Thursday, February 5, 2009

DEMONIACS d. Jean Rollin (1973)

Reviewed by Tracy Hook

I recently viewed DEMONIACS for the about the 5th time, but his time I viewed sans Jagermeister and I found the film to hold up well even without that liquid demon with the cough syrup taste. Though the film is not for the squemish it does have beautiful cinematography and wonderfully surrealist imagery. The acting is somewhat overdone, but it fits the film. It's about obsession, hallucinations, black magic and good old fashion sadistic insanity, so the actors are bound to act a little kooky.

The film starts out with an introduction to "the wreckers": the Captain, Tina, Paul, and Bosco. The group pillages a ship they had lead to the rocky shore. (Thus wrecking the ship). Two teenage girls are found by the wreckers and are brutally raped and tortured by them. The ship's crew go to the local pub/whorehouse afterwards to celebrate the treasure they have acquired, then the Captain cannot get the girls out of his mind. After meeting up with a psychic madame the Captain goes insane with guilt. The madame rants on about the ship that has crashed to the rocks. The Captain smashes chairs, yells, smashes more things and then sweats profusely. As film moves on, he progressively falls futher into a pit of insanity. To make matters worse, a sailor storms into the pub and tells the tale of two female ghosts roaming the town. The crew set out to find the girls and kill them, knowing they're still alive. They do not want any witnesses. The girls escape to the much talked about cursed ruins and discover the dark secret there. The girls are then transformed and take their revenge on the wreakers.

This film is full of everything: lots of smashing up things, burning up things, boobs, creepy clowns, cat fights with hair pulling and slapping, boobs, barroom brawls, sweaty old men, and more boobs. It's truly not for the faint-of-heart. The wreckers (or "Demoniacs") are shown as true sadists. We see that the Captain and Tina are a match made in hell. Both encourage the other sailors to rape and murder. As the film progresses we see that Tina is the actual leader of the group. The Captain can't handle the outlaw life anymore and loses his mind. He's haunted by the girls and goes insane. The other sailors, Paul and Bosco start to fall apart as well. They fear the girls when they learn of legend of the ruins. They even go so far as to consult the resident psychic at the whorehouse they're staying at. Tina on the other hand has no guilt whatsoever. She wants the girls dead, she screams she wants them crushed.

I suppose I should be offended by this film and at some points it is a bit nauseating, but I do actually enjoy the other parts quite a bit. This film is full of raw emotion on the parts of Joelle Coeur as Tina and John Rico as the Captain. Tina's evil laugh still is ringing in my ears!

The Demoniacs are brutal, but it makes for a lot of cheering on the two girls when they take their revenge on them. The Demoniacs so deserve it. And with the help of the secret evil that's in the ruins they do so, but with a twist. I won't give away the ending!

I had seen the original release of THE DEMONIACS by Redemption which had better packaging, but the new release has extras galore. Lots of naughty deleted scenes that would have really added an extra "X" if they were not cut. Also included is a theatrical trailer, stills gallery, and other Redemption trailers. If you dare, check it out with or without Jagermeister.


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