Tuesday, March 16, 2010

(Fun With) Fulci Week: Demonia

All of you expecting my review of City of the Living Dead will just have to wait a little longer.  Don't blame me- blame the bad DVD sent to me.  I hope I can appease you with some horror and nun-sploitation from Mr. Fulci instead.  This film came out in 1990, which is the same year that also gave us Cat in the Brain.  This was truly a banner year in the Fulci house, huh?  Our story involves a group of people uncovering the nunnery of some sisters from the 16th Century who got on the wrong side of the nearby village.  I'm sure this will end peacefully...right?  Let's put on our habits and embrace...
The film begins with the flogging and crucifixion of the nuns for some untold offense in Rome.  Man, nuns haven't had it this bad since that little incident at St. Valentine's!  You may say that this sounds a lot like the bit from the beginning of The Beyond with the artist.  Yes, yes it is.  Anyhow, some archaeologists show up to look at the Greek influence on the area and nothing else.  Of course, you need to tell that to the psychic lady who passed out at a seance earlier while viewing the events of the beginning.  The head of the expedition (Brett Halsey) does his best to keep things in line, but is not exactly successful.  So, the lady starts seeing visions, people start getting killed and our hero tries to keep up with things.  Here are the highlights...

* A local resident and source of information is attacked by a topless ghost with a harpoon gun who kills him.  Why?  How?  Are you really asking this in a Fulci film?
* A woman is attacked by her cats and mauled to death.  If you like funny deaths, just watch the scene for the obvious cat puppets.
* Lucio Fulci shows up as a detective and actually has a major role here!  I know who you're role model is, M. Night!
* We see a flashback to two scenes of brutal violence.  One man is stabbed and bled to death post-coitus & a baby is tossed into a fire!  Wow...these add nothing to the story.  Thanks.
* A man is attacked in his deli freezer by a ghost and has his tongue stabbed down to board.  Which is worse- the stabbing or being hit with a chunk of Porterhouse?
* In a bit of odd editing, a man chases down a nun who is kidnapping his son, only to be tied down to a tree a moment later.  When did that happen?  How did that happen?  Keep an eye out for the really fake-looking chest cover for the guy.
* In the end, the woman is chased by the mob and morphs into one of the nuns.  After some weird flashes, she returns to normal.  The End.  Wait, what?!?
Yeah, this movie is really, really weird.  The whole idea is that the woman is channeling the spirits of the dead nuns...I guess.  They never really elaborate on any of this, so we're just supposed to just go with it.  None of it is really bad (i.e. Sodoma's Ghost), but it doesn't really make much sense either (i.e. every Fulci film).  This is better about being a collection of words that tie together the gore scenes than some of the other films.  However, if you look at this like a normal narrative, you'll be a bit disappointed.  This film came on the tail end of Fulci's career and did nothing to disprove the perceptions of him.  If you're a fan, you'll enjoy it as much as his films like The Beyond or City of the Living Dead.  If you're not, you'll wonder what the hell he was on.
Next up, Lucio brings us...HOLY SHIT, it's a holiday!  Faith and begorrah, I'll get out my Leprechaun.  Stay tuned...


  1. Since you mention City Of The Living dead- I noticed in this how this film tries to rehash some of City Of The Living Dead and The Beyond as a nun film.

    I think there is also a small reference to Manhattan Baby in there - just before the human wishbone scene with the echoey voice calling to the kid.

  2. Look at the bright side: at least they weren't trying to rip-off 'House by the Cemetery' by having a character named Freudstein in it.

    But yeah, that's a pretty accurate view of it. Post 1984-Fulci only had so many ideas in him.