Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Original Title: Demonoid: Messenger of Death
Year: 1981
Director: Alfredo Zacarias
Writer: David Lee Fein (writer), F. Amos Powell (writer), Alfredo Zacarias (screenplay, story)
Genre: Horror

A British woman visits her husband at the Mexican mine he is attempting to reopen and discovers that the workers refuse to enter the mine fearing an ancient curse. The couple enter the mine to prove there is no danger and inadvertently release a demon which possess people's left hands and forces them to behave in a suitably diabolical manner. The only way for a possessed person to free themselves from this torment is to cut off their left hand after which it scurries away in search of its next victim.


Hot damn I love this poster though!!!

I've cheated once again... but to my credit this time I really thought this film would be a better Mexploitation example than it actually was. I think my poodle sitting here beside me now has more of a Mexican flavor than this film! From Stuart Whitman making yet another goddamn appearance in my reviews this month, to British Samantha Eggar, and a large part of it actually taking place in Las Angeles I believe, Demonoid certainly felt far more a US production as opposed to a Mexican one.

That said, when it comes to cheap ass horror that is good for a chuckle before anything else, look no further than this one!

Hey, I found something in common with a lot of the cinema I've been reviewing this month!

In fact, Demoid: Messenger of Death was a joint USA/Mexico production, hence the lack of any Mexican lead roles most likely. The film revolves around Eggar's character Jennifer Baines, who has come to Mexico with her husband Mark (Roy Jenson) to help reopen a silver mine. As with many other things about the film, Eggar's performance is neither remarkable or offensive, it's just kinda there. I suppose in a low-budget horror film that speaks for something, but really this month I'm hoping for more in either positive or negative direction.

I can't believe how many films I ended up watching that had Stuart Whitman in them. He is far less gravely and "old school" here as Father Cunningham, which normally would be fine, but a straight laced priest is not what I was hoping for! I want the attitude and melodrama, come on!

All is not lost, as there are some very funny deliveries by other actors in the film, most likely unintentionally. Take for instance the cop speaking before he is getting a plastic surgeon to remove his cursed hand...

"In the name of evil, you and I must obey."

Haha what the fuck does that even mean?

I suppose these humorous deliveries and lines can be attributed more to the writing and direction of Zacarias. This story is one that most definitely sounded good in theory. Characters having a possessed left hand sounded massively entertaining. I love the scene in Evil Dead II when Ash's hand becomes possessed and he has a battle with it. The hand hijinx in Demonoid are similar, but just on a much smaller scale. The special effects are definitely lacking, and while it was fun seeing how each possessed person would ultimately attempt to remove their hand, they all lacked that oomph we are really hoping for, with the exception being the final removal in the film. That one is pretty sweet!

The presentation and shooting of the film is never anything special outside of a few OK dark scenes. As I said with the performances, everything is just kind of middle of the road. Unfortunately this film has never been released on DVD, so this was simply a hazy VHS copy which really doesn't help the cause one bit. Most likely due to the budget constraints and a desire to hide flaws, the scenes with dismembered hand are cut way too quickly. The wiggly rubber hand you do get to see is pretty cool, but probably for the wrong reasons. Some other effects such as the flash of a Devil statue upon possession, or the transformation of the hand initially from dust to a more solid form are just done very clunkily.

Demonoid: Messenger of Death started off strong with a flashback scene containing huge boobs and gore and screaming, hooray!, but ultimately fizzled out by the end for me. The story doesn't make much sense, the characters are not compelling at all, the special effects are often too hidden to give any sort of entertainment value, good or bad, and nothing really stood out besides what could have been.

Moderate recommendedation I suppose if you can find it, but I wouldn't try too hard.

Score: 4.25 / 10


Emily said...

Ha! When I think Mexican exploitation, I naturally think Samantha Eggar.

pickleloaf said...

haha yeah yeah rub it in!