Demon Wind (1990)

Welcome back to Nights of Demons Month here at B-Movie Enema.  This is our month long celebration of Halloween featuring five movies that all have some sort of demonic angle or something.  Last week, we looked at Lamberto Bava’s Demons that certainly got air play on cable as well as something most people in their 30s and 40s rented at the local video store.  This week is another case of that.

We’ll be looking at 1990’s Demon Wind.  And let’s just go ahead and get the cat out of the bag.  That is a terrible title.  Seriously, it sounds like something you’d call a fart.  Like a really gross fart.  One that lingers and slowly kills your friends one-by-one while they sleep.  I’ve had a few of those so I know what I’m talking about.

My life is littered with the corpses of dead friends who succumbed to my poor dinner choices.

But in all seriousness, you’d have to think that “Demon Wind” is not a great title even if it literally describes something demonic blowing into town.  Not just that, but “It’ll blow you away” is a really suspect tagline because you’re really just opening the door for someone just as immature as me to make a bunch of fart jokes.

But in all super seriousness, I will give this movie a passing grade for effort at the very least.  This has some of the charming things that other 80s demonic movies had like Rawhead Rex and a few others.  There is atmosphere to spare here.  It’s a low budget movie that reaches a bit to try to be memorable – even if some of those memorable moments are unintentional.  It’s probably why Vinegar Syndrome ultimately came along to give it a proper Blu-Ray release.  There’s a time period element, friends being trapped in a town due to some fog that comes in with the demon (sigh) wind.  It’s got some fun ideas and elements…  That said, I won’t gloss over that this is a pretty notoriously bad movie and I’m positive I’ll be getting to that during the viewing.

But what the fuck are we doing talking about things that I will eventually say at the end of the article?  Let’s get into the movie itself!

Egads, the early days of Church’s Chicken was kind of shady.

The movie opens in 1931 to a ghastly sight – a woman burning on a cross.  Additionally, there is another dead body who looks to have been mauled.  We then go inside a house that has been boarded up and look over old pictures (of family and of the holy Jeebs) and candles while an old hymn plays.  What’s kind of eerie about this is that there is a fully cooked chicken on the table as if it was just taken out of the oven, but no one is to be found anywhere.  There is some sort of ceremonial thing on the ground with crosses and stuff and I think it’s to protect from the demon wind?

And I guess I was right.  Some disembodied voices speak to a lady who has put up all these protective “spells” as they are called (I doubt Southern Baptists would have been cool with calling them that in 1931 – or 2018 for that matter).  She’s got claw marks on her back and she looks, rightfully so, pretty fucking freaked out!  Her husband is there and she tells him her spells are no longer able to keep “them” out and they are now “too strong”.

He pukes curdled yogurt on her, turns into a demon and kills her before their house explodes in possibly the biggest explosion ever in a non-Michael Bay film.

Yikes… The early days of Popeye’s Chicken were also SUPER suspect.

Nearly 60 years later, we meet Cory and his girlfriend Elaine.  Cory is the grandson of the couple who ‘sploded what good previously.  He has issues with his father who was a drunk and also had a bunch of candles and Jesus pictures around his run down apartment like the grandparents did.  Elaine hoped to reunite Cory with his father, but in doing so, she may have created a fairly massive rift between her and Cory.  While they drive to his grandparents’ farm (which… should still be a smoldering pile of lumber, right?), a creepy little ginger girl watches them from a hill.

Cory claims that since he saw his dad, there’s been a voice in his head telling him to get to this grandparents’ farm.  He stops when he sees the gas station.  He tells Elaine he had been there before in a dream.  A dream that, naturally, he’s naked in, and he’s carrying a book or a tome or something, and his dead grandma welcomes him home.  Oddly, Elaine doesn’t seem all that freaked out about him having premonitions in a dream about this random gas station in the middle of nowhere.  Cory asks the gas station attendant about how to get to his grandparents’ place and the old man says the map’s wrong and he should probably just go on and get.

Again, Elaine is kind of not bothered by this.  She just says, “Maybe he’s right, let’s just go home.”  I have a feeling she is going to be real dumb in this movie.

Cory refuses to leave because this is the place in his dream.  He goes inside the gas station and asks if anyone is in there.  Elaine… sigh…  Elaine unbuckles her belt and pulls down her pants to show a red heart on her black lace panties.

Okay…  Like, thanks?  I was kind of wondering already what Elaine’s butt looked like and I was really interested in knowing what kind of panties she wears and I really do appreciate that she wants to help Cory feel better because he’s had a rough couple days or something, but…  Why?  The weird old man is literally just right outside and he’s none too pleased having you city folk around these parts asking about stuff.  Was this exactly the right time to drop trow and titillate your clearly upset boyfriend with your sexy ass and lacy panties?

Okay, this moment is not only dumb, but short-lived.  A lady comes out of the backroom and startles those pants right back up to Elaine’s waist.  The lady seems kind of old fashioned and says weird stuff to them about some little girl (probably that creepy ginger from earlier).  Cory and Elaine’s friends, Jack, Bonnie, Dell, and Terri, arrive and Cory tells them all that his dad slit his wrists the day after he saw him.  Knowing that the farm was a weird place that always affected Cory’s dad, he wanted to go there and try to figure out just what kind of kooky crazy beeswax is going on at that farm.  The old man, this time holding a gun to them, tells them they really should not go to that farm.  He tells the story of what he saw there.

So this old man knew of a time, in 1929, in which a terrible drought happened.  The Carters, who owned the farm, were especially effected.  One day, a Sunday to be exact, the Carters were the only ones not at church services.  The old man went to check on them because that was very much not like them to miss service, and he found a horrible scene full of black blood on the walls, figures in the shadows, etc.  He ran away and never told anyone what he saw.

I am a bit confused with the timeline of the old man’s story.  He said that was 1929 when the bad stuff happened?  But the first part of the movie was 1931.  Maybe the drought was 1929 and the demons came to settle up with the family in 1931?  Was that just a colossal fuck up on the part of the post-production team?

Two more assholes show up for demon fodder, including this asshole:

Hmmm… Benedict Cumberbatch’s early days were kind of… Never mind, you get the picture.

Doctor Strange above is Chuck and the other guy who seems to walk around in public in some sort of wizard’s robe is Stacey.  I guess they are like, for real wizards and magicians?  Is the movie going in that direction?  This movie is honestly not that bad aside from some weirdness with possible bad continuity of the dates of previous scenes and Elaine just dropping her pants in the oddest of settings, but if we are bringing in for real magic people in to our otherwise perfectly believable demon scenario…  Well, sir, that is one step too far.

Oh, hey…  By the way, who was the woman burning on the cross at the beginning of the movie?  The old man said that the only people in town not at church were Cory’s grandparents.  That lady’s fucking skeleton is still tied to a cross on the family property.  So it is either the world’s greatest scarecrow or just some really early Halloween decorations.  Either way, I’m still trying to figure out who that was because everyone was at church.

Oh fuck it.

Hey look! It’s the Idiot Scooby Gang!

Bonnie trips over a skull and when Cory touches it, he sees a vision of his uncle running from the destroyed farm, suddenly stopped, and had blood pour from his mouth.  When Cory looks into the door, he sees what the house looked like.  When he’s inside, the others outside can’t see him.  However, from the exterior, the place is barely a wall and some stone bits.  When each person goes into the ruins of the house, they are transported back to the way the house looked on the fateful night.  They find some creepy Latin warning on the wall.  When Bonnie reads it, shit starts to shake, the fireplace ignites, and stuff just generally seems pretty off.

While everything is shaking and going nuts, Cory tells everyone to get out of the house.  Like, no shit, right?  Dell, despite being a big ol’ meathead dummy, says he thinks it is a pretty swell idea to get out before sundown.  Cory kind of protests saying he wants to find out what happened to his grandparents, but when that skeleton on the cross starts to shake and falls to the ground, he decides that maybe it ain’t such a bad idea to go ahead and take off.

However, their car batteries are all dead.  They have to hoof it back to town, but they are trapped by a fast moving fog rolling into the valley where the farm is.  Bonnie also seems pretty fucked up over reading that Latin shit about Satan walking again.  She begs her boyfriend, Jack, to bury her there if she dies.  They also find themselves transported back to the farm by the fog.  When they return, none of them say much more than “Ah no…” in a really dismissive, “Well that’s kind of a bummer, ain’t it?” way.  Also, three creepy girls in old timey dresses and shit are there.  Dell approaches one only to be thrown backwards like he was nothing.  Again…  Not much reaction.  The girls, in real deep demon like voices, say they can’t leave.  Now, Bonnie freaks out.  I guess if at first you don’t succeed to get a rise out of these people, you just have to keep trying until one of these dumdums gets the point that scary shit is happening.

Anyway, Bonnie runs away, and one of the girls grabs her and says she’s theirs.  They disappear and Bonnie is replaced with a doll dressed like her that tells her boyfriend he lied and it explodes and melts.  I guess Bonnie is dead?  Dell, again, the meathead with the good ideas (other than being kind of a prick in general), says he thinks they should still try to get the fuck out of Dodge.  Cory disagrees and thinks they should stay in the house for the night.

Also, no one really seems all that upset about Bonnie disappearing and then being replaced by a doll and then that doll exploding.  Everyone seems pretty a-ok with that shit and also now having a mourning boyfriend who is, like, eh no duh, in shock.  Cory checks out the house and sees the ghost of his grandmother urging him to go into a specific room.  And, as you do when you see a ghostly apparition of a dead relative, he does as suggested where drawers to dressers and desks and stuff open by themselves and uncovers a book on its own and shit.  Cory must be on some really, really good relaxers because he is totally cool with all this stuff.  So what he’s drawn to is his grandmother’s diary and inside is some really weird shit.  Again, Cory seems pretty okay with all this like it’s something you find any day.  Elaine is even kind of passe over all the weird stuff too.  After reading some passages, he tells the rest of the gang about the origins of the farm.  There was a satanist cult where the farm was built by his great-great grandfather.

So here’s the problem.  This movie is not poorly made.  I still stand by giving this movie a pretty healthy effort grade.  It was made for about a half million bucks and they did with what they could.  There were production issues.  The movie started with a 7 hour filming day and when they went back to look at the dailies of what they shot, they discovered the film was bad and lost everything and had to reshoot it.  There were weather issues that caused the team to adjust the script and movie on the spot to accommodate the conditions.  These are all things that happen to movies that make them less than what they could be.

However, there are two glaring issues.  First, there is that continuity issue.  They repeat again that the shit went down in 1929 despite the opening subtitle read 1931.  That’s a horrible mistake to make.  Even with the movie not being released until 1990 (despite being filmed at the very beginning of 1989), and even with the production issues that did happen, that subtitle at the very beginning of the movie was specifically wrong and no one fixed it.  That’s terrible.

The other issue relates to the characters.  These characters are completely and totally disconnected from the shit happening around them.  Take, for example, a couple other movies covered in this theme month – last week’s Demons, and 1989’s Night of the Demons (coming in two weeks).  Pretty much the moment weird shit starts happening, everyone is acting and reacting appropriately.  Like, instantly!  Here, two guys are being called out by a sexy demon ghost to go outside so she can play with them.  They just react as if, yeah, we should go the fuck out there, and use our guns and dumb one-liners to kill this bitch.  I mean, that’s what anyone would do, amirite?

It would be one thing if these characters were reacting properly, but totally unlikable to the point that you want to see them killed, but here, it’s the opposite.  They are likable characters in this group, but they seem completely and totally disconnected from the movie and the things happening around them.  I know characters are created by a writer who gets to play god with them, but damn…  These characters don’t act like real people.  They aren’t even acting like cartoons.  They are just doing whatever the minimum is asked of the idea of a character to progress from one scene to the next.  The characters want to leave, great, that’s what they should do, but they have to get back to the house, so let some fog bring them back and then have one of them just say they should stay in the house to be safe.  It’s dumb.

I hate dumb characters that have no effect on their surroundings in the plot.  They are there to service this plot, not to inform the things that happen within it.

So the guys find out the sexy demon girl is, no shit, a demon girl.  They start shooting their gun and rifle more time than they have bullets for.  Stacey dies and Chuck tries to leave to get back to the house.  Chuck makes it to the front door, but is killed before he goes back inside.  When the others (who were all asleep and unaware of anything going on) wake up and look outside, they don’t see the fog or the demons, just their friends’ bodies.

All of a sudden, a different movie begins.  I know this because now, a character emotes over spooky shit and dead friends.  You see, I guess Terri used to date Chuck until she started dating Dell.  There was a brief mention of this when all the friends arrived, and Chuck and Terri try to sort it all out between them just before the bad stuff happened.  Anyway, the director, Charles Phillip Moore, decided maybe there needs to be some sort of fucking acting in this movie and asked Lynn Clark (who played Terri) to just let it loose.  And she most definitely does.

So three friends are dead, a couple of the living friends are still pretty freaked out, but you know what we need?  I’ll tell you what we need…  We need this movie to get a move on.  We’re one hour into this clunker and we’re no closer to a conclusion than we were 45 minutes ago, and we just introduced two new characters.  Because that’s just what we needed.

Dell and Terri decide it’s time for them to leave to get help.  Cory gives them a gun and they take off.  Cory and Jack tell each other they don’t think Cory and Terri are going to make it… Right in front of everyone else.  Do these people even like each other?  Are they actually friends?  Maybe, just maybe, Cory is a sociopath who has lured all his friends here knowing they will all die by demon.  So he brings him here, and just doesn’t fucking care if they are all deadsville.

I mean, there’s just no other way to describe how he reacts to his friends’ deaths.

And, oh…  Hey.  Terri is a demon now and she kills Dell.  Were the demons able to do that all along?  I mean I know Cory’s grandpa turned into one to kill his grandma.  If they were able to do that shit from the very beginning, why don’t they just turn everyone into a fucking demon?  Why waste 98 minutes of my oh-so-busy life?

Okay, so we’re left with Cory and Elaine (and, honey, I suspect you should get away from that guy first chance you get because 1. he is really not emoting at all over the deaths of close friends and 2. he is currently carrying a shotgun), Jack, and the two new idiots who just showed up that morning.  They go into the barn that is the hotbed for the demon activity from the olden days.  The new chick that has only had time for like 3 lines, is killed by a skeletal altar for the devil.  Good job, Cory, you’re really racking up the body count.

“You killed me…” Yeah. Yeah, Cory did. He is not any of these idiots’ friend.

Demon Chuck and Demon Stacey return to fuck up everybody.  Cory uses a dagger he found with his grandma’s things to ward them off.  Demon version of new girl that showed up that I don’t know what her name is and reveals she killed her boyfriend.  Cory stabs her with the dagger and she changes back to normal before vanishing.  Oh, but not before saying “You killed me” to Cory to help drive home the point that you do not want to be friends with Cory if you want to be among the living.

So a bunch of demons start pouring out of the barn, but they aren’t able to get into the house to get Cory, Elaine, and Jack because the spells set up to try to protect his grandparents are still working to keep them out.  But thanks to the titular demon wind, I guess the demons broke the spells so they can start getting into the house.

Jack, like a fucking dumbass, goes to the back rooms to check them out to see if… his Hot Pockets are finished baking?  To see if the laundry is done?  To see if he has to make his bed?  To pick up his toys before his mom finally throws them all away?  I dunno.  Elaine and Cory hold down the fort in the living room with that shotgun that has way too many bullets.  Jack tries to fight off Demon Terri but she bites him.  He then sees Bonnie begging for his help before fading into the fog.

You know what would be a real kick to the tits? Cory saying, “Elaine, we need to talk…”

After taking about 45 shots, Cory finally reloads the shotgun.  He has Elaine go get Jack so they can get the diary and find a way to get rid of these demons.  Guess what?  Jack’s a demon.  Demon Jack feels Elaine’s boobs up, but she stabs him with the other dagger freeing him from the curse.

Cory and Elaine try to fight off the demons, but they are too strong.  I also realize there are still like 17 fucking minutes left in this fucking movie.  Elaine and Cory are the final ones alive.  What the hell?  Just as the demons move in for the kill, they are summoned away by “The Master”.  This gets a little weird.  So I think this is the gas station guy, Harcourt, or just some other random old fart in the town.  He commands the demons to all merge into him and he becomes, like, a super demon or something.  When he appears as the super demon, Bonnie reappears normally, but she gets grabbed by the super demon and he eats her throat out turning her into a skeleton.

The super demon dude comes into the house and prepares to kill Elaine and Cory.  They use the diary to summon some great protector thing.  And that thing possesses Cory.  And it’s an anti-demon or a space alien or something?  Guys…  I don’t know what the fuck is happening anymore.  This shit just turned into fucking Alien Nation or something and I thought I was watching a demon movie…

Oh and to top all this off?  They have their tough guy bravado speeches back and forth about how he’s going to make the super demon guy pay for everything he’s done.  Then Cory kicks the super demon in the balls.  No shit.  He kicks him in the balls.

The demon kicks Cory’s ass (because of course he does).  He comes to on the floor with everyone standing around him.  It doesn’t take long before the facade is dropped and they all turn into demons – including Elaine.  But then he returns to the real world and Elaine is a demon still and he fixes her, but maybe she’s dead?  Turns out that Cory realizes that the super demon is scared of them because they have life, something he doesn’t have.  After a brief, but also a really long, showdown, Elaine reads the final spell in the diary and sends the super demon back to hell and changes Cory back to normal.

Holy shit this movie is weird.  Okay, I’ve already covered in great detail the two main failings of this movie.  Characters don’t react appropriately to stuff happening and the continuity issue.  But that end, tho.  Woof.  So you have a showdown between a super demon and an angel?  I didn’t see that coming.  Though, quite frankly, I guess I didn’t know what to look for because I couldn’t figure out if the movie would ever get anywhere.

I’ll still stand by the attempt at production value in working with the half million they had.  I’ll also say that the atmosphere of the movie is fairly decent.  But whoa…  This is one of those movies that make you scratch your head and ask how it could ever actually be released with the issues it had.  If you can check it out, do so.  It’s on Amazon Prime currently, but you should be able to very easily find it.  It’s a fairly crazy movie.  The first hour will have you scratching your head over stuff, but then that last 20 minutes or so is kooky as shit.

I’m not sure it’s going to get much better next week.  It’s time to go overseas to Italy again to watch a movie from a fantastic horror director – Lucio Fulci.  However, next week’s movie is usually deemed one of his worst, if not the worst of his films, Demonia.  See you back here for that in one week!

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