Friday, May 24, 2013

The Random Woods for Random Monsters: Demonwarp (1988)

Demonwarp (1988)
rating: **
starring:  George Kennedy, David Michael O'Neill, Pamela Gilbert

Zombies? Big Foot? Zealous Cult Leader? Alien Fugitives? George Kennedy?! We're definitely scraping the very bottom of the barrel here for some backwoods horror action!

Penned by the director of the cult horror film Troll, Demonwarp starts with a pastor in the 1880s horse-riding in the mountain ranges while reading aloud passages from his handy-dandy Bible. A ripple in the sky had caught his attention which padre finds to be an alien ship crash landing. Seeing this to be a sign of the Second Coming, he pulls out his cross and approached it.

Traveling forward into the present, we now follow George Kennedy as a father playing a board game with his teen daughter inside a rented cabin located deep into the woods; their father-daughter time then got interrupted when a large Bigfoot-like creature broke in and mauled the girl to death. Dad was knocked out but soon came through and had sworn vengeance over the big ape.

Cue in weeks later, with five kids driving to the woods for some R&R but one of them had other plans; apparently, one kid there happens to be the nephew of a missing local there and he's planning to find out what happened to him. There, they found the cabin they're supposed to be staying at trashed and bumps into Kennedy, now in full "hunting gear", still setting his sights on killing the monster that attacked him and his daughter. Obviously, our killer cryptid is still out there and he's more than glad to slaughter anybody that got in the way. But was there more to the big guy's rampage? Like why is he hoarding up electrical parts from his attacks? Or why are there non-flesh eating zombies roaming around in the woods? And what happened to that kooky padre from the beginning? (He's not really important, but I just wanna know) All this was answered in the near end with one twist to another, leading to a climax that ultimately placed this film under one of my new guilty pleasures!

Seeing all the strange monster mish-mash this movie tried to squeeze in, I'm left to think Demonwarp is going to be a horrid trash of a movie (and after finishing the movie, it is) but giving a bit of consideration, at least it tries to make something out of the classic backwoods slasher sub-genre, all in good heart but with half a brain.

The first half ticks every box off the slasher cliches; from bad pranks and gratuitous nude scenes, to ignored doomsayers and stalk-kill chase scenes, it wasn't long before our killer cryptid was out there murdering anyone it can grab with much killer monster action as that other "Bigfoot slasher" Night of the Demon, minus the gore and with lesser kill count. However, the movie tried to add some numbers for the hunt, although it hardly did anything to improve the story; after 30 minutes, one from our teen casts was already dead while another was missing, so the writers had a pair of random teen bimbos and one unlucky bird watcher thrown in serving very little purpose but to pad the film a little longer with cheap chase scenes (that seems to take forever) and to add up the death toll to at least something more slasher film worthy. (It kinda worked)

When these three random victims was finally done away, we finally went to focus back on our hapless backwoods vacationers (and George kennedy's character) at around the last third act, and that's when all sorts of crazy plot twists and elements began to show their ugly rears; as if the technology hoarding killer ape wasn't strange enough, we suddenly have undead henchmen, blood cults and the near forgotten alien space craft finally thrown into the fondue, resulting to the cheapest yet one of the most bizarre turn for any slasher movie made out there, making you wonder what was really going through the writer's head during pre-production!

Considering the production value itself, the Demonwarp has a lot to be desired in regards to, well, everything from acting, special effects, filming set and even camera work. The monster suits were hardly expressive, the gore effects were lite save for a head being torn off and one guy being gutted with a dead branch (!), plus the story is inevitably laughable but as a trashy, cheese movie that doesn't do much other than be a backwoods slasher that you can poke fun at while drinking a keg of beer, it'll probably hit you right! I find it ill to recommend this movie to anyone, so I'm just going to say if what you read here sparked one shred of interest in that noggin of yours, rent the movie and see the garbage can-fresh cheese that is Demonwarp!

1 female mauled to death
1 male had his  neck broken
1 female had her head torn off
1 male stabbed to death with a dead branch
1 female clawed on the face
1 male had his head repeatedly beaten against a rock
1 male shot to death
1 female had her chest stabbed open with dagger, heart removed
1 male stabbed on the back with dagger
1 alien shot dead
1 male immolated by dynamite
total: 11
You can never have mah Gameboy!!!

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