Friday, November 9, 2007

Demons 3: The Ogre

For a long time I thought this movie was actually a different one, due to its rather convoluted family tree. The first two demons movies, which I really liked, were written and produced by horror maestro Dario Argento and directed by Lamberto Bava. For some reason, however (I would guess due to a falling out between the two, though I admittedly have nothing but the films themselves to back this up with), they parted ways when it came to the third film, and Lamberto directed this one without any help from Dario. Dario, meanwhile, went on to write an produce another movie called Demons 3: The Church, with his protégé Michele Soavi. Both films came out within a year of each other, and given how much Soavi’s film resembled the earlier Demons films, I just foolishly assumed The Ogre and The Church were one and the same. Umberto Lenzi, never one to avoid jumping in on a piece of the action, made another Demons 3 called Black Demons a couple years later, which is also in this box set for handy comparisons sake. I can’t imagine where I could have gotten so confused.

At any rate, this really doesn’t have anything in common with its predecessors. While they both involved people getting transformed into a zombie-like plague of demons with pointy nails and lots of drooling and scariness (much like Demons 3: The Church did), this instead involves an American family that goes on vacation to a villa in the Italian countryside so the horror novelist mom can finish her latest book. Unfortunately, this villa appears to be haunted by an ogre (well, the title calls it an ogre, at least – it looks a good deal more like a man in a Seinfeld-ish puffy shirt and a monster mask bought at a local Halloween store) that lives in the basement and has been invading the wife’s dreams since she was a young girl. The movie spends most of its running time trying to leave things ambiguous as to whether or not the ogre is actually real, or if the wife is just crazy, so let me alleviate any of your concerns: yes, it is indeed real, but can also be made fake somehow. I wasn’t really clear on this, and the Nightmare On Elm Street-ish ending seems to actively try to obfuscate what actually happened.

This is a pretty poor movie, all told. Without Argento to help him out, Lamberto Bava really flounders here, making a dull, muddled mess of a film. Most of the movie is spent with the wife being shrill and hysterical as absolutely nothing happens, reminding me of nothing quite so much as the wife in Shock, another Lamberto turd. That’s 0 for 2 so far with this box set, and only one movie left to try. Not good.

Rating: *

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