Sunday, August 5, 2018

Demon Double Feature




Hey, there, dear readers, it’s that time again! And this time, I’ve got a double feature for you! We are keeping it rolling with the Demonathon! So, let’s do this.




Don’t Kill It

When I was a little girl, I used to walk up to the video store during the summer and pick out the dollar rentals, which were mostly bad movies from the eighties. Now, out of those wonderful movies, I found some gems, like The Evil Dead Series and Night of the Comet. But I loved the bad movies just a little more than the good ones sometimes because when a horror movie is bad, it’s really over the top bad.

And, yoooooo, this movie was so bad. I mean, gloriously, bad. Like not quite Room, bad, but like eighties level, Gene-Simmons-in-drag-in-a-movie-with-Vanity-and-Jesse-from-Full-House kind of bad.





I loved it, so much.

So.

Don’t Kill it starring Kristina Klebe, Tony Bentley, James Chalke, and Dolph Lundgren as the town Demon Hunter with an accent that I think is supposed to be southern, but sounds more like a Swedish Elvis. It was weird.



Okay, so the movie opens with a hunter whose dog as found a strange looking Faberge Egg looking container. When the hunter finds the container and the dog, the dog attacks him and he’s forced to shoot the dog. Shortly thereafter, he goes home and shoots and kills his family. Then goes to the neighbor’s house and starts to kill people there, but he’s stopped when the man of the house shoots him. From there, THAT man shoots his daughter the remaining survivor.



Enter Jebediah Woodley(Lundgren), a grizzled old Demon Hunter who just blew into town to hunt him some demons. After taking in some of the local color, he makes his way to the police station where FBI Agent Evelyn Pierce(Klebe) has just come back to her hometown to investigate the murders of a bunch of unrelated people.



As she’s talking to the local sheriff in the little town, Chief Dunham (Bentley), Woodley bursts in. Dunham promptly tells him to leave and has a couple of officers escort him out, but Agent Pierce wants to hear what he has to say soooo, he does what anyone would do. Tell them he’s a demon hunter and they’re dealing with a demon.



As he’s been dragged away by the most inept of police officers, he starts a 30-second monologue, I guess, in an effort for her to help him. It just ends up looking like an interpretive dance performance art thing. Needless to say, they throw his crazy behind in jail.

Agent Pierce goes to talk to him in the jail to find out what he knows. She pretty much thinks he’s a crazy person and dismisses him, but not before he tells her to ask the survivors about the killer’s eyes. She goes and talks to the survivor of the last family to be murdered and she tells her that the father from the second house burst into their house and started shooting people. Her husband kills the second guy, then kills his son and tries to kill her and his eyes were so blaaaaccckkk.

This leads Agent Pierce to talk to Woodley with the Chief. They sit down in a diner Woodley tells them that the demon doing this likes to jump from person to person after the person has been killed, but not before going through a montage of different types a demon.



I know, you think I used that word – monologue -- incorrectly. I didn’t. There’s a literal montage of supposed demon encounters as he talks.

In addition to the montage, he also tells them – in the form of a flashback – of the last time he dealt with this particular type of demon, he was a kid. His father caught the demon, then killed it, but not before poisoning himself so that the demon had nowhere to go. Then he put him in a bottle.

Hmm…that sounds kind of familiar. Where have I seen that particular plot device?



*cough* 1998 *cough**cough* Fallen*cough*

So, they decide to track the last guy that they knew was killing people. Apparently, the last guy (the one that tried to kill his wife) was shot by a couple of rednecks. They ambush the one that took credit for it and very quickly find out that not only was the actual guy who did the shooting not him but that he’s really drunk.

All right, so, moving on. They find the guy in the woods, guy attacks Agent Pierce. He pins her to the ground and gets all googly eyed with her…


And she gets all googly eyed with him...



Just as Woodley appears to save her, the guy shoots him and runs off into the night. The two of them stand there like: “Gee, that sucked. Better just find a hotel rather than follow the guy. I mean, it’s not like he’s going to kill someone else.”

So, they do. Woodley digs out the bullet in his arm with Pierce’s help and despite the fact that she didn’t like Woodley at all a scene ago, they get all cozy and flirty. Pierce turns off the heat, because, you know, she’s not that kind of girl and asks him to turn around as she gets undressed for bed. He does and sees that she has suspicious looking marks on her back. Woodley freaks out…as much as a grizzled old demon hunter can freak out and promptly leaves.



He goes to a payphone and calls…some guy and asks him to check her family tree. Now, who the guy is, I don’t know. I’m pretty sure I zoned out somewhere in there for that point of reference. Aaaaannyway, he looks up to see Agent Pierce wandering around outside. He goes to her and she asks what’s going on. He tells her that she has the birthmark of a divine being and that whatever she does, she cannot kill the demon because…something something portal to another dimension, etc, etc.




Okay, so, they decide to go back to town and have a town hall meeting, which, Oh, my word is so wonderfully terrible. It kind of goes like this:

Chief Dunham: So…those murders around town? Well, we got demons, people.

Town: Whaaaaattt??? You’re full of it! We’re going to kill you!

Chief Dunham: Wait! I mean, Wait--!

(Jebediah Woodley steps in)

Jebediah Woodley: Everybody calm down. What he meant to say is that there is one demon killing a bunch of people. You’re all pretty much screwed.

Town: What in the actual hell! Get the torches and pitchforks!


I’m pretty sure that’s actually from the script.

So, while people are getting increasingly upset by the idea that demons are coming to kill them…a demon comes in and starts to kill them. In fact, it’s the same guy that they let run off into the night only three scenes ago.



The next few minutes is just a display of demonic musical chairs as the demon kills a few people, is killed, then that person kills a few more people, then someone kills the demon…so on and so on.

The carnage spills out into the streets and they lose whoever the last killer was. Meanwhile, the demon, now walking around in the bodies of one of the townspeople goes to a house where two little girls have been left alone (because, you know, town meeting and all). You can probably guess what happens next.




Yeah, one of the little girls shoots the killer and thusly, is now the demon.

Meanwhile, Agent Pierce and Jebediah Woodley get a call that some guy’s daughter has gone crazy. They rush right over and quickly find out that the little girl is a demon and locked in the basement. Jebediah tells the father, “Well, there’s only one thing to do. Poison yourself, shoot the girl, and I’ll capture it.” He agrees to do it.

Well, not quite just like that, but pretty close. Woodley makes him a poisoned drink, gets him ready to go kill his daughter. Just before he goes to do it, the FBI busts in and stops him. The poison kicks in and dad dies. FBI agents arrest Woodley and say: “We’ll handle this now."



Guess what happens next?



Yeah, they don’t handle it. The demon, now in the body of a child starts murdering FBI agents left and right. Agent Pierce hijacks a police car and she and Woodley drive away with an agent who came stumbling out of the house as a hostage.

K. Are you keeping up so far? No? It’s okay. It’s almost over.

So, they get to the woods and try to get the FBI agent to tell them who was the last person to kill the little girl. The agent tells them but says that he’s wounded. A few seconds later, the guy shows up aaaannd the FBI agent shoots him. And now, he’s the demon.



So.

So.

Woodley snags him with his handy net gun and hangs him from a tree. He, then, turns to Agent Pierce and says; “I’m gonna poison myself and then kill the guy. It’s the only way.”



Then he kisses her dramatically and this looks like the end. But then, the local preacher and his parish show up and say; “Free this man!”



They have guns so Woodley is forced to free the demon who promptly starts killing people. Agent Pierce has no choice but to shoot the demon. The demon takes over her body and then she starts floating and the winds pick up and the storms come and it looks like the end of the world. But then, she explodes and all is right with the world.



The End.

No, really. She just explodes all over the place leaving Woodley to capture the demon soul and throw it in the ocean to be found again one day.

Yup.

There are so many things happening in this movie, Jebediah smokes from a giant vape thing, monologues at the drop of a hat while Agent Pierce has the continuous look of someone who can’t understand how she’s in this movie in the first place.

Moving on.



The next movie is Dagon starring Ezra Gooden, Francisco Rabal, Raquel Merono, Macarena Gomez, Brigit Bofarull, and Brendan Price.

So, this movie is based on the H.P. Lovecraft novella “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” and, fun fact had been in various stages of production for about fifteen years. For what it’s worth, it’s a pretty good film.

The story starts with nerdy businessman Paul(Gooden) who’s on vacation with his hot Spanish girlfriend, Barbara(Merono), are on a boat with their rich friends Howard (Price) and Vicki (Bofarull)when they get into an argument because he works too much. And then, a storm rolls in. The storm tosses them into a large rock and Vicki becomes trapped. Barbara and Paul take a boat to the town by the shore.



They don’t find anyone there at first but are drawn to the sound of singing from a church somewhere in town. The enter the church, only to find it’s empty except for one priest. Barbara tells him that they need help because the storm shipwrecked them off the coast. He follows them out to the docks to show him and he tells them that it will be impossible to reach them because of the storm.



I’m gonna take a bit of a pause here to note that much of this part – as well as several parts of this movie -- is entirely in Spanish. I didn’t have too much trouble because I happen to speak a bit of it, but not to worry. It’s pretty easy to discern what everybody’s talking about without a translation. You’ll pretty much get the picture.

Anyway, the priest says there are no police in town and someone will have to stay behind to get help. Barbara volunteers and Paul agrees to take a boat back with some local fishermen.



The priest tells Barbara to go to the local hotel to call the police. She does and asks the guy at the desk if she can call the police. He gives her the blank stare.



She gets frustrated when he doesn’t respond and goes to reach for the phone. It’s at that point, she’s attacked by the man and the priest and presumably kidnapped.

Paul, in the meantime, has reached the boat only to find his friends are gone. When he comes back to shore, he finds that Barbara is gone too. The priest tells him to go to the hotel and wait for her. He does. In the hotel, he finds his room is filthy, but he finds a way to try to get some sleep. In the middle of the night, he thinks he sees Barbara, only to find it’s a mystery woman that he’s been dreaming about his whole life.



He wakes up and the looks out of the window to find that there are people in towns meandering in the streets. When they see him, they decide that he needs to die. He spends the next bunch of minutes running from mobs of zombie people until he runs into an old man named Ezequiel (Rabal) who tells him why everybody’s all deformed and crazy.



See, the story goes that a local sailor comes into town and convinces the townspeople that they need to stop worshiping God and start worshipping the god Dagon instead. If they do this, they will get lots of gold and fish. They do it and get lots of food and fish. The payment, as it turns out, is that everyone is slowly turned into sea creatures…with tentacles and such.

OoOOoooh-kay. Ezequiel agrees to help our hero to escape. They make it to a big house where there is a car out front. Ezequiel distracts the people and while Paul tries to hotwire the car. He fails because does who said he knew how to hotwire a car in the first place?

He runs into the house and hides in a room where he finds the woman from his dreams sleeping. She awakes and tells him that they belong together because, you know, he’s been dreaming of her. He makes out with her and in the process pulls the covers back to find that she’s half octopus.



There’s a tentacle sex joke in there somewhere, but I’ll move on.



So, he escapes and gets to the car he tried to hotwire, only to find it works now. He drives the car through hordes of the villagers, only to crash the car. He’s, then, captured and thrown in a barn where he finds Barbara, Vicki, and Ezequiel. Vicki is all messed up. Her legs are jacked up and she says that Dagon is now inside her. When Paul asked for an explanation, Ezequiel tells him that Dagon had sex with her.



So, when they come for them Paul jumps them and makes his way out. Surrounded by angry villagers, he and Ezequiel fight some of them off before they are completely surrounded, and all appears to be lost. Vicki kills herself out of desperation and the remaining three of them are dragged away.

Paul and Ezequiel find themselves locked in a torture chamber. The Priest and his minions then focus on Ezequiel and…well…peel his face off.



I believe the technical term for it is flaying, but that’s basically what happens. They’re just about to start in on Paul when Uxia (Gomez), Paul’s dream girl wheels in and tells them they’re not allowed to kill him. She makes them go away so she can talk to him alone. Once alone, Uxia tells Paul that his life was spared because they were meant to be together.



Paul, who doesn’t really have the program yet, tells her to free his girl Barbara and he’ll be whatever she wants him to be. She tells him “Yeah, no. We need a sacrifice for Dagon and she’s gotta be it. Sorry!”

She leaves and the men return and free him. Paul promptly goes Rambo on them and kills them all. Then he leaves in search of Barbara.


Barbara, by the way, is in the middle of the whole sacrifice ritual. She gets chained up and hung over a big pit where the giant tentacle monster waits for her (insert tentacle porn joke here). Just as she’s being lowered into the pit, Paul appears and pours gasoline on everyone and sets them on fire. As pandemonium ensues, he pulls Barbara up from the pit, but it’s too late. Dagon the tentacle monster reaches up and…well…



Yeah, poor Barbara.

So, Uxia crawls over to him and tells him that things don’t have to be this way and all. Her father appears and Uxia is all “Dad, you remember Pablo…right?”



Uxia’s dad is like; “Son!” and Paul is like: “What?” and Uxia’s dad is like:



So, Paul does the reasonable thing. He douses himself with gasoline and sets himself on fire. Uxia, distraught, grabs him and they fall into the pit and into the ocean…where she wakes him up and the two of them swim into the abyss forever.



Kind of a warm and fuzzy ending…kind of.

So, what do I give both these movies? Clearly, they’re both getting jewels. Don’t Kill It, just because its awfulness actually surpassed into greatness and that is a feat worth rewarding and Dagon just because it’s a pretty good horror movie.



Also! I have to give a shout out to a newer movie that’s not listed as a horror movie, but you guys need to check out. Annihilation starring Natalie Portman and Jennifer Jason Leigh. I’m not gonna review it because they say it’s technically not horror, but if you love horror like I love horror, then you’re gonna want to check this one out.



Okay, so, anyway, taking a break from the Demonathon next week with The Collector. Funny story. I thought I saw this movie, but as it turns out, I saw the sequel. The covers and titles are really similar and…well, I’ll go into it next week.

--O~
    *

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Want Some Demon Candy, Little Girl?



Hey guys. Remember Amityville way back when and how scary that movie was? Remember when they remade it with Ryan Reynolds and how much that sucked? Yeah, well, The Devil’s Candy was nothing like that.

Let’s get right into it.




2015’s The Devil’s Candy starring Ethan Embry, Shiri Appleby, Kiara Glasco, and Pruitt Taylor Vince. The story begins with Raymond Smilie (Taylor Vince), a middle-aged mentally ill man who starts hearing voices. One night, he decides to play his electric guitar to stop the voices, which would be fine if it weren’t in the dead of night. His mother gets angry with him and threatens to send him back to the nuthouse. Raymond loses it and pushes his mother down the stairs.



Fast forward to sometime later, we meet the Hellmans. (Heh, HELLman. I see what you did there). Jesse Hellman(Embry) is a starving artist and metalhead who has to paint butterflies for all the straight-laced people in the world to feed himself and his family. Apparently, that’s been working out because The Hellmans are able to buy a new house!



By the way, Embry as Jesse Hellman looks really dirty all through this movie. Like, he looks like a dirty Matthew McConaughey in almost every scene. About halfway through this one, I was getting kind of desperate for him to take a really good shower with soap. I mean, I was starting to think I could smell him through my screen.




Anyway, Yay, new house! So, Jesse, his wife Astrid(Appleby) and his daughter and fellow metalhead daughter Zooey(Glasco) move into a beautiful house that they clearly cannot afford because we already established earlier that Jesse is a starving artist. The real estate agent…who apparently doubles as a cow rancher…warns them that the previous owner killed himself after his wife fell down the stairs.

Everything’s going okay until Jesse starts hearing voices. The voices lead him to start painting…and painting…and painting until he’s painted the day away. The end result?




Which is great..except he doesn’t remember painting the picture. Nonetheless, Jesse sees this as a boon and takes the painting to an art dealer who previously rejected him. The secretary tells him, “Meh, I guess we’ll look at it. Whatever.”



So, okay, everything’s everything until Ray shows up at their house all shaky-eyed and crazy looking. Zooey answers the door and they stare at each other for a minute. Ray notices the fake tattoo on her arm of a guitar and tells her he has one, which makes Zooey go all; “Oh, my God! I totally wanted one of those, too! I can’t believe you’ve got a Flying V! Awesome!”



While this weird conversation is going on, Jesse comes to the door and asks what he wants. Ray says something to the effect of: “I need to come home to my mommy and daddy.” Jesse realizes that this must be the poor sap whose parents died in the house before them. He tells him that he’s sorry for his loss, but he needs to roll out because this isn’t his house anymore. He closes the door and Ray starts ringing the doorbell over and over again. He yells through the door that he’s going to call the police and Ray leaves finally.

And then, Zooey goes all “Way to go, Dad! We’re supposed to be NICE to people! Remember??” Jesse’s wife, who also witnessed the exchange is in full agreement.

Yeah, so, yeah. This guy here, Zooey said that about.



Let me step back for a moment to impart a little parental advice. When somebody who looks like this guy shows up at your door and creepily asks for his mommy and daddy and your 12-13 doesn’t know enough to know enough to be scared, you have failed as a parent. Lemme say that again. If your FEMALE child does not know stranger danger by the time they are a preteen, YOU HAVE FAILED AS A PARENT! Your child does not know to run from the bad guys that ACTUALLY LOOK AND BEHAVE LIKE BAD GUYS FOR GOD’S SAKE?! WHAT WERE YOU DOING IF YOU SKIPPED STRANGER DANGER DAY IN PARENTING 101?? IT’S THE FIRST FRICKIN’ THING YOU TEACH YOUR KIDS, RIGHT AFTER DON’T SWALLOW PENNIES! JESUS, MAN!


That being said, as this story goes on, it becomes very apparent that Jesse and Astrid do not make the best decisions as parents. The next morning, Creepy Ray leaves his guitar and amp outside for Zooey, who – because she has no concept of stranger danger – is excited that he left it for her. Jesse says no way can she keep the guitar because, well, he gives a reason, but as a parent myself, I wouldn’t feel the need to. “Because I said so, dammit! Now, get your ass in the house!” would probably have been my response, but, whatever.

So, we travel into bad parenting theatre at this point. Astrid is barely there. I don’t know that she does for a living, but it keeps her away from home until well after dark. In the meantime, Jesse is a painting up a storm. The beautiful butterfly picture he was making for the straights earlier he’s now compelled to paint over with disturbing images of suffering children…including a little kid who while playing in the park ends up being stalked and killed by Ray.



Jesse’s so immersed in his work that he forgets to pick up Zooey from school until way after dark…which, admittedly, is a pretty terrible thing to do. When he gets there, he apologizes and lets her keep the creep guitar to appease her.

So, that night, Zooey wakes up to find Ray in her bed. Zooey, now getting that long-missed lesson in stranger danger, starts screaming for help. Her mother comes into her room and starts screaming and everyone’s screaming and Ray makes a run for it, running over Jesse in the hallway as he leaves. Okay, so they call the cops, the cops say, “Meh, change the locks”.

Okay, so, Mr. Bigshot art dealer agrees to see Jesse’s new paintings, which is great. He seems the newest painting, which now has a big eyeball monster in it and his daughter on fire in the corner, and calls it genius. But the meeting is running long and he promised he would pick up his daughter from school.

So, Jesse goes to get his daughter, but he has a blowout on the road…and the whispers are getting louder. He tries calling his daughter, but no answer, so he hoofs it towards her school. By the time he gets there, she’s gone.




Where has she gone?



Yeah…Creepy Ray has kidnapped her. He tells her that he can no longer resist the voices he hears and now he has to give her to “Him” because children are…wait for it…"The Sweetest Candy”. Okay, so he leaves her to get ready to chop her up. Zooey manages to get untied and escapes through the bathroom window.

At the police station, Jesse’s consoling both Astrid and Zooey and the police are talking about getting them into witness protection because Ray is still out there somewhere (Yeah, I know that’s now how that works, but just go with it). The cops escort them home and they get ready to leave. Of course, Ray shows up, kills the cops and steal one of their guns and storms into the house, guns blazing.



All told, he manages to shoot Jesse and Astrid and set the house on fire while trapping himself and Zooey in her bedroom. While bleeding to death on the floor downstairs, Jesse realizes that his daughter burning in the painting that he did was happening now. He manages to get up, get his wife out of the house, then go back in and up the stairs to get his daughter.



And then an epic battle ensues between Ray and Jesse and for just a moment, Jesse is kicking some butt. Until Ray gets the jump on him, then advances towards Zooey through the flames like a big, fire golem. But wait! Dad comes out of nowhere and beats him to death with…wait for it…THE FRICKIN GUITAR!



So, Jesse, who has fully redeemed himself as a dad, grabs his daughter and the two of them escape the burning house. As they watch the burning house, Jesse realizes that Ray had been kidnapping and killing the children that Jesse painted in his picture…and he finds the suitcases their crammed in a few yards from the house.

Sooooo, yeah, Big Ole Jewel for this one. As disjointed Amityville ripoffs go, The Devil’s Candy was pretty awesome.


Okay, so, next week might be a double feature. Next on the list was "Dagon", but I’m not sure if I’ve seen it before. I might be mixing it up with another movie, so, we’ll see. Just in case, the next movie is “Don’t Kill It” with everyone’s favorite B-movie action star, Dolph Lundgren. And before you ask, yes, they are both demon movies, therefore continuing the Demonathon which is this blog lately.



--O~
    *