This week's VHS pick is Dominique Othenin-Girard's 1990 horror flick Night Angel.
The ancient spirit Lilith (played by German actress Isa Jank) infiltrates the fashion industry in order to seduce the masses.
Wedged in Girard's filmography, between two best forgotten sequels (Halloween 5 & Omen IV) is this little under-seen oddity. You would never know from its innocuous coverbox, but this movie contains all manner of treasures. I really have to thank my buddy Justin Decloux for bringing this to my attention because it's chock full of all the insanity that made movies from this era truly great.
|Isa Jank as Lilith in Night Angel|
I'm not sure where to start. Night Angel is like a fever dream and one has to wonder if not only Joe Augustyn & Walter Josten were high when they wrote it, but if everybody involved was, as well. Litith causes everyone around her to lose control, but the decadence seems to be on full display before she even arrives on the scene – as in this movie was already a souped-up Trans-Am version of the eighties and Lilith just drives it off a cliff. This movie keeps on giving. Karen Black appears as the magazine editor and even has a young Doug Jones, as the biggest nerd who ever nerded - I believe the phrase “I just want to tickle her tonsils with my meat puppet” may have come out of his mouth.
|Doug Jones & Linden Ashby in Night Angel|
However, it is the abundance of special effects that are the highlight of this movie. Night Angel was in that sweet spot where practical effects were at their peak. Touchstone pictures like Society and Nightbreed were out and Dead Alive was not far off. To give you an idea of the pedigree involved here, not only did Steve Johnson work on Night Angel, but also the legendary KNB trio. I feel there must have been a carte blanche directive at play here because the sheer quantity of gags is astonishing. There's a character named “Woman with Faces under Breasts” for Christ's sake as well as a full body creature suit (and Jones isn't wearing it!) at the end for good measure. Man, those were the days!
|Night Angel at its most subtle.|
It is very difficult to quantify why this movie isn't better known, as it is so loud and abstract I can't imagine it being easily forgotten by anyone who watches it. Thankfully, Kino Lorber's recent Blu-ray release may get it in front of more eyeballs. In a decade marked by its excesses, Night Angel seeks to make you wonder how any of us made it through the eighties without bursting into flames.