Thursday, June 9, 2011

DEMONIA


1990, Lucio Fulci
Starring: Brett Halsey, Meg Register, Lino Salemme

One of Fulci’s last films, Demonia has never really been considered a must-see, but for the sake of completeness, I glued myself in front of the TV for the entire 85 minutes. Much like Manhattan Baby, I began watching the film under the “how could it possibly be bad?” premise. That, apparently, was the wrong angle. Again, like Manhattan Baby, Demonia's plot sounds interesting, but there is so-bad-it’s-horrible dialogue, little of the terrifying supernatural that is so effective in The Beyond and just not enough gore to go around. The film isn’t so terrible that it belongs in my Bottom Ten of All Time list (Nomdas, I'm looking at you) and I wouldn’t tell Fulci fans to absolutely steer away from it, but… go watch something from his Golden Age instead.

Demonia concerns a team of Canadian archaeologists who travel to Sicily to study some unspecified Ancient Greek thing. Liza, the young, sexy grad student, is taken with a creepy monastery that the locals wish she would stay away from. She, of course, refuses and instead discovers a walled-up crypt containing the still-crucified corpses of five nuns. So she does the sensible thing and breaks open the crypt with a sledge hammer, inviting the spirits of the tormented, Satanic nuns to haunt the town and possess her. Unexplained, semi-gory murders start happening, but who is to blame? The main archaeology professor? Liza? Ghost nuns? The local butcher?

A little bit typical Fulci, a little bit nunsploitation, and a little bit giallo, this should have been a good film. In fact, I didn’t just feel endlessly bored (Manhattan Baby), I felt cheated. With a different writer, a budget, some real actors, and a better score, this probably could have been a damn entertaining piece of trash. Instead, I find myself glad I rented it, so it doesn’t have to collect dust on my overcrowded shelves. If you decide, like me, that you need to see it just because you are a Fulci fan, it is widely available (even at Best Buy!) as a Shriek Show release. There are no worthwhile extras, but why would you need them?

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