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Comes Blowin’ In From Across The Sea
If you are one of those people who watch every horror film that you can get access to, every once in a while you watch a film that leaves you shaking your head. And I’m not talking about those films with so many twists and turns that you spend the next hour trying to piece it all together. Nor am I talking about the ones so pathetic that you question where that 90 minutes of your life went. No, I’m talking about those movies with gaps in reason so large that thinking about them has caused an aneurysm and you now require immediate medical treatment.
In this case, I’m talking about Demon Wind.
Generally regarded as an Evil Dead clone, Demon Wind is so much more. Actually, it’s a Hell of a lot less. And really, no one is “regarding” this one.
The film opens in 1931 on an isolated farm in the middle of nowhere. I’m not sure where this is in relation to the other nowheres in which most of these films take place. A human body is ablaze as it hangs crucified in the front yard. Another corpse is spread across the walkway to the house. Inside of the house, the camera pans across walls covered in crosses and non-velvet based paintings of Jesus. A song plays, extolling the virtues of “washing in the soul-cleansing blood of the lamb”. No, thanks. I’ll just stick with soap.
A woman inside the house is attempting to barricade the door against the wind that is whipping outside. Voices can be heard on the wind, voices that aren’t quite human. She turns from the door to see her husband, the man looking almost hypnotized. She asks him if he has brought her daggers. He answers her by puking some ready-whipped topping on her. She backs away from him as boils start to grow on his hands and face. His chest bulges and he starts to grow fangs. As he closes in on her, she grabs a snow globe from a nearby counter, which soon falls to the ground. As it shatters, the whole damn house explodes. Rosebud. Muthafuckin’ Rosebud.
The film then shifts to “present day”. A young couple are driving down a long, lonely country road. As there are no lights, power lines, street signs, or even an actual road, I’m just going to assume that this was filmed on private property somewhere. That’s not really important information and I’ve wasted your time by telling you..
The guy is Cory, the grandson of the couple from the opening. Cory was recently reunited with his estranged father. Dad vanished some years earlier while trying to determine just what happened to his parents all those years prior. Days after their reunion, Dad slit his wrists and died. Since their meeting, Cory has been hearing a voice in his head telling him to go to the farm. Cory’s girlfriend, Elaine, has come with him.
They stop a small gas station with diner, one that has no reason to be where it is. Cory says that he’s been here in a dream. We then see his dream, which involves him standing naked while holding a large book. In his dream, his dead grandmother welcomes him home and then laughs. I’ve been naked in plenty of my dreams, but I’m almost certain none of them involved my grandmother. That said, most of my naked dreams did involve someone laughing. Moving on.
They ask the obligatory creepy attendant (see our last review for more on that) how to get to the farm, but he sternly tells them that it does not exist before walking off. Not content with that answer, the couple enter the diner to ask for directions. The waitress is of no help. She too is just around to be predictably odd.
The first couple in what will soon become a caravan of their friends pull up outside. This is Dell and his new girlfriend, Terri. Dell is a former boyfriend of Elaine’s, a point that is quickly established when he over-enthusiastically kisses her on the lips as he enters the diner. Cory doesn’t seem to be very bothered by this. In fact, he even does some “white guy secret handshake” with him afterwards. I can almost imagine Cory giving Dell a high-five if he ever caught him boning his girlfriend.
Another couple, Jack & Bonnie, arrive shortly after. After Elaine spends a moment implying to the room that Dell is hung like a Tic-Tac, Cory explains why he has brought them all here. It seems that Cory’s grandparents “disappeared” just days after his father was born. Dad was still at the hospital at this time. Most new parents just leave their babies there for weeks at a time. Now that his father is gone, Cory is determined to solve the mystery.
2 more friends, Chuck and Stacy (the “Robin” to Chuck’s “Batman”), arrive on the scene. Chuck is dressed like a magician, complete with wand and cape. Chuck is also Terri’s ex-boyfriend, so his arrival is not a welcome sight for Dell. It’s okay for Dell to tongue up on other people’s girlfriends, but don’t you look at his. He even throws a beer can at Chuck when he arrives, but Chuck swats that shit into the air with his wand like he was Mandrake. Ok, so I don’t know if that was something Mandrake the Magician ever did. I highly doubt that he knew karate. However, Chuck does. He proceeds to unleash a series of spinning roundhouse kicks and launches the can back at Dell, hitting him in the forehead. At what point in time did I start watching Pieces?
After more warnings from the old man at the gas station, the group head out to the farm anyway. Well, of course they do. We wouldn’t have a movie if they didn’t. They eventually arrive at the farm, or the few scattered piece that remain of it. The house is now nothing more than the door with part of the frame still standing around it. However, when they open the door, the interior still exists, presumably in some other plane of existence. I’m not knowledgeable in theoretics, so don’t ask me how this works.
Cory is ready to charge right in, but Elaine calmly tells him to wait. The laws of time and physics are being bent right before your eyes, Cory. Take your time. Smoke a cigarette first. Or puff on your vaporizer, if that’s your thing.
They all calmly enter the house. You know, the one that kinda doesn’t exist. There is no sense of unease when they find the long decayed remains of Cory’s grandmother. They are composed when they find some words scrawled on the wall in what could easily be blood. Bonnie effortlessly reads them aloud, without a single stutter or mispronunciation. And this is what stands out most about Demon Wind. This kind of shit does not happen every day, but yet the characters never seem to express much surprise at the events happening around them.
The reading of these words literally causes all Hell to break loose. Chairs start flying across the room. Flames shoot from the fireplace. The freshly cooked chicken on the dinner table explodes. An exploding chicken; a “high point” for this film. And who the hell cooked that chicken if everyone here has been dead for 60 years?
The characters are all readily prepared for such circumstances. Jack just happens to know that the words written on the farmhouse wall were Latin for “Now Satan shall walk”. Why he chose not to divulge this information is a separate mystery. Chuck and Stacy, just happen to have a mini arsenal in their car. So much for relying on the power of prestidigitation. And Bonnie conveniently happens to know that the source of the evil is located in the ruins of the barn. She asks Jack not to bury her here if she dies. Seems like an odd request. My request would be more along the lines of, “Hey, don’t let me die!!!”.
They attempt to make an escape by walking back to the gas station. They are stopped by a heavy fog that has inexplicably appeared. The fog passes them by. As it passes, they speak of feeling an evil presence coming from the fog. The fog obviously hears them and turns around. Don’t be talkin’ shit bout no fog! After the fog clears this time, they find themselves back at the farmhouse. As expected, no one seems overly surprised by their recent teleportation.
They are met by 3 young girls. One of them grabs Bonnie and they vanish, leaving being a bloodied doll that is attired in clothing like those she was wearing. The doll then bursts into flames, a sure sign of a potential product recall. Jack manages to look only mildly disappointed by this development.
Trapped by the oh-so-menacing fog outside, the remaining members of this posse decide to take their chances spending the night in the house. They immediately set to cleaning the place up because, hey, if you are going to spend the night in some Satanic stomping ground, there’s no reason the place can’t be tidy. While searching what was once his grandparent’s bedroom, Cory finds and old, tattered book of spells and incantations. In the book, his grandmother has written about a set of daggers that can be used to kill the son of Satan. Cory finds those daggers in the room soon after.
As expected, the demonic forces start picking off the friends one by one. When the numbers start to drop, another couple arrives to pad them out. These 2 add nothing of real importance to the story, but it’s worth noting that the boyfriend in this couple is played by Fred Olen Ray regular, Richard Gabai (Dinosaur Island, Assault of the Party Nerds).
The film continues on in this fashion until finally careening headfirst into total absurdity during the final act. Along the way, the viewer is barraged with blazing guns, demons exploding in geysers of blood and ooze, multiple scenes of the female characters being felt up, brain puncturing, cow skulls with a taste for face meat, topless she-demons, more kung-fu fury, throat munching, and even a false dream sequence or two. What the viewer never experiences is dialog that seems natural. Sorry, but people just don’t talk like this.
Sure, there are glaring similarities to the Evil Dead films. However, there are certain touches that also bring to mind both Night of the Living Dead and Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight, the biggest difference being that those movies were actually “good”. Demon Wind, unfortunately, is just too buried its own deluge of ludicrousness to ever be more than a passing folly. Possibly worth watching once, but not incredibly memorable. At least, not for the right reasons.
One factor that may have helped Demon Wind get noticed in the first place was the lenticular cover that graced the VHS release. While VHS cover art is cherished today by longtime horror fans and collectors, there really weren’t all that many releases that featured box art gimmicks such as this one. Due to technological limitations, I am unable to present an accurate depiction of just what that cover looked like in action. Kinda makes this last paragraph fairly redundant, huh?
WARNING!!! The trailer contains significant spoilers. Do NOT watch if you have any interest in watching this film.