Stashed within the confines of Kevin Tenney’s Night of the Demons is a moment where time almost seems to stop, making way for a dance sequence so memorable that it was an easy choice when deciding on the inaugural entry of SlashDance. The setting is Hull House, where a bewildered Sal (Billy Gallo) watches as a demon possessed Angela (Amelia Kinkade) goes into a dance so decadent that even the devil himself cannot help but blush.
Despite being strange in the eyes of the straight-laced Sal, the dance seems innocent enough at first, as Angela erotically tosses her body about to the beat of her own demonic drum. Things become a little more interesting, however, when a boombox mysteriously kicks on, and the screeching sounds of Bauhaus’ Stigmata Martyr come hurtling from the speakers. The sequence grows progressively intense and hypnotic in a way that is in tune with the music blaring from the sticker-laden boombox, as Angela spins herself and the viewer alike into a seductive trance of sexual chaos.
What makes this dance scene work so well is simply in the way it’s brought to life. Not only is Amelia Kinkade an incredible dancer and Stigmata Martyr the perfect song, the sequence is impressively constructed. This is most notable when the strobe light kicks on, something that adds a pulsating level of drama to Angela’s movements. It’s obvious that there are a few randomly cut frames that make it look as if Angela is quickly disappearing and reappearing in different places, something that makes the dance even more hypnotically confusing for both Sal and the audience alike.
While Night of the Demons is a fairly hokey, albeit entertaining ‘80s horror romp, the Stigmata Martyr dance scene stands out as an interesting achievement that elevates past the film itself, leaving an iconic imprint on the genre. It’s a moment that transcends the film as a whole, and that’s saying a lot considering we are talking about a movie where Linnea Quigley partakes in a memorable lipstick nipple breach.