RETRO REVIEW – Demonwarp (1988)

Welcome to the newest segment on Another Bloody Critic – a look back at some of the best, worst, biggest and most forgettable movies of years gone by. Every week, I will use this Random Movie Generator to pick a random film, watch it and review it. It could be anything, from the greatest classics to the campiest B-movie. But probably the campiest B-movie. Almost certainly, actually. I know my luck. Anyway, let’s get started.

demonwarp_1987_movie_poster

Man, the 80’s were a bloody weird time. I missed the entire 80’s, due to a quirk in the timing of my birth, but I’m pretty sure I missed a worldwide drug binge. Because nothing from this decade makes a lick of sense.

Exhibit A in this argument is Demonwarp, a straight to video B-grade horror film starring George Kennedy of Cool Hand Luke fame. It probably cost $3 to make, and it doesn’t have a single demon – though the amount of Bigfoots that show up is infinitely higher than one might expect.

The film is set in an unspecified woodland area of the United States, where a group of teenagers travel to stay in a cabin for a weekend, because no horror film is quite complete without a group of ill-prepared kids staying in the wilderness. Once they arrive, one of the teenagers (I think his name was Jack, but I’m not quite sure because most of the characters were interchangeable) reveals that he’s actually planned the trip to find out what happened to his uncle, who went missing in the area.

Over the course of the night and the next day, the teenagers and other visitors to the forest get caught and murdered by a creature that resembles the legendary Bigfoot, and Jack teams up with Bill, an old man who is keen to destroy Bigfoot after he killed his daughter. Over the course of the film they uncover a conspiracy that involves an insane priest, an alien invasion, human sacrifices and zombies. Because of course zombies show up. Zombies love to show up in every movie. They must have a very good union office in Los Angeles or something.

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“I’m sorry guys, we just can’t find a way to squeeze you into ‘Schindler’s List’. Just isn’t a part for you. It’s unusual, I know, but we’ll get you in the next film. I promise.”

Anyway, the cast is… woeful. Kennedy tries hard, but the rest are just there to read lines and grab a paycheck. You know, scream when you’re meant to scream, the usual stuff. It’s hardly inspiring. I’d call the young fellow who played Jack the poor man’s Bruce Campbell, as his character was clearly inspired by Campbell’s character in The Evil Dead franchise, Ash Williams. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, the character doesn’t live up to one of horror’s most iconic characters in any way, shape or form. The rest of the young cast seem to have been cast based purely on how good they look without any clothes on, because the amount of characters that get through the film fully clothed is basically limited to George Kennedy.

Bigfoot was equally as uninspiring, as it was a display of some of the worst practical effects you could see. I know it’s an older movie, and one made on a budget, but this was a guy in a rubber suit that was about the quality of the worst Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles properties. Not even the films, the quality of the TMNT concert videos or PSA commercials. It was that bad guys. The lower jaw of this thing just flopped around randomly. It would make Doctor Who blush. Like, the versions of Doctor Who that were airing at this time.

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Pictured: The groundbreaking practical effects of Doctor Who at this time.

With all of this, I really hated this movie for the first 2/3 of its runtime. But damn it all to hell if that last act, featuring aliens, zombies and God only knows what else (still no demons. Or warping) wasn’t entertaining as hell. It was pure mayhem, and it made less sense than an anatomy textbook written entirely in Klingon, but there was a lot happening as the film raked itself up to 11.

Still, I can’t say I liked this movie, even insofar as a “so bad it’s good” capacity because the set up was just hard to watch. A good 3rd act can save a film, it’s true, but the rest of the film still needs to offer SOMETHING.

1.9/5 – A pretty bad movie with a solidly dumb ending.

If you’d like to see Demonwarp, the entire film is apparently out of print but can be viewed on YouTube or purchased at a premium price by various eBay and Amazon sellers on VCR.

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