Thursday, January 31, 2008

Soul of the Demon

Yeah, I knew it was a bit too much to ask for to hope that more than half the films on this disc would be decent. Still, with the one-two punch of The Cutting Room and Demon Sex, I can comfortably say that disc two of this collection has been roughly twice as good as disc one was, a trend I can only foolishly hope continues through the rest of the set. This one’s not so good though.

The movie’s a bit of a rarity in the set, as it is much older than most films in the set, coming at us from the distant reaches of 1991. Presumably this is to let us all know that production values could be slipshod and horrid back then too. Two dull children cut class to goof off by a river, and stumble across a statue of a gargoyle, whereupon a guy that looks like Freddy Kreuger dressed in black tells them that it’s evil and contains the soul of a demon within it, and so they should just rebury it right then and there. Naturally they don’t, but it doesn’t seem to matter for the plot’s purposes anyway. The kid who takes it’s older brother decides to host a Halloween party in an abandoned building, where he and his friends hold a séance to try to summon the demon of the statue, and even though the statue isn’t there with them, they still summon it, and the rest of the movie is basically it picking them off one by one like in a slasher movie. With some superficial changes, it’s the same plot as Night of the Demons, only with the subtle difference of Night of the Demons actually being kinda fun.

A large part of the problem is that the pacing is just tragically off. The movie’s only 78 minutes long, and yet the little boy doesn’t get possessed by the demon until the 42 minute mark, and the first death doesn’t occur until the 50 minute mark. Over half the movie is spent on boring us with fairly nonexistent buildup. There’s also the issue of the aforementioned production values. While there isn’t a real sound problem like there was with most of these movies, there is a bit of a problem with the lighting, and how they frequently seemed to have used nothing but candles and flashlights rather than actual lights to film the scenes with. What we get then, for most of the big scenes in the haunted house, is a series of dark, fuzzy figures moving about in a dark, fuzzy landscape and occasionally screaming. It really isn’t asking too much to be able to see the movie that I’m paying for, even if I’m only paying about fifty cents for it. Also, I don’t care if it’s writer-director-producer-cameraman Charles Lang’s favorite sport in the world, there was absolutely no need for that damned basketball game near the beginning. When your film is under 80 minutes and still needs that much padding added to it, you may want to consider punching up the plot a wee bit.

Still, this one may be really dull, but at least it’s not as blatantly rubbish as The Traveler and Terror at Baxter U were, so good on it for that. There was at least one really amusing death scene (involving a woman tied spreadeagle on a bed and getting sawed in half starting at her vajayjay) and one that just shamelessly ripped off the eye puncturing in Zombie, so it gets half a star just on the basis of them, and for an ending that just goes over the top silly. Still, it’s definitely not a movie you’d want to watch without lots of booze or likeminded friends among you to goof on it with. And now, lucky me, I'm blessedly free of this set for another week.

Rating: ½ *

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