Thursday, April 18, 2013

In short: The Summoned (1992)

aka The Demon Lover

Jenny Harris (Ashlie Rhey) has a rather difficult time with the men in her life: her husband is an abusive jerk who cheats on her, and her boss is a rude ass. Her new neighbour Rebecca (Gwen Somers) proposes that finding herself a fantasy lover is the way to solve her problems. A little séance later, and Jenny does in fact have her very own dream lover (Sean Morrow). Despite him being a beer-bellied guy with a creepy face, he seems rather irresistible and at first improves Jenny's mood quite a bit.

What our heroine doesn't suspect is that her dream lover is in fact an incubus, and while his tendency to magically rough up her husband a little when he's particularly nasty to her is rather great, he also just loves to go out and murder any women Jenny has negative thoughts towards, be it her husband's lover, or her best friend. It's all enough for a girl to romantically re-orient herself towards the cop husband of the murdered girlfriend of one's husband.

Mike Tristano's The Summoned is just the kind of low grade would-be softcore porn horror crap a doctor would prescribe against insomnia. It's got all the hallmarks of a movie primarily made to show its presumed horny audience a few breasts and a bit of dry-humping, with the plot and the horror parts only there to give the film a slight appearance of being more complex than a Playboy photo spread.

Even with a film made in the pre-Internet era, there's the question who it was made for. I'd rather imagine an audience looking for porn would, you know, rather prefer to watch an actual porn movie. Yet even if you were looking for softcore porn, you'd probably rather watch a film that puts a slight bit of imagination into its sex scenes, which The Summoned clearly doesn't.

If you're lucky, this kind of shot-on-video concoction can still provide some joy by way of weirdness, personality or just plain wrongness. Unfortunately, this isn't The Summoned's forte either. Sure, the plot is dumb, the narrative structure slow and boring, the acting amateurish and full of dubious line deliveries and awkward pauses, the special effects crap, the cameos by Robert Z'Dar and Michelle Bauer short and useless, but nothing here has any actual personality. It's just bad in a bored and boring, characterless way that entices fingers towards the fast-forward button and lulls minds to sleep. You might as well just watch a reality TV show.

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