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Demonia

Review by: 
Billion$Baby
Release Date: 
1988
Studio: 
Shriek Show
Genre: 
Supernatural
Format: 
DVD
Region: 
1 NTSC
Aspect Ratio: 
1.33:1
Directed by: 
Lucio Fulci
Cast: 
Brett Halsey
Meg Register
Movie: 
1
Extras: 
1
Bottom Line: 
1

 Zzzzzz...nice score...zzzzzz...gore...zzzzzz...Lucio Fulci cameo...zzzzzz...more gore...another Fulci cameo...zzzzzz...more gore...etc, etc, etc.
 
What can you say about a film like this? If you're a Fulci fanatic, it's still worth a look-see. Maybe. If you're not, run like hell. My advice is to buy second-hand or just steal it. If you've paid more than a fiver, you've been stung.
 
Like Aenigma, Demonia's biggest problem is a lack of ambition from an ageing Fulci coupled together with it's very low budget. What sets it apart from a film like Aenigma is that it's actually got some decent gore effects. Well, okay, apart from the sequence where a woman is mauled to death by some hand puppet cats! Other than that, the effects are pretty good considering those budgetary limitations. And the obligatory Lucio Fulci cameo is lots of fun in this flick. This time around, Lucio pops up quite often and ironically, he gives a better performance than many of the actors.
 
Catriona MacColl was offered the lead in Demonia and she turned it down. Who can blame her? The film is very poor when compared to the likes of City Of The Living Dead, The Beyond or House By The Cemetary (insert sharp intake of breath from Head Cheeze and McLargehuge here). And Catriona probably wanted to get paid more than a 20 pound note for her efforts. Her replacement wanders around with a constant gormless look on her face and she wears an ill-fitting jacketwith hands that struggle to emerge from the sleeves. Either her arms are half the length of everybody else's in the film or it's just a very poor fit. Oh, and her acting stinks too.
 
What's the plot? Archeologists go to Greece. The locals are suspicious of them. Some of the archeologists die. Gormless chick uncovers an ancient local secret about some horny devil worshipping nuns who were crucified. Then in an impressive variation on the theme (sarcasm), some of the locals die as well. The plot is poor and like COTLD, the ending is highly ambiguous. Hopefully that was the actual intention of Fulci.
 
You'll recognise a few of the cast members from previous Fulci outings. We've got "Al Cliver" (credited as Al Clever believe it or not) who seems to speak several lines of dialogue only and then dies in every single Fulci flick he turns up in. We've got "Grady Thomas Clarkson" as Shawn. Hmmm. This is Carlo De Mejo who played the joking idiot office worker in Manhattan Baby (or perhaps it's some other twerp with a beard and bad perm?). Actually, that's my absolute fave part of Manhattan Baby, when this idiot gets wiped out. Highly enjoyable.
 
Assuming that this actor is the same person and not an identical clone, De Mejo/Clarkson seems determined to deliver another truly horrible performance. Only this time, his performance is rendered even more laughable by the "Irish" accent featured on the english dub. A truly horrible accent attempt indeed. His cliched whiskey swigging characterisation ain't much better to say the least. However MUCH unintentional humour can be had from watching his song and dance shenanigans around the camp fire at the archeological dig. Maybe this is how the Italians think the Irish really behave?! I dare you not to cheer when Shawn the "Irishman" is disposed of. If you're not cheering, that's probably because you're too busy laughing.
 
BTW Here's a bit of trivia for ya, Carlo De Mejo is Alida Valli's (Suspiria and Inferno) son, believe it or not.
 
The film scores very highly on the gore factor almost attaining an 'off the charts' rating. I especially enjoyed watching someone recieve a meathook in the side of the neck and then having their tongue nailed to a block of wood. There's another cool effect where another unfortunate is split in two entirely (actually this one does look slightly dodgy, squint your eyes as if you're eating a gooseberry and it'll really impress). There's also some other cool gore effects to enjoy.
 
As in the case of Aenigma (bar THAT song), the score is very impressive and FAR better than the film deserved. The lack of cash, the gore effects, the fun Fulci appearances and the impressive score are the factors that have led to Demonia earning a very generous film mark allocation of one and a half points. Aenigma might have got similar treatment if the gore effects weren't completely non-existent. Remember that the gore effects and the score are all that's left to fall back on if the storyline, photography, acting and direction are all piss-poor. It's a real shame that Fulci found himself struggling to raise capital for later efforts but hey, that's life!
 
So Demonia is maybe worth a look-see but don't go out of your way, and you certainly shouldn't even consider going to the effort of importing the film if you live outside of the US. Shriek Show's dvd isn't anamorphic, the widescreen print is vhs quality and it only offers 2.0 sound. We have four and a half minutes of behind the scenes footage (shot on camcorder) with a brief Lucio Fulci interview. This brief interview also appears on AB's excellent release of the equally impressive The Beyond feature. We're also given a short text interview with Brett Halsey (another bland actor from the film) and a Fulci bio and filmography is also thrown in, in an attempt to make this poor Shriek Show release seem moderately impressive. The attempt fails. 
 

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