Thursday, March 8, 2012

In short: Demonwarp (1988)

Deep inside the 80s, Jack (David Michael O'Neill) takes a bunch of his friends to the cabin of his uncle Clem located in the Deep Dark Woods for a bit of vacation time. Because he's afraid they won't accompany him, Jack fails to mention to them that Clem disappeared from the cabin one day, and Jack plans to find out what happened. Does the disappearance have something to do with the Bigfoot supposedly roaming the area?

Jack and friends find that out soon enough, for Bigfoot just leaves them enough time for a bit of gratuitous nudity and a bad practical joke before he attacks, and pretty effectively kills off half of the gang in short order. Fortunately, this is one of those lonely patches of wood that's as populated as a main street, so Biggie also has the opportunity to have his way with a random photographer, two city girls (also there to drive the boob quota up), and Bill Crafton (George Kennedy, slumming).

Bill has come to the woods to take revenge for the death of his daughter, who was killed and kidnapped by Biggie some time ago while she and Bill were playing Trivial Pursuit. Now, Bill has returned with bear traps, dynamite, and a big yellow hat he's wearing so that the monster can see him better.

But Bigfoot isn't the only thing roaming these woods. The living dead and a cultist preacher also make an appearance - and everyone's working for an alien that wants to phone home a bit more aggressively than is polite, misusing the lack of a zombie union and a preacher's love for human sacrifice for its nefarious plans.

Yes, Emmett Alston's Demonwarp is another one of those films trying to make up for a stupid script, low production values, and not very good acting with the holy trinity of crap horror movies: tits (four out of five actresses with speaking roles poke their breasts in the direction of the camera one time or another), gore (watch Biggie rip off a head, eviscerate a guy with a stick, and have other types of good clean fun for the whole family, if your family is like mine), and as many monsters as the budget can allow (there's Biggie, a bunch of zombies - some rubber-masked, some not, the alien). It may not be up to the standards of artistry and entertainment that give major film prizes to self-important exercises in nostalgia like The Artist, but Demonwarp sure is a film feeling at ease with what it is; and if that is only cheap exploitation, that doesn't matter.

What puts the film into the upper tier of its type of 80s horror - the unembarrassed type - is how strong and enthusiastic the power of awesome stupidity is in it. Just to take one example among many, Biggie the Bigfoot, it turns out, (SPOILER) isn't just any old ratty looking monster costume with a surprisingly expressive face, but in fact a were-bigfoot somehow created by the alien injecting (with the help of one of its scorpion stinger tentacle thingies, of course) alien goo into poor uncle Clem. This, brethren, is a film that isn't just gratuitous when it comes to female nudity.

One of the zombies is even wearing a Residents t-shirt, for Cthulhu's sake, and if that's not enough to recommend a movie, I don't know what is.


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