Lucio Fulci only made two more films after Demonia and it makes you realize how much we lost when he died in 1996. Can you imagine how bad the movies would be if he were still alive and making them today?
Five hundred years ago, the townspeople of a Sicilian village get crabby over their nuns misbehaving and running around with question marks painted on their foreheads so they nail all five of them up on crosses.
In present day Toronto Liza attends a seance and has a flashback to these nuns. Was she trying to contact them? But how could she have known about them?
So maybe the nuns were trying to contact her? But why? Did the nuns know that she was about ready to fly over and go on her very first archaeological dig near their monastery? Is the movie already not making any sense?
Liza’s boss, Paul Evans, does what every good boss does and pooh poohs her Ouija board activities and generally patronizes the hell out of her. I immediately determined that I would see this one through, if only to see him get his eyes poked out or his brains squeezed from of his head. (He just got stabbed in the gut, so the movie even let me down in that department.)
Paul is played by Brett Halsey and the Shriek Show DVD has a text interview with him where he discusses his “contributions” to the film. Like it was his idea to have the movie take place in Toronto at the beginning. But that wasn’t his dumbest idea!
It was also his big idea to wear this green Canadian jacket during the film. The thing about this jacket is that it’s one of those letter jackets that the cool kids in high school would wear, except that this one has the word “Canada” on the back and the letter on the jacket also features the word “Roots” inside the letter. Brett explains that Roots is some clothing store in Canada that is very important to him.
I’m sure they appreciate all the free publicity you got them in a horror movie that no one ever saw, but I think it’s vital that we remember that it is almost never a good idea for a middle-aged guy to be prancing around in a high school letter jacket.
When Brett isn’t posing in his way cool jacket and giving Fulci a bunch of other great ideas on how to really make the film succeed, his character is acting high and mighty with his crew and Liza. It rapidly becomes clear that he has exactly two jobs on the dig: one is to tell the crew to quit singing and drinking and having fun, and the other is to tell Liza not to bother with these dead nuns because that’s not what they’re there to dig up!
Paul doesn’t believe Liza when she tells him about the neat stuff down in the secret basement, but she does encounter a woman who tells her that if she comes by her place that night she’ll fill all of us in on the horrific back-story that the townspeople are desperately trying to hide.
When Liza meets up with this woman, she spills her guts to her about the terrible history of the town. It’s the usual middle-ages-satanic-nun drivel – nuns love Satan, have wild orgies (shown merely as a few nuns getting pumped by a few townspeople – pretty tame stuff as far as satanic orgies go), kill their lovers and let their blood drain into goblets, get pregnant and incinerate the infant.
Fulci went all out for this scene. The baby is wrapped in a blanket and dumped in a fire and the dubbed crying goes on and on as the fire consumes the kid. There’s even a close up shot of this baby’s chubby little arm moving a bit as it gets burned up. I thought maybe I was watching some kind of Planned Parenthood funded “family planning” video!
Once the townspeople figured out that these nuns were doing more than banging their husbands and brothers they formed an angry mob and crucified them all. Now, five hundred years later, they’re anxious to keep that a secret though no one really could explain why.
One of the nuns possesses Liza and people start getting killed. It didn’t make much sense because sometimes they’d be killed by this ghostly nun who was partly transparent and would fade away after doing the deed, so how could that have been Liza? The nun also killed snooping archeologists and protective townspeople alike without rhyme or reason.
If the ghost nun is getting her revenge, it’s all rather pointless and artlessly executed. Sometimes she does the killing herself and sometimes she doesn’t. Sometimes she’ll even go to all the trouble to rig up some fancy contraption so that the film can have a big scene where a guy is ripped in half by a couple of ropes.
Of course, the film’s biggest problem is that the people put in jeopardy are barely names on a script and have no personality beyond just being descriptions such as gruff boss, possessed blonde, two drunks, crabby local butcher, and guy who got ripped in half.
The most satanic thing though that I noticed was that throughout Demonia, scenes that took place in the secret basement of the monastery were always the best lit ones, whereas whenever the movie went outside, it looked like Lucio took his dirty handkerchief and shot scenes through that!
The horrible technical work on this movie combined with the confusing story and the non-characters that inhabit it leave you with exactly the kind of movie you would expect where Brett Halsey provides his own wardrobe.
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