Monday, April 20, 2009

Demonwarp (1988)

Oh wow...For the 80s horror fan who feels they have seen it all, Demonwarp has it all in one. This is not your average Bigfoot/aliens/zombie movie. No sir, this one is weird!
The film opens with a guy dressed like an Amish person walking in a field spotting a UFO (offscreen) crash in the mountains (offscreen). Cut to a cabin in the woods, present day, and George Kennedy, the grizzled B-movie veteran and star of countless Brady Bunch-era TV shows, is playing board games with his teenage daughter. A large Bigfoot type creature crashes through the door, knocks George out, and carries off his daughter. Some idiotic kids show up later for a weekend of sex, drugs, and monitoring paranormal activities in the area with a load of electronic surveillance equipment. One of the kids (actor Billy Jayne) played Mikey, Corin Nemec’s best bud on the short-lived teen sitcom Parker Lewis Can’t Lose.
The Bigfoot stalks and kills the kids, who then turn into zombies later on in the movie. The zombies, as well as the Bigfoot, steal various types of electronic equipment from people. The Bigfoot also likes to chase hikers and rip their head off, then throw it like he’s spiking a football. Then the alien conspiracy is uncovered. The aliens, who crashed their UFO at the beginning of the movie, need to use the stolen radios and electronics for spare parts so they can fix their spaceship. But these aren’t just ordinary aliens, they are demons from outer space. Demonic rituals take place on their UFO, parked deep in the haunted woods and guarded by the Bigfoot creature.
Demonwarp is a laughably bad film, and plenty weird. It’s not weird in the schizo “acid-trip” way, more like a “stoned-on-lots-of-weed-and-xanax.” It’s like the directors and writers (there were probably several of them) forgot what was going on in the film from scene to scene, sometimes from one line of dialog to the next. Whenever they were bored and wanted more action, yet another fantasy-horror subplot was added. The film started out with space aliens, then Bigfoot got thrown in the mix, along with some demons, a little gunplay, sex scenes, then a bunch of zombies show up and it turns into a zombie movie.
The Bigfoot monster was designed by John Carl Buechler, the veteran effects artist who created better known monsters in films like Re-animator (1985), Ghoulies (1985), From Beyond (1986), and Demonic Toys (1992).
Buechler is quite the renaissance man when it comes to making horror movies, having also directed films such as Troll (1986), and Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988). He did gore effects for Halloween 4 and Halloween 6, Nightmare on Elm St. 4, and Freddy’s Dead, so he has been involved in the three biggest franchises in horror movie history.
This poor film does not have the bad-movie fan base that other 1980s absurdities has, probably due to how hard it is to come across a copy. It was released direct-to-video by Vidmark Entertainment, a B-movie only VHS company that distributed tapes from 1984 to 1997. Vidmark brought renters their first glimpse of films like Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive (1992), Lucio Fulci’s The New York Ripper (1984), and the Leprechaun series. The company was eventually absorbed by media monster Lionsgate. Naturally, they have not released Demonwarp to DVD.
I would give them an A for effort at least, and the C stands for creativity. Or something. This film is insanely enjoyable. I would put this film, along with Night Train To Terror and Nightmare Weekend, in my list of horror films that I suspect were secretly made by 13 year old boys.