June 12, 2014

Critical Capsule: Demonwarp

Have you ever heard of a movie called Demonwarp? I am pretty sure the vast majority of you said no. And that is probably a good thing if you value things like quality and, well, quality. This is not a good movie on any level, but that does not mean it does not entertain. This odd little movie definitely entertains, especially if you are with a crowd of like minded souls. Fortunately, I was in a room full of them as I sat down for my first experience with Demonwarp. Seriously, though, the movie makes little sense and does not really hold together. It is the sort of thing that makes you wonder if anyone read the script before signing on to the project, or if there was more of a script that was cut out. Who knows.

Anyway, I drove about an hour to see this thing. The gimmick was that it was to be projected on the big screen from VHS tape. Yes, this is an old school blending of technologies that may be related but were never meant to be together, distant cousins, twice removed, if you will. As you can probably guess, the quality was absolutely awful and there were distinct signs of age, much like a worn 35mm print, only a lot fuzzier with the occasional band of video noise and audio hiccups. Still, the old format performed like a champ and delivered thee goods with the quality befitting the film. It was pretty great to see the Vidmark logo light up the screen after an old school FBI warning.

As for the movie itself, the best way to start is with this description used in the marketing of the screening: “George Kennedy is enjoying a game of Trivial Pursuit when Bigfoot breaks into his house and kills his daughter. Then a group of Bigfoot trackers (including Billy Jacoby from JUST ONE OF THE GUYS) set up shop in the same cabin. Sex! Practical jokes! Bigfoot wearing an Axl Rose wig! George Kennedy calls Bigfoot a "wooly bastard" and a "six-foot fleabag," but that doesn't stop the mythical beastoid from messing around with dynamite and REMOVING PEOPLE'S HEADS. Before you know it, DEMONWARP transforms from a movie about Bigfoot decapitating people to a movie about dimestore zombies, wet alien puppets, satanic sacrifices, and 1980s scream queen Michelle Bauer roaming around with no clothes on. Why is all of this happening? Your guess is as good as ours. But it probably has something to do with a zombie who does impressions of Jack Nicholson and a time-traveling spaceship. (Joseph A. Ziemba)”

That really does a good job of summing it up, but it does not completely capture the experience. Just think about watching a movie with some insanely bad dialogue, actors with quirky timing, weird stares into space, not to mention the appearance of the zombies and the plentiful female nudity. There just are not words to describe this thing.

I am not sure what I could add to the plot, there were a few moments early on that reminded me of Just Before Dawn, but the moments were fleeting as a bad line or something rips me back to the reality of the situation. The movie begins as some sort of revenge for a missing uncle against what they think is Bigfoot. It moves into a a zombie film as some of the hero's group are killed, before revealing the alien element.

Demonwarp was directed by Emmet Alston, who also helmed the inexplicable holiday snoozer New Year's Evil and 3 Little Ninjas and the Lost Treasure. Now, I have not seen all of his films, but I think Demonwarp has to be his standout film, based on how incomprehensibly enjoyable it is. Although, he did direct Nine Deaths of the Ninja with Sho Kosugi... May need to see that before final judgment can be made. Screenplay duties were handled by Bruce Akiyama and Jim Bertges, it was the only feature written by either. The story was originated by John Carl Buechler, a name that should be familiar, as he directed Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood and was involved in the effects on countless classics like From Beyond, Dolls, A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 4, and Halloween 4 (he also designed Bigfoot for this movie).

In addition to George Kennedy, the cast also includes scream queen Michelle Bauer, who spends most of her time topless and Billy Jacoby from Just One of the Guys, Silver Spoons, and Cujo. I will also admit to being distracted by how much some of the cast looked like other people. The lead was like a goofy cross between Dennis Miller and Kurt Russell, another was like Kirk Cameron, yet another resembled Chris Hemsworth. Weird.

If you are into bad movies, like George Kennedy, enjoy watching folks wander through the woods, crazy dialogue, silly people during stupid things, gratuitous nudity, and the like, this is for you. It really is a movie that defies logic and my ability to review it. What I can saw is that I really liked it and likely give it a higher rating than it deserves on any sort of scale. If you are like me and like these sorts of things, this is one of those bad movies that is worth your time. See it, it will leave with so many questions about what just happened and what you experienced.


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