Friday, September 23, 2011

Demon Wind (1990)

(I'm going to spoil the identity of the Son of Satan here, but don't let that stop you from reading further).

The mysterious suicide of his estranged father convinces Cory (Eric Larson) that there is some nasty secret in his family's past connected to the death of his grandparents their farm burnt down years ago. Cory's damn right with this idea too, as he soon enough learns when he, his girlfriend Elaine (Francine Lapensee) and a whole bunch of his friends drive out to the ruins of the old place.

The owner of the gas station quite close to the family farm tries to warn Cory off, but when has that ever worked in a horror movie?

Once arrived at the farm, the friends stumble upon various skeletons, and witness some pretty peculiar phenomena. The farm is a burned out husk from the outside, but once someone crosses the door, it's as if there were still four walls and a roof. Much to my surprise, the TARDIS effect and a minor poltergeist attack are quite enough to convince everyone there's enough wrong with the place that it looks like a good idea to them to just leave and never return. Alas, the friends' cars are all uncooperative now, and attempts to leave the place on foot only lead into a strange mist that teleports everyone right back to where they came from.

Then three creepy children with deep voices appear and turn one of the group's girls into a doll before taking off again to wherever it is  creepy children come from. Looks like it's time to barricade the farm/not-farm up and try to weather the coming demon attacks. Fortunately, Cory's grandma was a white witch and left her spell book and two of the seven daggers made to kill the Son of Satan lying around, so there's a certain degree of hope for survival even when things start getting really strange.

Charles Philip Moore's Demon Wind might sound and look like your typical Evil Dead/Demoni-influenced spam in a cabin movie, but it beats much of the competition in its chosen sub-genre by virtue of its natural weirdness. There aren't many movies loopy enough to introduce two of their demon fodder characters by letting them drive up in a coupe while doing silly stage magic, not in an attempt to, well, introduce the characters in question as stage magicians (which would make some kind of sense) but only to forget all about it for the rest of the movie. At least the film doesn't forget one of the guys also does kung fu, so it can later take the opportunity to let him kick a demon's head off. And if you think what you've just read doesn't make any sense, you haven't seen the rest of Demon Wind.

There's also Cory's sudden magical transformation into what looks like a minor alien from Star Trek (something to do with his witch powers - I think), the re-appearance of the gas station attendant dressed up like a priest sucking in the film's other demons - because he is the Son of Satan (really not to be confused with the Marvel comics hero), a spell book shooting cartoon lightning, a human skeleton with a bull's head and a very large and hungry tongue, and a demon-possessed dying and then flashing backwards through his normal grown-up appearance, regressing into a child and then a baby until he turns into a pigeon (nope, he's not one of the stage magicians who aren't), which, as the film informs us, is the shape of his soul. In the world of what-the-fuckery, Demon Wind must be at least a prince.

Needless to say, the film also features dialogue of exquisite bizarreness ("We thought you were dead", one of the characters says to two of his demonized friends, to be confused by an answering "You can't kill what's already dead", which surely is an interesting hint - that will turn out to be quite untrue - but really isn't an answer to anything anyone's saying or doing), strained bad acting, a random pair of boobies, sudden homosexual undertones, characters acting like complete idiots, sexism of the most bizarre sort, some very late 80s fashion and hair styles and no relations to reality as it is generally understood on my planet whatsoever.

It's pretty brilliant, really, especially because Moore somehow manages to not only throw an impressive amount of really weird shit at his audience, but also does manage to achieve moments of actual creepiness in between the moments of "what the hell am I watching here?". It's the best of both worlds.


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