October 10, 2011

Horror-A-Day: Demented

This is the first time I have attempted any sort of "theme" month and so far, this October marathon of horror has taken me to some strange places. I have seen a leprechaun in the hood, a zombie infested oasis, a time traveling monster, and even mutant were-sheep! Granted, a lot of these movies have been less than stellar, I am assured that things will get better, there is a lot of month left. The next film took me back to an era of explotative cinema where cruelty ran rampant and acting chops were not always required and you would often feel a little dirty when it was all said and done.

The movie is called Demented and it is one of the lesser rape/revenge movies from that cycle of films that ran through the 1970's and early 1980's. This is one that I had previously never heard of, and the only reason I watched it now is that it was in my Netflix queue and was getting ready to expire. That's about as good a reason as any, right? In any case, I think there is a reason why this one is among the lesser knownof these sorts of films. This is one for aficionados only. I would recommend sticking to the likes of Last House on the Left, I Spit on Your Grave, and House on the Edge of the Park.

Unlike many others of its ilk, Demented makes no bones about its exploitative nature. It seems that it merely exists as an attempt to shock and tittilate. Where other films will try to add a little moralizing or explanation for its actions, Demented does nothing of the sort. It follows the expected pattern, rape, recovery, revenge, credits. There is nothing else to it and the execution is not all that exciting.

As the movie opens we are introduced to Linda (Sallee Elyse, aka Sallee Young). She is taking care of her horses, when she is accosted by a gang of four guys with stockings on their heads. They attack her and gang rape her. As despicable as this act is, the sequence is not nearly as effective as it is in the better examples. When they are done grunting, they leave with her passed out on the floor.

The timeline skips ahead and we pick up Linda following her release from a mental institution where she recovered from her trauma. She is picked up by her philandering surgeon husband (Bruce Gilchrist, aka porn star Harry Reems). No sooner does he have her home, that he is trying to get out to meet his girlfriend.

Well, the story picks up in the final third as some neighborhood kids decide to try and freak Linda out by being annoying and pretending they are going to attack her. Oh, what happened to the actual attackers? They were actually caught and currently serving prison sentences. What happens now is that Linda has never fully recovered and is still on edge. The boys push her over the edge and she snaps, taking shotguns, and cleavers to the boys, not to mention the piano wire to one of the boy's genitals.

This gives an interesting issue. I actually felt sorry for the boys. Sure, they were playing a cruel prank, but did they deserve to die? Probably not. Her actions make it kind of hard to cheer for her. Now, if it was her actual attackers, that would be a different story. Again, it all comes back to this movie not having any sort of moral compass.

It is not all that bad of a movie. It is certainly not among the best examples of the rape/revenge, but it does the trick in sordid fashion. However, it is Sallee Young who makes this a bit difficult to watch. To put it nicely, she cannot act! Wow, she is just terrible. Her voice is whiny, the overacting is atrocious, and her emoting? Painful. The rest of the cast is not much better.

It is not a good movie, sags a bunch in the middle, and is not as shocking as it thinks it is. Pretty much only worth it for collectors and those who like this sort of thing. You know who you are.

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