22nd Dec2015

‘Demonoid’ Blu-ray Review (Vinegar Syndrome)

by Mondo Squallido

Stars: Samantha Eggar, Stuart Whitman, Roy Jenson, Lew Saunders, Narciso Busquets, José Chávez, Haji, Erika Carlsson, Whitey Hughes, Al Jones, George Soviak, Ted White | Written by Alfredo Zacarías, David Lee Fein, F. Amos Powell | Directed by Alfredo Zacarías


Samantha Eggar (The Brood) stars as Jennifer Baines a woman who is visiting her wealthy industrialist husband Mark (Roy Jenson, Soylent Green) in the small city of Guanajuato, Mexico. Mark is currently planning to reopen a mine which is is rich in silver. Unfortunately for him, his workforce is comprised of superstitious locals who refuse to go deep in to the mine. To prove everything is fine, Jennifer suggests that the pair go deep down in to the mine, but they get more than what they bargained for; a severed hand. “The Devil’s Hand” to be precise. With their workforce even more terrified, things surely can’t get any worse can they? Yes. Yes indeed! It becomes infinitely (and fatally) worse! You see, the severed hand has the power to not only posses the left hand of its victim, but the person themselves. Eventually turning them in to a bloodthirsty, super strong killing machine. After Mark is taken over by the demonic force, he kills himself in the hopes of stopping the curse. With her husband dead, Jennifer travels back home to L.A where he is buried only to find he has risen from the grave and the demonic force is on the loose. With the help of Father Cunningham (Stuart Whitman, Night of the Lepus), the priest whose cemetery Mark was buried in, Jennifer begins her quest to conquer over evil and put an end to demonic forces once and for all. Let the obscene battle between good and evil begin!

First things first. What you just read was an abridged version of what happens in Demonoid. I’m not one of those reviewers who gives a play by play record of events because what’s the point if you know too much? With a film like this, you will thank for me for being somewhat vague. If you thought the basic plot for this film was absurd, just you wait until you actually watch the film. To say there are some obscene moments would be an understatement. Get ready for wonderful deaths, some absurd moments and twists that will do nothing but please. A film like this naturally has some wonderful acting on display and the script; penned by four separate writers, will have you balling. Yeah, this is a film that’s to be taken as seriously as a clowns’ funeral! How the heck the likes of Samantha Eggar got involved in a film like this is beyond me, but I am very thankful for it! Aesthetically, the film isn’t anything to shout about. It’s pretty much by the numbers in terms of cinematography, not one of Alex Phillips Jr’s (King Solomon’s Mines) most memorable efforts. Editing from Sandy Nervig (Pocahontas) serves it purpose, but what does stand out is the fantastic score composed by Richard Gillis (The Bees) and the effects from Robert A. Burns (The Hills Have Eyes) and Chubby Cordero (their only credit). Both of these aspects add so much charm and could be argued as the most accomplished aspects of the production. The score and effects range from being charmingly simple to outright imaginative and well executed. Overall, Demonoid is a hokey sort of film that should be experienced even by the exploitation fan who has seen everything.I think this would be a great film to watch alongside Raw Force! I should also mention that Russ Meyer fans will appreciate seeing the lovely Haji (Supervixens) make an appearance!

Overall, Vinegar Syndrome have done a great job with the restoration and presentation of Demonoid. Of course, it’s not perfect due to either the condition of the negatives used or the actual cinematography itself (I hope I don’t sound like I’m shitting on a guy like Alex Phillips Jr.). That being said, it’s no issue at all because hey, this is the first official DVD / Blu-ray release of this film! In terms of extras you also get the complete international cut of the film; Macabra. This is a completely different and extended experience. It loses some of the gore as well as the intro and replaces it with more dialogue, story and an extended ending. The score is also different in places. It’s a great extra to have and has gone under the same high quality restoration and presentation processes. Not only that, but you get the option of French or English dubs, with subtitles of course. Alongside that there is an insightful interview from the director himself as well as a selection of trailers, a TV spot and reversible artwork. All in all, it’s a great package for a film that surprised and entertained this jaded horror fan. It’s a great upgrade to that bootleg you used to own as well as being a great release for someone experiencing the film for the first time.

Demonoid is available as a DVD / Blu-Ray dual format release from Vinegar Syndrome and can be streamed on Exploitation.tv


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