It'll blow you away!
Year of Release: 1990
Running Time: 98 minutes (1:38)
Director: Charles Philip Moore
Eric Larson ... Cory
Francine Lapensee ... Elaine
Jack Vogel ... Stacy
Stephen Quadros ... Chuck
Mark David Fritsche ... Jack
Sherry Leigh ... Bonnie
Bobby Johnston ... Dell
Lynn Clark ... Terri
Richard Gabai ... Willy
Mia M. Ruiz ... Reena
Rufus Norris ... Harcourt
C.D.J. Koko ... Grand Demon
Sixty years ago a peaceful farm was ripped apart by a Demon Wind. A gateway to Hell blew open. Now Cory must confront the curse and shut the door forever.
He arrives with two carloads of friends and the terror begins. They try to flee, but a mysterious fog keeps bringing them back. Reality blurs as hideous hallucinations turn murderous, and the ruthless supernatural power possesses the teenage victims one by one. Prepare to be blown away!
Demon Wind, remindin' all us guys that when you're faced with a choice between demon tits an normal tits, always remember - the demon jugs'll kill ya a whole lot quicker'n mercifully than the regular ones.
An speakin' of things that'll drain your bank account an claw your eyes out - a lotta people're sayin' it's my fault Deputy Mackle's in the hospital with career-threatenin' possum wounds, an that I oughta be run outta town on a Schwinn for harboring a dangerous animal without a permit, an for mowing obscene words into my front lawn to keep the Jehovah's Witnesses away. That's mostly bullhonky though, an ya know what really chars my cheeks is that not one person's asked to hear my side of it - I think it's got somethin' to do with that picture on the front page of the Chickawalka Talka showin' Shankles latched onto Mackle's mullet with the headline "Ungrateful Possum Mauls Deputy." I'll tell ya whose fault this is though: this whole deal has Skunky Hernandez written all over it. See, Skunky's always resented the way Mackle drives by his place givin' 'im the stink-eye every year when approximately 394 members of Skunky's extended family sneak across the border for the annual Hernandez family reunion, even though I know for a fact it's got nothin' to do with anybody's el race-o, an more to do with the fact that they all run around shirtless like wild soccer hooligans an fire illegal bottle rockets at Delbert Biddle's haystacks. I'm kinda torn on the issue myself, cause on the one hand Delbert's a Grade-A butthole, but on the other, some of these people look like a Wild Kingdom special on the territoriality of Alaskan Grizzly bears.
Anyhow, this whole mess started Wednesday mornin' when Ethel Bockwinkel happened to drive by the house an see Shankles nappin' upside down in the tree out front. That prolly *sounds* pretty mundane, but for those of you who've never met 'er - Ethel's approximately 219 years old an can't see past the crucifix hangin' from 'er rear view mirror, an apparently she got the idea that Shankles was a cat on the verge of plummeting to his death.
"Come quick! The poor dear's barely hangin' on by his tail!" she squalled to the dispatcher. So of course Mackle drives over to rescue the "cat" before Ethel falls over dead in the street an forces the entire block to take off time from work to come push 'er 16-ton 1934 Maybach Zeppelin off to the side of the road.
Don't take much excitement in a town this size to attract a crowd though, an that's about the point Skunky called me up at the Videodome to warn me: "Hey pendejo, Deputy Mackle about to climb tree to geet Shankles down," he told me, tryin' to hide his amusement.
"Huh? Why?!" I demanded, completely ignorin' Shirley Gimlin's attempt to get help locatin' our copy of The Money Pit.
"Blind old lady think he ees gato," he chuckled.
"Skunky, now listen carefully: DO NOT let that man anywhere near that tree, understand? You know how P.O.'d Shankles gets when he's roused before he's ready to be up an around. Mackle's liable to end up on the receivin' end of some deconstructive facial surgery," I illustrated as colorfully as possible to appeal to Skunky's few remainin' shreds of humanity.
"Fine, fine, I warn heem," only he hung up before I could say anything else, the big jackass.
"I'm sure Skunky can handle this," I says to Shirley, who by that point was gettin' a little snippy about sappy Shelley Long movies an had no idea what I was talkin' about.
"Isn't he the man who encourages wild men to roam around in his sage field and once released a rabid mutant packrat at the drive-in?" she asked, but I was too late gettin' home.
Passed the ambulance about halfway, an by the time I got there parents were coverin' the eyes of their bawlin' kids an headed for their vehicles, an that chunkhead Harvey Yoder from the Chickawalka Talka was hangin' around like a leech on the underside of an old fat guy's beer gut takin' witness statements.
"Damnit Skunky, you were supposed to warn him!" I hollered between kicks to Skunky's mid-section (he was rollin' around on the ground in hysterics at the time).
"I deed warn... I... AHAHAHA... *cough*... ugh, hmm, ask anybody! I say 'hey dumbass, eso no es un gato, y el te realizara una operacion de cambio de sexo si te acercas demasiado,' but he no leeson!"
"You know nobody here speaks Spanish you sun-dried potato! We barely speak English!" I snarled between attempts to kick 'im in the junk, but by that point Sadie Bonebreak'd been passin' by an stopped to calm Shankles down an was now holdin' me in the Full Nelson for Skunky's protection. Deputy Mackle never pressed charges, but the city fined me $120 to replace his shredded uniform an now there's a petition makin' the rounds tryin' to ban ownership of possums inside the city limits - cause ya know, it's *my* fault Ethel's neck has more rubber in it than the waters off the coast of Fort Lauderdale an can't mind 'er own prehistoric business. Skunky thought he was pretty goll dang funny right up until Friday night at the Grime Time when I popped a "coming attractions" compilation of Chesty Morgan flicks into the projector, locked the door to the booth, an pitched the key into the catfish pond. Tetnis eventually managed to break the door down an get the disc stopped, but not before a whole lotta irate mothers dragged a whole lotta sexually aroused fathers up to Skunky to demand a refund.
Anyway, what was I talkin' about before... oh right, Demon Wind: excellent Evil Dead clone starrin' a buncha 20-somethings that flunked outta the soap opera acting academy for not bein' able to hold that unblinking Percodan Stare of Eternity long enough to pass the final exam. Way better than the demon wind I'm accustomed to at the Gutter Bowl on Five Alarm Flatch-in-the-Pants chili night, that's for sure, but for those of you who're still on the fence about this one - take a quick gander at exhibits uno through three-o an I'm sure they'll give ya sufficient cause to hop down so's you can start workin' those picket divots outta your hinder. First, when you're livin' below the poverty line an a horde of podunk demon zombies put the whammy on your pickup, your odds of destroyin' the entire army of drool ghouls are still better than your chances of comin' up with the $150 for a new starter. Second, women have no respect for the amount of time and effort it takes to master the art of beer can kung fu. An third, if you think that nightmare where you're nekkid during finals week in high school's bad, wait'll you have the one where you're bare-assed at a gas station talkin' to your dead Gramma with no way to pay for your fuel.
The movie begins at a farmhouse in 1931 where somebody's crucified an charred Old MacDonald like one of them fries that never gets scooped outta the deep fryer bin til closin' time, an it's really no big mystery as to who dunnit cause in stark contrast to all the Jesus paraphernalia coverin' every available surface in the house, we got a decidedly un-Jesus-like equation of Satanic geometry chalked out on the floor. Then these evil asthmatic voices try bustin' their way into the livin' room while this gal with pool cues for arms holds 'em at bay with the full force of 'er 79lb frame, until some bumpkin walks in the front door an proceeds to burp up a pint of that apple dessert that comes in the Banquet TV dinners. After that he grows a face fulla devil acne an spews a mouth fulla tapioca puddin', but when he goes for the gal's gizzards she spikes this snowglobe fulla holy water onto the ground an the whole dang house explodes like a Massachusetts gas line. Next thing we're back in the present where this couple (Cory an Elaine) is drivin' through the barren wastelands of flyover country tryin' to locate Cory's grandparents' old homestead while some creepy ginger points a stick at 'em like she's tryin' to entice their car into a game of fetch. After awhile the kids pull up to a gas station an Cory starts flashin' back to a dream where he's standin' stark nekkid at the pump listenin' to his bloody, disfigured Gramma laughin' at his junk. I'm no expert on Freudian psychological diagnoses, but I believe the technical term for what Cory's suffering from is called Whackadoodle-dosis, which can lead to buyin' a shack in the Ozark Mountains an gettin' yourself lawfully hitched to a mannequin named Wanda if not properly treated. Then this old dude who looks like a Morlock raped an Oompa Loompa (Harcourt) steps outta the station an tells 'em the little house on yon prairie's done burnt down an that if they know what's good for 'em they'll take their douchey haircuts back to 'burbs an enroll in an Industrial Engineering course at ITT like God intended. Instead, they head into the cafe an order a coupla Cokes from this chick with more bead necklaces than a drunk sorority pledge at Mardi Gras an wait around for all their geek friends (Dell, Terri, Jack, an Bonnie).
Most of these kids are the kinda people who could only reach adulthood with a trust fund cause they're all dumber'n a gunny sack fulla doorknobs, but once they show up Cory explains that he needs their help figurin' out what happened to his grandparents cause not knowin's thrown up a permanent road block in his attempt to trace his ancestry on Genealogy.com. Meantime though, Harcourt's P.O.'d about all these third string Saved by the Bell understudies takin' up space in his cafe, so he runs 'em off with his Colt .45 an decides to tell Cory that he saw all the devilment that took place on his grandparents' property an how Cory really shouldn't go out there, but that if he *really* wants to alls he's gotta do is follow the dirt road another few miles past the six Starbucks drive-thrus an he'll eventually find it. Then these two dweebs (Stacy an Chuck) roll up in a Buick Skylark with Flight of the Valkyries blastin' outta the cassette deck an Dell (aka Smash Rockjaw) starts pitchin' beer cans at the one dressed like Dracula (I think that one's Chuck), forcin' 'im to unleash some serious Miller Lite Karate Kid fu an ninja kick the empty right square into Dell's Neanderthal brow. Brick Flexguns will not soon forget this disrespect, but Cory breaks 'em up an they putter on down the road until they come upon the remains of Stone Singe. Due to budgetary constraints the doorway works like the dimensional forks that lead to The Tall Man's planet, an so steppin' through the scary door that should lead to nowhere takes 'em to this alternative bumpkin universe where we never invented Rap music an Waylon Jennings is president (or maybe they're just back in 1931, I dunno). Then they read a buncha Latin writin' scrawled on the walls that's basically the equivalent of what Charlie Manson's goons woulda written if they'd murdered the Pope instead of Sharon Tate, an pretty quick the ground starts quakin' an the place turns into the house of flyin' steak knives, forcin' everyone to get their acid washed jeans outta there.
As if that ain't bad enough, while they were inside Satan musta gone an siphoned all their gas, an to make matters worse when they try hoofin' it back to the gas station for help this fog rolls in an carries 'em off like the Warp Whistle in Super Mario 3 til they wind up back at the house. Then a buncha little girls who dress like they just walked over from the Bonanza set beam down from the Starship Enterprise an explain in some detail just exactly how screwed everybody is before abductin' Bonnie back up to their ship to tinker with 'er DNA an find out why 'er face is so much longer'n everyone else's. Nobody seems to be all that shaken up about this, but it's gonna be dark soon so they pile into the house where Cory goes rootin' around in his Gramma's drawers an finds the Necrocomiccon in 'er night stand along with a coupla spooky daggers which, the book explains, are necessary for destroyin' the kinda concentrated evil you're likely to find in demons an Ed Sheeran. So Cory goes pawin' through the diary some more an it turns out his great-granddad was a Satan worshiper who got slow roasted by vigilante farmers before eventually cashin' in his chips at Hell's casino for another crack at rural domination back in 1931, with mixed results. Hours pass uneventfully until it looks like everything's gonna be okay, cept then this blonde with a rack that rates somewhere in the top 10 on the Boob and Crockett scale shows up outside while this knocker knockout gas floods the livin' room an puts everybody but Stacy an Chuck to sleep, an when they go outside to climb aboard the succubus the whole pasture fills up with zombie ranch hands an the both of 'em end up gettin' turned into devil's food cake. The next mornin' another carload of co-eds shows up (Reena an Willy) at the house an Cory tries to keep 'em from killin' the engine, only to end up with another dead vehicle stuck in the Boon-muda Triangle. Then Dell an Terri get a Tina Turner wig's worth of wild hair up their asses an decide to walk for help, but not too surprisingly the fog machine goes into overdrive an when they finally emerge from the gassy knoll Terri goes crud creature an jams 'er 9" lacquered fingernails into Dell's forehead an causes 'im to get this look on his face like a 10-year-old whose mama just told 'im he's gonna have a little sister.
Meanwhile, the rest of the occupants of the house that Scratch built decide to go fart around in the barn where they find the skeleton of the Jersey Devil tacked to the wall. Naturally, Reena starts fawnin' over it like a yuppy at an art sale until the bovine booger opens its hatch an fires its 12' demon tongue around 'er neck, pulls 'er in, an crunches 'er skull like a Geo Metro on the train tracks. Then zombie Stacy an Chuck drop in to hammer out a piece treaty but tensions end up flarin' an the legislation hasta be tabled when Reena the Gangreena gets a little overzealous an rips the head offa Dreamboat Willy. Cory's P.O.'d, so he pulls his fantasy dagger an plunges like the janitor after a Weight Watchers seminar but the victory's short-lived, cause next thing you know the zombies're layin' siege to the farmhouse an Jack goes rummagin' through the bedroom lookin' for who-knows-what until Bonnie appears outside in front of the backlit fog like Bonnie Tyler in the Total Eclipse of the Heart video an distracts 'im while a stealth ninja ghoul nibbles his paw. Meanwhile, it's gettin' so crowded in the livin' room that Satan's fire chief hasta drop by to write the director a citation for violatin' the maximum occupancy ordinance, an so Elaine goes to get Jack to help 'em make their final stand only to find Jack's switched teams on 'em, leavin' 'er no alternative but to jam the Jesus Avenger short sword directly into Jack's eyeball when he starts squeezin' 'er jugulars. Things're lookin' pretty goll-durn grim though, cause they're outta daggers, outta ammo, an surrounded by canned dog food-faced Elmer Fudd zombies, but just when it seems like all is lost, a voice comes callin' from outside the house tellin' all the hemogoblins to come on out an receive their rewards. As you might've guessed - it ain't Ed McMahon holdin' an oversized novelty check from Publisher's Clearing House, rather, it's old man Harcourt from the service station who promptly zaps all the demons back to purgatory an proceeds to turn into a Spam-faced fur monster while Elaine draws all the constellations of the Zodiac on the floor an reads Wiccan poetry until Cory sprinkles powdered sugar on a candle an turns into one of the Newcomers from Alien Nation. After that it starts gettin' kinda weird, so I think I'll just cut the summary here before any inadvertent spoilage occurs.
Alrighty, so essentially what we've got here is a mixture of Raimi's Evil Dead and Bava's Demons that, while entertaining, is best described as disappointing. It's not a bad movie, but it's disappointing in the sense that it's quirky and has some interesting things going for it, yet never coalesces into something greater than the sum of its parts. The worst part is that the things that weigh it down the most tend to be ones that aren't necessarily impacted by the budget, namely the writing and the acting. Honestly, for a half a million bucks in 1989 dollars, this flick comes across as pretty half-assed in terms of both its story and its acting, and those are areas where you don't need a lot of money to fix the problems. Fortunately, this goofiness kinda endears itself to the viewer on the fun scale, but they were so close to having a genuinely good flick on their hands that it's little consolation. One hasta wonder if the cold, nasty weather the cast and crew was constantly fighting throughout the 24-day shoot took its toll and eroded enthusiasm a little bit, as it feels like most of the cast is doing the bare minimum to get everything completed as quickly as possible, with little to no direction. It's really kinda baffling to watch the movie and see how heavily it borrows from The Evil Dead, while simultaneously managing to butt-fumble so many of its plot details - it's almost like they watched Evil Dead with the sound off and tried to copy it based strictly upon its visuals.
It's kinda tough to explain exactly what went wrong without going into greater detail, so let's carve this thing up into more manageable slices and see if we can't find the source of the rot. The plot is about as scant as possible and riddled both with holes and numerous incidences of questionable reasoning, the most egregious of which hasta be the revelation of who's controlling the demons. This is one of those plot twists that runs counter to everything that's happened in the movie up to that point based upon the notion that it's worth being completely senseless as it as long as people are surprised, but it even fails in that regard just by virtue of how few suspects they've laid out as possible perpetrators up to that point. In addition to this, you've got no less than seven characters who drop everything to help the protagonist solve his problem without ever being told what's going on until they've arrived in the middle of nowhere, not to mention the fact that said protagonist never knew his grandparents or even his father until a few days before the events of the movie, and just *has* to know what became of his kinfolk for no apparent reason. I mean, why does he care? I realize it's the cliche of all cliches, but seriously - what's his motivation for knowing this? Furthermore, why do we hafta spend several minutes detailing the past relationship between Chuck and Terri if nothing ever comes of it? Chuck gets dispatched by a topless demon porn star inside 10 minutes of his first appearance, so why does this matter? They even set up Dell to be a complete jackwagon, clearing the way for the separated couple to get back together, but nope - Terri goes demon and Chuck gets ground into his namesake in two completely separate scenes, so yeah, excellent use of running time there. Also, why the heck did they use a cow skull on the demon skeleton instead of a goat's? The goat has long been representative of the devil in artwork going back approximately three zillion years, so why the cow skull? And what the heck was the deal with the exploding snow globe in the prologue? Anybody gonna fill us in on what the heck went down there? I mean, it's a cool scene, no question, but what was that about? Oh, and who's the creepy ginger roamin' around the countryside pointin' sticks at passin' cars? I get that she's there at the end to keep the door open for a sequel, but it rings kinda hollow if you, ya know - never explain who she is. Other'n that, great screenwriting.
The acting is fairly pitiful from the entire "teen" cast, but it's interesting in that they're all exactly the same in terms of how green they are. It'd be dang near impossible to pick the best and worst performances because they're all slightly awkward and extremely dull, although I've certainly seen worse. Pair the acting woes with lines like: "I don't know what happened here, but you can sure tell Death walked through this place", and the entertainment value goes sky high, while the film's technical score goes straight down the toilet, and that's not even accounting for the snort-inducing cheesy bravado from half the male cast. The Evil Dead factor even influences the flick's acting where it includes hammy one-liners and inexplicable "nothing to lose" attitudes of certain cast members, unfortunately none of them have half the charm, wit, or general likeability of Bruce Campbell, and that just makes those scenes all the more painful. Credit where credit's due though - Rufus Norris is okay as the cranky Harcourt, but we're really talking about a situation where his adequacy is made to look as good as it is by the inadequacy of everyone else.
Here's who matters and why: Eric Larson (Uninvited 1988), Francine Lapensee (Hollywood's New Blood, Alien Private Eye), Jack Vogel (Zombie Wars, The P.A.C.K., Click: The Calendar Girl Killer, Cyber-Tracker 2, Hologram Man, Auntie Lee's Meat Pies, Shock 'Em Dead, Dr. Caligari), Sherry Leigh (Slaughterhouse), Bobby Johnson (Femalien, Hollywood's New Blood), Richard Gabai (Glass Trap, The Curse of the Komodo, Final Examination, Raptor, Sideshow, The Wasp Woman 1995, Droid Gunner, Dinosaur Island, Blood Nasty, Ghost Writer, After Midnight, Nightmare Sisters), Mia M. Ruiz (Witchcraft II), Stella Kastner (Darkroom), Tiffany Million (The Sleeping Car, Spirits), Mindy McEnnan (World Gone Wild), Joyce Lasley (The Puppet Masters, Star Trek 2009), Johnny Mask (Don't Look Up, Body Parts, The Dark Backward), Chuck Williams (John Dies at the End, Live Evil, Fistful of Brains, Slices, Trail of the Screaming Forehead, Monsterama: A Tribute to Horror Hosts, The Low Budget Time Machine, Dark Walker, Groom Lake, Bubba Ho-Tep, Horrorvision, Witchhouse II, Puppet Master 5, Soultaker), Philip Boyd (Night of the Demon), Elizabeth Ince (Darkroom).
The special effects are decent in general, and fairly ambitious for the flick's budget. You certainly can't accuse the production of spending money in stupid places, cause we've got about 30 individual crud-faced, snaggle-toothed, goo-spewin' demons from start to finish, and while they're not up to the standards of the ones from Demons, they certainly seem to share a kinship with them in terms of design. The head demon kinda looks like he passed out face first in a pan of Spam casserole, but all-in-all this is an area where the filmmakers should feel good about themselves. We've also got a well-crafted severed head, a nasty length of demon tongue, good consistency and color on all the blood, an excellent explosion, and a nice job by the stuntman in the fire suit. The lightning/electrical effects are cheesy and typical of the time, but I'd say the flick punches above its weight where it concerns the makeup effects. The shooting locations are another area where the flick scores some points, and although genre fans might have preferred a more traditional forest for this type of movie, they made the right choice with the less interesting but more appropriate farmland. The interior of the farmhouse is well-decorated with religious paraphernalia and has a genuine sense of authenticity to it, and the cafe and barn also check all the right boxes as well. I'm not clear on whether they were real locations or sets built specifically for the movie, but they all get the job done. Scoring the soundtrack isn't quite as simple as the film's other aspects, because it's difficult to tell exactly what the director was going for with regard to the movie's tone. Some of the characters are, without question, goofy by design - however I'm nowhere near convinced that the dialog is written as such intentionally, so it's difficult to gauge how much of the movie is supposed to be comedic and how much isn't. The reason that matters is because the soundtrack consists of a dark, foreboding synth score that's kinda catchy and effective *as long as no one's talking*. It's a good score that, in conjunction with the flick's excellent cinematography and good shooting locations, adds atmosphere and creates some tension, but at the same time comes across as really silly when the more ridiculous characters are on screen hamming it up. Basically what I'm trying to say is that it doesn't help the score as much as it probably should, because other parts of the movie don't take themselves as seriously as they should to match up with the tone of the music. Overall, I feel like the entertainment value here is high enough to buoy the subpar production values to a passing score - so just go into this one knowing that nothin's gonna make a lick of sense and you'll probably enjoy yourself.