Old 01-12-2012, 03:23 PM
Demon Wind (1990)

The “Evil Dead” films are wildly popular movies. When the first one was released, it was as if it broke free from the dead seriousness of “The Exorcist,” and simply wished to go about its possession angle with a drink and a sense of fun. That is exactly what it and the beloved trilogy set out to do and achieved. I personally enjoy the second movie the best. The original film was certainly innovative, but the possession nonsense became redundant after a while. As for “Army of Darkness,” I found it to be too campy and silly for its own good. “The Exorcist” was a popular film in its own right that inspired a few lame rip-offs. “The Evil Dead” also inspired a rip-off of its own, at least one that I know of, and it is this film. It, too, was made by filmmakers who wanted to have a few drinks, slap on demon make-up, and have a good time. The similarities to the Sam Raimi films cannot be disputed. Director Charles Philip Moore was definitely thinking of “Evil + Dead” when he made “Demon Wind,” and his effort is a respectful and entertaining one.

The first noticeable difference in this film is the tone. It takes itself slightly more seriously than the “Evil Dead” films. It still has a degree of campiness, and is far from the dead seriousness of “The Exorcist,” but I found it to be on a different playing field. This is a good sign. What helps is a gothic opening scene. The setting is a house on a farm. It is 1931. A man and women are battling demon forces trying to break in. It is more effectively creepy than it is funny. The biblical undertones in this opening sequence help establish the creepy mood. The creepy mood stays for a good portion of the film before the demons make their appearance.

The next noticeable difference is the bigger cast. The main character is Cory. He is having nightmares about his mysterious past. He never really knew his drunk of a father, and briefly meeting him again after so long didn’t help him figure out his identity. He is now having nightmares about a farm and he is determined to go there and find out the answers. He and seven friends venture out into the remote valley to his grandparents’ family farm. Two more friends will be late to the party towards the end. Cory’s girlfriend is Elaine. Then, there is Dell and Terri, Jack and Bonnie, Stacy and Chuck, and Will and Reena later on. Dell is a bit of a jock, but he isn’t a stereotypical asshole. Stacy is a guy, just like actor Stacy Keach. He is really close friends with Chuck, who is a magician and used to go out with Terri. Despite Chuck’s past relationship with Terri, is it really Stacy and Chuck? Just like Siegfried and Roy? You decide for yourself.

There is less to say about the remaining characters. They are interchangeable. Cory is hardly the leading man Bruce Campbell proved to be. Eric Larson plays the part and he tries. He plays it straight and lacks charisma. In turn, the multiple characters fail to elevate this copycat too far. They just provide a larger bodycount. These factors work for and against the film. You don’t want another Bruce Campbell. Then again, one would expect the writer-director to provide a little more motivation to the written characters and actors. The overall performances are fine, but they could have been more inspired.

When Cory and his friends arrive to the farm, they discover very little of it left. Both the house and the barn are in ruins. We already know why from the opening sequence. Cory’s grandparents lose the battle against the demon forces and the house explodes. All that is left of the house are some walls and the front doorway. And when they look closely through the doorway, there appears to be another world. It appears to be the interior of a home that is still intact. It is a portal into Cory’s grandparents’ past. The demons they tried to get rid of still exist in the real world, so the past still exists in one form or another. This is a really nice touch. When one of the girls casually reads out loud the weird writing on the wall, they are trapped in the demons’ world. They are free to walk out of the house and try getting away, but a fog appears. It surrounds them and they find themselves back in front of the ruins. There is no way to go and the cars will not start.

The demons do not show up immediately. The characters have time to look around the house and learn a thing or two about Cory’s grandparents, as well as his great-grandparents. Cory’s great-grandfather and other settlers built the farm in the late 1800’s. And it turns out that they were led by a preacher who was also a devil-worshipper. That’s right. That is when all the demon nonsense started and it still hasn’t been finished. The Devil is real, and he wants to formally step into the real world.

As for the demons, where are they? They show up in the second half. When it turns from day to night, they are ready to strike. The main characters are also ready. They know that they’re in danger and armed guns and rifles. Things go from creepy to stupid fun. One demon appears in the form of an attractive woman in a dress baring her breasts– all in order to tempt the main characters and please the targeted demographic. There is some action in the barn and in the house. The characters eventually investigate the barn, and the demons inevitably and fatefully recreate the classic scene from “Night of The Living Dead,” when the dead try to break into the house. Stacy and Chuck have a memorable scene when they battle the demons alone outside. They fire their guns at them, left and run, and even kick some of the demons’ heads off.

If you were buying all of it before, you will have turned off your brain by this point. No matter how creepy it feels in the beginning, there is still a late 1980’s cheese to be had. It is in the characters. The film was released in 1990, but the late `80’s charm was still intact. It is a little creepy and a little cheesy in the first half. And then, it goes for full cheese in the second half. Almost every character dies and becomes a demon. And almost every actor gets to put on the demon make-up and ham it up. Even Cory transforms into a demon, a good one, when he finishes a spell and challenges The Devil. Yes, The Devil does make an appearance. And surprisingly, its appearance does bring some creepy vibes back to balance out the cheese. The Devil makes a startling presence with loads of make-up on one committed actor. If you are obsessed with the “Evil Dead” films and own all twenty-three re-issued DVD’s of each individual film, you should like this. And if you don’t care to see them, you still might like this. It is not a complete rip-off. It is a little creepy and stupid fun all the way.

**1/2 out of 4

Last edited by Duke Nukem; 01-19-2012 at 07:33 PM..
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Old 02-19-2012, 03:19 AM
I remember seeing this on the shelves as a kid in the nearby blockbuster and always thinking of renting it, but never doing so. i recently stumbled across it again over the internet and have some interest in checking it out again...word of mouth is actually pretty favorable too - 80s cheese fun will always grab my attention. Hopefully I can track it down sometime.

also Duke - mad props to you for constantly contributing to this board man. i go off and on anymore with the lack of posts and inspiration on these boards compared to the older days, but your reviews always will grab my attention and get me posting again even if briefly. kudos schmoe, kudos!
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:44 PM
Thanks, Cory. Reviewing older horror movies may have been exactly what I needed to do in order to move on from the fan-fiction. Reviewing is another creative outlet. And reviewing movies was the first realistic thing I wanted to do as a child (after wanting to become a "Ghostbuster"). I first tried it in high school, and they were mediorce. Every action movie review was the same, every horror movie review was the same, etc. It seems that, after practicing with the fan-fiction, I have become a better reviewer. And it is older horror movies I know how to be objective with.

In a way, with the horror conventions that make these movies available, I'm finally doing what I wanted to do as a child. I'm finally getting to see a lot of movies (other than the big franchises) that my parents forbade me from renting. What made it truly unfair was that I wasn't a kid who overreacted to nudity and sex (and that remains parents groups' concerns - who cares about grotatious violence and gore apparently!). I was mature enough then to look past that and appreciate creative death scenes and well-drawn suspense (and again, without overreacting like a maniac). School sucked and horror movies helped me cheer me up (tell that to the people who claim "horror movies make killers"!) This may be true about the rest of us who have dedicated life-long but healthy obsessions with horror movies.

Then, there's the point when we are officially "mature enough" to rent whatever movies we want, and when it came time, I know that I mostly took my local mom-and-pop store's excellent selection for granted. I thought it would be around forever and came too late for the stand-alone films of the `70's and `80's. The rest of you may have felt this way as well. I have only the conventions to help me out. Yeah, I could order online, but I would rather physically hold a DVD in my hands and see the person I'm purchasing it from. Buying movies online may work for the rest of you, but I find it to be cold and lifeless.

This is a long and slightly personal reply. But hey, I was willing to speak personally at times in my reviews. This is my response to a full years worth of reviews. I'm done for now, and I don't know when I'll be ready to review again. Maybe in the summer.

Last edited by Duke Nukem; 02-21-2012 at 10:50 PM..
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:43 AM
Yeah, the market for being a supporting movie fan (not streaming/downloading non-stop and such) is tough and flat out sucks. Renting, buying whatever - it just isn't anything special to go out and get a movie you are highly anticipating or wanting to see etc.,

Fully agree though, horror in general saved me from many boring times and quite personal/serious drama related situations where I needed an escape and something to keep my mind off of things. Some people flock to music or sports or such, I found solace in the genre!

Yeah, I've been always off and on considering reviewing or such, but with work and such I just never get around to it and I don't think I could provide enough detail/time to make it worthwhile.
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:40 AM
This movie is so bad its good, its kind of like Troll 2 and Rock and Roll Nightmare because you just cant believe the levels of badness this movie reaches. It's watchable just because of that. The poster was pretty cool though, too bad the demon on the poster never actually shows up on the actual film!
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