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John’s Horror Corner: Night Angel (1990), the pleasantly gory tale of the evil succubus Lilith.

December 2, 2015

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MY CALL:  This is campy 80s horror at its best.  Gory and sexualized with a diversity of special effects, zany scenes and plot elements that are melodramatically over-explained…this put a 90 minute grin on my face.  MOVIES LIKE Night Angel:  Want more bewitching women?  Try Spellbinder (1988), The Kiss (1988), and more on the smutty exploitative side of things is The Haunting of Morella (1990).  For more sultry life-drainers aim for Lifeforce (1985) and Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988).  And for more flesh-melding sexuality maybe a little From Beyond (1986) and Society (1989).

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Earning the award for “Most Melodramatic and Over-Explanatory Opening Monologue” in the first few minutes, this wacky 80s horror flick was entertaining from start to finish.  Make no mistake: this movie is dumb.  But it also brimming with 80s charm.  Much to the satisfaction of any 80s horror fan, we jump right into a creature effects scene that really isn’t bad at all as a slimy filth-covered woman with monstrous claws pulls herself from the earth.  Just to keep things classy, let’s also have a look at her boobs like right away since we’re already 4 minutes deep into the movie and we don’t want anyone to get bored.  See what I mean?  We’re in for a fun ride with this one!

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This movie is loaded with things that are silly.  In the middle of the night a guy hears a weird sound outside and it turns out to be a llama in his backyard.  What!?!?!?  Then we transition to a bloody, murderous and horrendously campy sex scene.  But this is just victim number one…let’s get into the meat of the story.

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An editor for Siren magazine, our protagonist Craig (Linden Ashby; Mortal Kombat, Prom Night) has nightmares of the murderous sexcapades of the succubus Lilith.  Little does he know, his dreams are really happening!  Not sure why he was chosen to have these dreams, but he has them nonetheless.

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Craig encounters Lilith in the flesh at a party for Siren’s fashion magazine at a club.  The overtly sultry Lilith (German soap opera star Isa Jank) licks foaming beer bottles for waaaay too long, turns every man’s head in the house, and embraces every opportunity to take off her clothes and lead men to the sex-driven demise.  Why?  Because evidently the best way to disseminate Lilith’s lusty evil is by being on the cover of the next issue of Siren.  And now Siren magazine executives are dying one by one.

For one random death Lilith basically uses seduction and illusion to lure a man into falling down an elevator shaft to his gory demise.  This was an interesting choice.  I’m a big fan of the soul-sucking kiss of death techniques from Lifeforce (1985) and Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988).  But this was still pleasing enough—a bit on the silly campy side, which suits me just fine.  Not that I expect consistency from a movie like this, but later she squeezes her victims’ essence from their heart.  These heart rip scenes are reminiscent of the heart removal from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) by the Kali Priest and, coincidently, it is suggested that Lilith was known as Kali among other names in history.  She basically plunges her fingers deep into her victim’s chest, grabs their heart, and they slowly die.  It’s pretty cool, albeit unoriginal.

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But the movie hasn’t slipped off the deep end just yet… cue the surreal party scene with face melding a la From Beyond (1986) and Society (1989), men’s faces on breasts, people being tortured and eaten… oh, right, and Lilith spits evil leech monsters from her mouth like she has one of those Aliens mouth-within-a-mouth deals.  Thankfully—just to keep things sane—there’s an elderly voodoo-practicing taxi driver (who’s been stalking Craig babbling nonsense for the last hour) to explain everything: “[Lilith] is Satan’s whore.  Lust is her lifeforce.  She was Adam’s first wife…before Eve…”  Oh, good.  NOW it all makes sense.  Meanwhile, the Siren office slowly becomes a lecherous domain in which everyone is randy, rape-y, lasciviously sauntering about, and obsessed with worshipping Lilith.

Fans will enjoy finding Doug Jones (Absentia, Love in the Time of Monsters) playing the uber-horny office guy who want to bear Lilith’s children.  He provides the comic relief complete with a gangly night club dance scene and he gets a shocking amount of screentime throughout the movie.  Also keep an eye out for a brief spot by the diminutive Phil Fondacaro from Ghoulies II (1988) and Meridian (1990).

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This turned out to be a pleasantly gory little jaunt.  Lilith’s slimy emergence, the infernal body-melding torture orgy party, people getting impaled through the torso, more than one scene with a heart rip life-drain that we get to fully see, and various cuts, slashes and stabs peppered in here and there.  Then there’s Lilith’s demonic transformation which we see it in two phases: one with her clawed hand and a hybrid face (heavy latex and make-up), the other just a slime-tastic, oozing Hell beast (full monster suit).  She looks like a cool mix of the demons from The Unholy (1988), The Terror Within (1989) and the transformed gargoyle from Lover’s Vow (1990; Tales from the Darkside: The Movie).  Lilith’s defeat is lame and abrupt (like most 80s horror endings), but I didn’t let it bother me too much.  This movie was FUN!

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I’ve gotta’ say this movie surprised me.  It’s dumb, but I was thoroughly entertained and I’m a little disappointed this isn’t available on DVD.  I’d seriously buy it.  Also, given the premise, I expected something smutty or trashy.  That really wasn’t the case here.  Sure, there’s some nudity (a few women’s worth and easily more than average), but this is not exploitation horror or smut per se.  This is just typical 80s horror that happens to have a sexualized story.

Recommended for 80s horror fans.

 

 

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