Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Video Bava: Demons 3- The Ogre

After two great films in the series, it's a gimme that someone was going to screw this up.  That came in the form of shitty film distributors who preferred to outright lie to consumers.  As I mentioned in my Trivia piece, there are actually THREE Demons III films.  One of them is a Michele Soavi film that is actually really good, features similar creatures and has Asia Argento in it- a tenuous connection, but I'll work with it.  The second is a piece of low-budget crap known as Black Demons, which is more appropriate as The Serpent & The Rainbow 2 than Demons III!  Lastly- and I do mean 'lastly'- there is this film.  In the wake of his film success, Lamberto Bava made a quartet of television movies, one of which was called 'The Ogre.'  As for the other films, we'll get to those later.  So how does this movie fit in to the Demons mythology?  Well, to be honest, it doesn't.  This story is actually about a woman trying to write a book, only to be confronted by a monster from her childhood nightmares.  Wow, that sounds lame.  This is...
The film begins fairly strong with a weird sequence involving a young girl being pursued by an unknown creature.  There's a lot of atmosphere here as the girl runs through a spiderweb-covered castle basement.  Of course, this goodness can't last, can it?  Right before the girl is killed, the dream ends and we are introduced to our heroine.  She is an older woman played by Virginia Bryant, who appeared in Demons 2.  I guess that's the only connection we're going to get, huh?  The woman is a writer who apparently makes really scary horror novels under a male pseudonym.  Despite being married and having a kid, her childhood nightmares bother her.  She tries to get over them, but is not aided much by her husband.  He's the usual 'it's all a dream- get over it' guy we get in tales like this.  To get inspiration for her next work, our heroine heads out to lovely Italian villa to write.  On the first day, she begins to write while her husband and son go off for a hike.  Hey kids, do you like padding?  If so, then you'll love this pointless scene which pads out the run-time by five minutes.
While the guys are away, our heroine stumbles across some weird stuff in the villa.  She sees some objects in the attic that look like stuff she used to own.  How did that get from Ohio to Italy exactly?  When the guys finally come home- they were out there longer than the guys from Deliverance- the woman talks to her husband about what she found.  He doesn't buy it, which just infuriates her.  By the way, if you love watching them fight, this film will enthrall you.  For everyone else, please note which button allows your disc to Fast Forward!  Our heroine goes into town, but runs into some trouble when the local store won't accept her credit card.  It's one thing to distrust an outsider, but it's another thing to distrust American Express...dammit!  A local woman helps her out and even gets her cousin to babysit for the couple.  This sets up a scene of the pair trying to be intimate (eww), while the kid plays hide-and-go-seek with the babysitter.  We get some foreshadowing of the monster wandering around, but it doesn't really do much for a while.  When the woman gets in a field of flowers, however, the thing attacks her...with no blood or gore.  Yeah, don't expect any of that here!
As a TV-movie, the story just kind of meanders for quite a while.  The monster is seen wandering around, while the woman talks about seeing things...and is completely ignored.  Seriously, this guy couldn't be more emotionally-vacant if he was in a coma!  The pattern repeats itself over and over again.  I saw something, you're crazy....I saw something, etc.  Finally, our heroine wanders down to the basement that resembles the titular monster's lair from her dreams and finds the body of the babysitter.  The film fluctuates between this all being in her head (an image of the Ogre becomes the husband) and being real.  Eventually, the couple hears a noise downstairs and finds a mess.  They track it to the basement and find the monster holding the son hostage.  Since the dad is there too, the creature must be real.  It storms out of the house, but our heroine is determined to stop the thing.  Using the car, she runs the creature over and it...disappears.  So it wasn't real?  No, it wasn't...apparently, as we find out that the babysitter was not dead.  Hey Bava, make up your mind next time!
This movie sucks, although it is important to judge it properly.  Since it's been released on DVD like any mainstream film, it is often judged that way.  Unfortunately for the film, it is actually a TV movie with almost no budget, so the comparison is not really all that fair.  Although, to be fair, Duel was a TV movie and it kicked all kinds of ass!  As a Demons film, it is a giant disappointment that offers nothing you expect and simply fails.  As a non-Demons movie, the whole thing is simply a tedious affair that has a simple premise, but struggles to fill the run-time.  Did we really need the hiking scene in full-length or the 800th argument between the couple?  I get the budgetary and time constraints that Bava was under, but I still can't excuse the many mistakes the movie makes.  On a positive note, there are some genuinely-interesting scenes at the beginning and the 'Ogre' mask looks decent sometimes.  Ultimately though, the film fails in every major way and just makes you yearn for a much better Demons III film...
No, no- I said a much better Demons III film.

Next up, we close up the 4-Part look at the Demons series with another unrelated Italian film.  On the plus side, this is a Michele Soavi film.  Stay tuned...

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