Sunday, July 21, 2013

Project Terrible: The Demon

The only thing evil is the idea that they made this movie.  Today's film is The Demon, which is sadly not about the DC Comics Character.  Who wouldn't want to see the tale of a rhyming Demon fighting alongside King Arthur?  No, they couldn't make that movie.  This film is a 1981 Slasher Film made by South African native Percival Ruebens.  It's, a killer.  That's really all you can say.  There are about six plots at times and some- like Cameron Mitchell's- just kind of end abruptly.  The prevalent theme is the killer, but we get no hints to his motivation for any of this.  We also get random scenes of him killing people that we've never seen before, adding to the confusion.  Some people have compared it to a Giallo film, but it's only a partially-accurate comparison.  A Giallo will always have a main hero- be him an Author, Tourist or Young Model- who has to stop a killer that is either after them, tangentially-related them or just killing everyone around them.  In this film, we get a heroine late into the story and they only get stalked by the the last ten minutes or so.  The hero we get before that is Mitchell, who barely appears, and later this brunette, who dies before the Climax.  Was that a twist?  It didn't feel like it, but maybe I'm being too harsh.  The film is not super-Terrible, it's just befuddling.  To find out why (sort of), read on...
The first chunk of the movie involves the titular Demon (I guess- nobody calls him that) stalking and killing a few people.  One of the scenes seems to be stolen right from the Prologue to Twilight Zone: The Movie.

It might not be, but you can judge for yourself.
Cameron Mitchell shows up as an Inspector/Psychic Detective.  He does what he can with the role, even if many scenes involve him just making reaction faces to scenes shot in the audience's faces.
The Demon just kind of wanders around trying to kill people.  The synopsis would have you think that he 'makes people see their greatest fears.'  If he is, the film doesn't show all.
The film pretty much abandons the Demon's plot for a while to show this Teacher having a relationship with this guy.  At the end of one scene, they randomly zoom in on the shore with dramatic music blaring.

I'm sorry, but am I supposed to know who that is?
After more meandering and padding, some kids discover a skeleton in a tree.  This leads to...not much, really.  I don't know why it's here in the long run.
To cap off Mitchell's scenes, he goes and talks to this lady.  She promptly shoots him in the head.

I don't know why, nor do I care.
FINALLY shit goes down in the last 20 minutes or so.  The Demon kills this guy after a date with the brunette and takes her down too.  This is all part of his plan, kill more people.
Super-tight close-up of someone's eyes!

This does bring up an amusing issue: The Demon is constantly in and out of his mask throughout the film.  Consistency!
After a long, drawn-out chase, the blond sets a trap and kills The Demon.  Even in his death flailing, the mask appears and disappears at will!

She kills it/him and runs away screaming as the film just stops.  The End.
Wow.  Just wow.  This film isn't Terrible in theory.  It is really just Terrible in execution.  The film doesn't explain what's happening for 90% of the time.  Using that number is actually being a bit generous.  There are films about mysterious killers, but they eventually build up to some reveal.  Some of those films that I didn't like- e.c. Sweet Sixteen- have some explanation.  Granted- it's not a great explanation, but there is one.  This film doesn't ever explain what the killer's motivations are, who he is, etc.  There is one good film that did that- Final Exam.  It works as a contrast to the 'Character Slasher' Films like Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street.  In that film, the killer is just this crazy guy who kills people.  I give that one a pass because it's made competently and has good characters for me to be interested in.  This film is not and doesn't have any good characters.  It is so inept that it would something that you should show in Film School Classes.  You should make up-and-coming Directors watch this to see how you should not put a film together.  What do you think, Cameron Mitchell?
Next up, a 2009 film that finally got a DVD release here in America.  I'm years behind Europe, so let me get right to it!  Stay tuned...

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