Old 04-10-2012, 12:33 PM
Demonsoul (1995)

Originally written for Hell Broke Luce

First off you know your dealing with something just a tad under the radar when you canít find a picture of the box art bigger than 144x260. Take a second to glace at the box art for a moment. If I had been in a retail store about 17 years ago back when they sold VHS and saw this on the shelf without any prior knowledge of the film, with a cover like that Iíd probably think it was the home video version of some post-apocalyptic goth/cyberpunk cartoon MTV or HBO would play at 1 in the morning back in the 90ís or something. Itís also exactly the kind of cover that would make me pick the tape up at the video store and start at it like a jackass for 2 minutes contemplating on whether or not to rent it, all the while knowing in the back of my mind that I would eventually cave in and do so. How the hell could I not?! Anyway, Demonsoul might not be what I described above, but that cover art is kind of misleading, as itís not the cheesefest the box would lead you to believe. Really, itís not.

Erica Steele (Kerry Norton) is being plagued by nightmares. Every other night she dreams of a man being dragged into a room by hooded men and ritualistically sacrificed by an alluring, mysterious red headed woman (Eileen Daly), whom Erica also has visions of during the day. After normal therapy does nothing to suppress the nightmares, Erica goes to a hypnotherapist, Dr. Bucher, who specializes in ďpast life regressionĒ. When heís not busy molesting Erica when sheís under hypnosis, he discovers that Erica led a past life as a vampire, Countess Dana whoís demonic spirit is now trying to take full possession of Ericaís soul, and the red headed woman is Selena, the Countessí servant. Dr. Bucherís curiosity and greed getís the better of him, and he makes an offer with Dana to supply her with the blood needed to strengthen her to fully posses Ericaís body, in exchange for a taste of her power, leaving Erica to fight for the protection of her body and soul on her own.

Demonsoul is the kind of movie you watch and all the while think of what might have been had the filmmakers spent a little more time tightening up the script. There a some really cool ideaís on display, itís just that theyíre not really fleshed out that much, namely the possession angle. Thereís really not a lot done with it, and at times the whole thing feels a but rushed. The film is only 82 minutes, and as a result of this it can become confusing at times as to what exactly is going on in certain scenes when it relates to the possession and Ericaís ďpast lifeĒ. There are some cryptic elements regarding the character of Selena at the beginning of the film as well, but Iím guessing that was on purpose, given that sheís supposed to have mysterious connotations. Still, despite all that, Demonsoul was intriguing enough to keep me interested all the way though. The vampyric possession idea was a good one, even if itís potential wasnít fully reached here. The film moves along at a fairly quick pace, gradually getting better as it goes along and gets really good during the final half hour and finale. Most of the confusing loose ends are somewhat tied up as well, which is a good thing as there are crucial elements to the story and Ericaís relationship with Selena, and I can honestly say the ending, while a bit rushed, was unexpected. Kerry Norton is extremely hot and does both the good and evil sides of her character well enough. Sheís likable as the ďgoodĒ Erica and is one of the main reasons why itís so easy to keep watching the film. Yes, she has a nude scene. Eileen Daly is always great to look at and only hams it up a few times, and yeah, she has a nude scene. Thereís actually not that much nudity though, which was surprising considering this is a Vista Street film.

Aesthetically, Demonsoul at times tips itís hat to the classic sleazy Eurotrash filmís of the 70ís complete with ritual sacrifice and some light lesbian vampire action which I greatly appreciated. This was obviously a super low budget, shot on video production but thatís never a hindrance here. Actually the SOV look gives certain scenes a nice grit to them. In particular Ericaís sacrifice nightmare that the film opens with and the finale. Both scenes were shot in this old abandoned building, it might have been an old church, not sure about that though. Anyway, along with all the biting and whipping going on, the SOV look gives those scenes a gnarly feeling of dirtiness. Very grimy and trashy. You know, they sort of remind me of an old 90ís black metal video. Primitive, yes, but it gives off a vibe, which is always nice to see in a flick with a budget this low. Thereís also a scene where a sacrifice victim is mauled by a group of female vampires on the same buildings bathroom floor. All of them wearing bondage outfits. Again, very music videoesque and the whole S&M undertones give off an air of sleaze. Itís not all honky dory though, as like a lot of other SOV movies Demonsoul has itís share of technical issues. Easily the worst thing about this movie is the audio. Muffled doesnít even begin to describe it. There are instances where itís so bad itís literally impossible to understand any of the dialogue and trying to adjust the volume only makes it more distorted. Itís also inconsistent in itís shoddiness as well. Often times it will be clear as day and one second later it will drop out youíll be begging for subtitles. Of course itís at itís worst when critical elements of story dealing with the Countess and Selena are being discussed. Beyond irritating.

Itís obvious when you watch a low to no budget film to know when the people involved didnít give a shit but thatís definitely not the case with Demonsoul, which is more than I can say about the other project Eileen Daly and director Elisar Cabrera worked on together 3 years after this was made (Witchcraft X: Mistress of the Craft). There really was effort put into this, and I think if the filmmakers had a slightly bigger budget and more time to fully round out the script than this movie might have been less inconsistent. Demonsoul may be a bit uneven and suffer from incredibly bad audio but it had enough going for it to keep me watching and the 82 minutes goes by pretty fast. Sure itís got itís amateurish moments as a lot of low budget genre fares do, but honestly, itís one of the better ones put out by Vista Street Entertainment.
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Old 04-12-2012, 06:48 AM
Never heard of it. It does sound fairly rad, though. That cover is just...oh, man.
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Old 04-12-2012, 08:23 AM
Originally Posted by Frankenberry Reborn View Post
That cover is just...oh, man.
Ha, when I was trying to find the movie years after I first saw it on a video store shelf the only thing I could remember was that ridiculous cover.
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Old 08-06-2012, 06:17 PM
Interesting post script to this review. Somehow a few weeks back director Elisar Cabrera actually found my review and got in touch, claming in fact that the film was indeed rushed, and had a total budget of $1500. I knew Vista Street was cranking them out on the cheap in the mid 90's but goddamn. That pretty much confirms my suspicions that the Wtichcraft films were the only ones that that got the most amound of funding, which is really saying something considering how little money those were made for.
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