister of the infamous Angela from the original. Mouse is usually the center for ridicule, since she’s super nice and an easy target for bullies. She doesn’t fit in with the other girls. Then there’s this nerd kid Perry who’s obsessed with the occult who uses some sacred Arabic ritual to summon a demon. Father Bob, the head priest, tells him that it’s all nonsense and to focus on schoolwork.
This movie has a certain 80s charm to it, though it takes place in the 90s. It’s one of those oddities. Common tropes: girls who are bitches, the quiet girl, the nerdy girl, the nice guy, the douchebag, and the hero (hail the most holy Crosskicker.) This movie has it all: Nuns with “Nun Chucks” (buh dum tiss), a dude in a denim suit who kicks crosses into walls, giant snake demons, and teenage angst. It was nice to see Angela show up again with the classic scene where the demon comes out of the furnace and flies down the hallway.
This one can be considered a horror comedy, more or less. It does have its bloody moments, but it’s more funny than anything. The sister was badass, Angela was badass, but the Crosskicker in denim was even more badass. Nothing really like 90s movies with 80s vibes and over the top acting with an aesthetically pleasing cast. 10/10
Gravers, still desire more horror? Listen to the newest episode of the podcast where we review Fantasy Island! And stay tuned for the next episode… blink and you might miss it.