Wednesday, October 31, 2018

bad dad gas.

It's the last day of 31 Days of Horror and I'm feeling very refreshed.

Not only because the final movie is a corker but because someone said something nice about the blog on Twitter t'other week:


This must be what being popular feels like.

Anyway on with the movie.

Well on with the review, I mean I watched the movie last night.

Tho' I could probably put it on again.

Yes it's that good.
 


Demon Wind (1990).
Dir: Charles Philip Moore.
Cast:: Eric Larsonn, Francine Lapensee, Bobby Johnston, Lynn Clark, Mark David Fritsche, Sherry Bendorf, Jack Vogel, Stephen Quadros, Richard Gabai, Mia Ruiz, C.D.J. Koko, Rufus Norris and Sandra Margot.

“And now my pig, you die!”



Welcome to 1930s backwoods, USA, where burned and crucified bodies and market stall prints of Jesus (or is it Ewan McGregor?) litter the grounds - and walls - of the tiny farmhouse home of the God-fearing (and ferret toothed) Regina Carter who, alongside her long-suffering husband George is busy lighting candles in an attempt to stop evil demons entering her house.

Tho' probably not her lady garden as from the look of her that's already been the site of a good few hauntings.

As the camera pans across old family photographs and more cheap religious tat the sounds of spooky voices fill the air as Regina stands steadfast against the front door as if trying to stop some unknown - and unseen - force from entering.

George on the other hand is just standing in the background like a huge cardboard cock.

Albeit one that's dribbling vegetable soup whilst growling.

Turning to face her by now soup covered and Chip-Stick fanged hubbie Regina quickly grabs a poundshop snowglobe and threatens to break it, announcing that if she does it will be the end of them both.

As you do.

Unconcerned by the threat of ornament breakage George lunges at his wife and she drops the globe which shatters into a pool of blood and causes the house to explode.

Which was a wee bit unexpected I'll admit.

That ain't no fella.....it's Jesus!


With a quick cut and a title card that says 'PRESENT' (which I am) we're in the modern day times where the tiny-eyed teen - yeah right - Cory (Larson whom you may remember from his top turn as the Internal Affairs Guy from the episode of Angel 'Reprise') and his girlfriend Elaine (Producer/Director/Actor Lapensee) are uncomfortably driving along a very empty dirt track on their way to visit his grandparents' farm.

It seems that poor Cory had a strange childhood, estranged from his father his only link to the past is the aforementioned farmhouse and the tales of the strange goings on that happened there.

As if some strange foreboding of things to come an inbred, snub-nosed ginger child stands silently on a hill pointing a stick at them.

I bet his girlfriend is so looking forward to this weekend trip, I mean I'm depressed just writing about it.


Local.


With the conversation as stilted as the pairs acting ability there's blessed relief when they stop at 'crazy' Barry Harcourt's (Olivier winning theatre director Norris - no really) gas station and cafe for directions, a quick snack and an excuse for Elaine to flash her love heart pants at Cory, much to the chagrin of the owner who berates them before giving an airing to the age old "Keep away from the farm or you'll be doomed!" speech so well loved in 80s horror epics.

Cory, ignoring the warnings, tells Elaine that he's adamant that he's been here before in a strange dream where he's naked apart from a thermos flask to cover his dignity and just to prove it's so the director lovingly shows us this very dream.

Which if nothing else goes to show how pert Cory's arse is.

Honestly he could crack walnuts between those buttocks.

Unfortunately we don't get to see them in action as the dream suddenly ends with the appearance of Cory's blood soaked (as opposed to gin soaked) grannie.

All this bizarro shite is soon is cut short tho' when more of Cory's entourage arrive at the gas station, there's the buff stud muffin and wannabe wife beater Dell (Erotic Confessions star Johnston), his yumsome, red-tighted girlfriend Terri (Santa Barbara's Clark) and the frighteningly horse faced Bonnie (Hollywood stunt royalty Bendorf) alongside the bespectacled Jack (Fritsche) as well as the council estate Michael Biehn Stacy (Vogel) alongside amateur magician cum fulltime spunkbucket Chuck (ex drummer with rock gods Snow and almost KISS percussionist Quadros) who - in one of the greatest moments in cinema - arrives on the scene decked in a cape and bowtie whilst performing magic tricks from the front seat of a convertible as The Ride of the Valkyries blares over the car stereo before getting down to threatening Dell with his sexy Kung Fu moves.

No really.


Kick, punch it's all in the mind.



As the group grab a drink Cory decides to get everyone (including us) up to speed with regards to his dear old dad who, it turns out was born a mere four days before the farm house exploded  and how, shortly after Cory was born, he returned there and was never heard from again until that is Cory caught up with him a few weeks back.

Oh yes and it turns out that within hours of catching up with his son that the poor old sod slashed his wrists and died.

Which is a bit excessive really, I mean mine just ignores me.

Surprisingly the entire group react not with fear or concern but mild disinterest and with that they all head to their cars eager to get to the farm house and the promise of a feast of egg sandwiches and cans of pop.

When the gang finally arrive at the farm you can see that they're oh so slightly disappointed by what they find as it consists of a smashed wall, some bricks piled in a corner and a three walled barn.

Yup, it's gonna be a cold night.

As a plus point tho' there is the burnt remains of the skeleton crucified to a tree by the gate which probably counts as a selling feature.

Trying to make the best of a bad - alright utterly shite - situation the group start to unload their cars but in the excitement Bonnie manages to trip over her massive chin and lands face to, um, skull with a skeleton poking out of the grass and as Cory goes to help her up our hero accidentally touches it causing a threadbare explosion of felt pen-based rotoscoping of the kind not since you used to add laser effects to your super 8 movies with a pin.

But if that wasn't enough to caused you to fill your trousers with fright then the fact that this causes Cory to experience hallucinatory images of his dad/uncle/cousin (I don't care) getting attacked by a loud noise should make you at least check for leakage.

Dollar have let themselves go.




Dell searching around in the bushes for something to abuse comes across - not in that way tho' I'd not be surprised if he did seeing as his entire character is a literal #metoo meme -  a rusty old lantern and quickly surmises that a bad man started a fire and killed everyone tho' Cory isn't convinced and proceeds to walk around the desolated ruin for no reason other than to freak out the audience when he stands in the doorway facing his pals who it turns out can't see him.

Scarily all they see is a rustically furnished and non-trashed farmhouse.

Yet no-one and I do mean no-one thinks this is at all odd.

Cory walks all the way back to his friends and they all head inside.

Yup, into a farm house which they have just seen exists in two separate dimensions.

A farm house that exists in two separate dimensions and has glowing, laser firing skulls buried outside.

And a crucified corpse as a garden ornament.

And not one of them thinks this is in any way odd.

There's even scary Sumerian style text scrawled on the walls Ala Evil Dead.

Seriously I've never wished death on anyone as much as I have on Cory and his pals.

Yes they're that stupid.

But kinda lovable too.

Weird science!





Bonnie, having the biggest face and therefore being the most able to read the mystic runes from a distance begins to recite the words out loud causing the fireplace to burst into flames (well it is a fireplace I guess) and the entire contents of the house to start flying around as crockery and the like usually don't.

As the stench of an entire group of teens shitting themselves fills the air everyone legs it out of the Farmhouse before Chuck and Stacy head back in after retrieving guns from their car.

No doubt Chuck turned a couple of rabbits into the firearms as magicians usually do in times of stress.

This guy puts Paul Daniels to shame.

Voting to turn around and go home (a wise idea if not a very cinematic one) Cory desperately tries to persuade them to stay saying that it was just the (demon) wind when suddenly, as if right on cue, the crucified skeletons falls to the ground.

With this the entire group hurry back to their cars but - surprise surprise - none of them will start.

Bonnie, hungry for sugar lumps, begins to panic and grabs her (saddle) bags before quickly walking in the direction of the gas station.

As her friends begin to follow a mysterious howling wind picks up and a spooky fog appears from nowhere.

I say nowhere but I'm assuming it's from a smoke machine placed just out of shot.

As the fog disappears the group realise that they've been transported right back to outside the house.

But this time they're not alone as three creepy wee girls cosplaying Laura Ingalls have appeared from nowhere to hurl abuse at our freaked out friends.

Dell, being a caring guy almost immediately tries to punch one of them but is cast aside like a rag doll which causes poor Bonnie to get even more upset and attempt to gallop away.

One of the girls makes a grab for Bonnie and in a flash of felt pen animation turns her into a doll.

Not a doll that looks anything like her obviously just a common or garden cheap toy shop doll that has a vague approximation of her outfit on.

As in it's the same colour.

Sort of.

No idea why they didn't just use a Barbie horse tho' as that'd been a perfect match.


"Me? stay in a haunted house? Neigh chance!"





The director has one more cruel twist of fate for Bonnie tho' as after it utters a few scary words it bursts into flames.

The friends just look at each other and shrug before heading back into the house to bed down for the night because, as Cory so eloquently puts it, it'll probably be safer than sleeping in their cars.

Yup if I have the choice between sleeping in a locked car or in a haunted house that phases between two different dimensions I know which I'd choose.

Occupying themselves by cleaning the place up before teatime the group of friends are understandably upset when just as Stacy places the last doily on the sofa arm another demon wind blows thru' the house and messes it up again.

Cory however doesn't seem to notice as he's way too busy following a ghostly vision of his grandmother down into the basement where she leads him to her handy spellbook and a couple of demon killing daggers.

Which is nice seeing as all my gran ever gave me was a feeling of shame and the fact that I was considered an abomination and a mistake by everyone.

Including the local vicar and most of the nearby women's institute.

Anyway, enough of my dark secrets as there are plenty on screen to go around as Cory is keen to share as he reads from his Nan's book.

It seems that years back his family chased a preacher named Barry 'Beast' Enders out of the area after he began worshiping Satan and converting a load of local farmers.

And with this stunning revelation the group settle for bed leaving the gun-toting
magicians Chuck and Stacy on guard.

Well they do have magical powers.

And guns obviously.

As the night (and the movie) drags on the pair notice a voice calling to them from the fog and as they peer ever closer to the window a ghostly blonde bird (former 'adult' movie star and current reality TV starring bail-bonds woman Margot) appears, wearing what looks like your Mum's best underwear and calling their names as she pens her -smashing - blouse revealing her breasts.

Which is a blessed relief as it takes your attention away from her harsh face.

As she fades back into the fog I'm surprised to say that the pair actually realise it's a trick but decide to go out anyway and shoot some stuff.


"Boiled onions!"

As they search thru' the fog for the floaty old lady a shambling group of zombie demons appear on the horizon and our trick-performing twosome start blasting away in between Chuck karate kicking the undead horde in the face.

The tide of battle soon turns against the two friends tho' and Chuck can only look on in mild apathy as Stacy is cut down by the demons leaving Chuck no choice but to run back to the house and - rather than just quickly go inside and shut the door - hang around till the topless woman kills him.

As his dying screams - and not I repeat not the sound of multiple gunshots - finally wake everyone up
he surviving group rush to the windows to take a peek outside and see their friends dead bodies, giving Terri the chance to deliver the greatest onscreen NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! since James Earl Jones in Revenge of The Sith.

As the sun rises our merry band are excited to hear a car in the distance, it seems that Cory's pals, the dangly earinged Willy (Assault of the Party Nerds 2: The Heavy Petting Detective star cum latter day producer and director Gaba)
and his girlfriend Reena (Ruiz whom you may remember as Mr. Reindeer's Resident Valet #1 in Wild At Heart and as the saucy Michelle in Witchcraft II: The Temptress - no? Suit yourselves) have turned up to join in the fun.

As the group run towards the car Cory frantically yells for them to keep the engine running in the hope that they can all pile in and escape but Willy unable to hear them over not just the noise of the engine but also over his awesomeness turns it off and shouts "What?" really loudly.


The Take That reunion tour got off to a shaky start...



Realising that they're all basically fucked the pals head back to the farm and begin boarding up the windows - which if you remember don't exist from the outside - and fashioning weapons to defend themselves using leftover pots and pans.

Well it keeps them busy.

Dell and Terri on the other hand have decided to make a run for it and grabbing a blanket for the journey head out into the unknown where they soon die.

No loss there then.

As the friends beaver away at the windows Jack notices that the barn has mysteriously rebuilt itself and in a bizarre leap of logic decides that the evil must be hiding in there so they all head over to investigate.

Disappointingly as barns go this one seems pretty ordinary - except for the runes daubed in blood on the walls and the crucified human skeleton with a bulls skull for a head obviously - so the friends continue to poke around.

All except Reena that is who slowly approaches the skeleton, transfixed by its strange beauty.

Well that's what she says.

Personally I reckon she just wants to know if he's in proportion.

As she gets nearer a massive tongue lashes out of the skull and wraps itself around her neck, dragging her ever nearer before biting her head off.

Which is nice.

"Is it in yet?"


Cory and co. turn to leave but find their exit blocked by their magician mates who are now possessed by demons, Jack, coming over all Rowdy Roddy Piper (not literally mind) threatens to shoot the pair but is politely informed that guns wont work in the house of the Devil.

Or even his barn possibly.

After punching Willy in the face the pair attempt to attack Elaine, which is when Cory remembers that he has a couple of demon destroying daggers. He waves them at his former friends till they run away giving everyone a chance to return to the farmhouse.

Except Willie that is, they left him lying unconscious in the barn.

Friends eh?

As they turn back and get him, Reena appears carrying his severed head like a novelty handbag and Cory realising that the films running time is rapidly coming to an end decides to get all proactive, stabbing her with a dagger and causing her - and it - to explode in a shower of cartoon light.

Everyone - well everyone who's left - piles into the farmhouse as the demon hordes stumble out of the barn toward them.

But as the undead army gets closer a strange ray of light emanates from the farmhouse causing them to burst into flames.

Yup it appears dear old grannie installed a demon repellent ray in the roof.

Pity she never felt need to mention it earlier.

Or at all.

As the mysterious magical forcefield begins to fade the demons roughly enter the house and as an undead Terri bites Jack and Bonnie gallops over a hill to beg for death all seems lost but as the Devil himself prepares to make an entrance it appears that there's more to Cory than first appears.

Could he really be some superhero-style Satan smasher in disguise?




Most famous for being one of the first movies released on VHS to have a lenticular cover - glad to see they spent the money in the right place - Demon Wind is what would happen if you showed The Evil Dead to a sugared-up 12 year old with ADHD then got him to rewrite the script from memory.

Yes it's that good.

Writer/director Charles Philip Moore (he who gave us the classic 1994 'erotic' thriller Angel of Destruction as well as the Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson hit Blackbelt) throws caution - and budgetary constraints - to the (demon) wind to bring us a tale that's as mesmerizing as it is ludicrous - mad, at times painfully bad and - if not dangerous - then at least slightly dippy to know.

From it's bizarro nude dream sequences to it's Rentaghost style (not so) special effects and vegetable soup spewing demons via fright masked fight scenes and random scary children pointing sticks at nothing in particular, Demon Wind at once encapsulates both the very best and the arse clenching worst of late 80s American horror cinema.

Oh and did I mention it features magic tricks?

Soup in mah mooth.



Those less forgiving may accuse the whole sorry affair of being a wee bit shite, well if that's at all true then at least it's bloody enjoyable shite, cramming more into its running time than most other movies of its ilk combined and if that means there's less time to worry about little things like logic and basic storytelling tropes then who am I to argue?

Really, there's not much you can say about Demon Wind other than you need to experience it for yourself.

Sheer lo-fi horror genius.

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