It’s a funny thing. I haven’t seen Demonoid since I was kid, and I couldn’t remember a thing about it, but there was something that inspired an actual moment of fear in me while watching it after all these years. Let’s get one thing straight; Demonoid is a just a little bit schlocky in the best way possible. In fact, I dare say that schlock is the new chic. Where arthouse once dazzled the repertory, retro loving crowd, the trend is moving to appreciating strange, old B grade Horror meat. It’s a beautiful time to be a fan of physical media, and even more so, it’s a renaissance for the nearly forgotten, sawed off, camp and cheese factories like Demonoid. That being said, what could have possibly inspired moments of actual fear in my while enjoying the new Vinegar Syndrome transfer on Blu-ray? Something wholly unrelated to the movie itself, but something deeply personal to me. Let’s talk about that and then discuss why this one is a great companion to your Halloween festivities.
Disembodied hands creep me out. Whether it be a modern movie like Idle Hands or something older like The Hand, they set off a shock button. It all began with Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors in that regard. The story featuring murder-bent art critic played by Christopher Lee runs over an artist who gets the better of the sour old critic. In that accident, the artist loses his hand, eventually kills himself and comes back from the grave to get his revenge… well part of him does… his severed hand. That hand haunts me, and if you haven’t yet enjoyed that movie/story you can pick it up in the US from Olive or in a newly crafted steel book in the UK. Somehow watching Demonoid formed a connection between the young Doc as a child, watching Dr. Terror with his mother and getting supremely freaked out. It’s actually somewhat of a gift because it allows me to appreciate Demonoid in a way that may not be available to others. I thought it was worth mentioning and as a strange personal connection to this film that came from this new viewing.
Demonoid itself is NOT altogether scary but features some superior camp violence and gore that is truly fun to behold. Severed hands marching about on their own, spreading a strange curse between completely normal individuals; this is the kind of thing that one might imagine as the root of a movie like Idle Hands some twenty plus year later. Now the severed hands in question are clearly using an old disembodying technique that has existed for ages but the execution is actually quite effective. Of course the kills that follow utilizing these free floating hands is the perfect kind of overdramatic, hamfisted acting that makes a movie like this as humorous as it is gruesome. All things said though, the storyline is quite original and keeps the audience guessing while individual are picked off one by one while we wait to uncover the mystery of the hands and how to stop the dreaded curse. The ending of Demonoid really does excel as a monster/supernatural possession story and goes beyond the rudimentary effects driven kill by numbers we see throughout the first three fourths of the movie.
This is a powerhouse release from Vinegar Syndrome with excellent transfer that displays the grain structure of the original camera negative with rich black and appropriate color saturation. The cover art features both the traditional Demonoid poster/cover artwork as well as the alternate artwork and title, Macabra, on the reverse. Furthermore, related to the other title you have the option of viewing the international version in English or French. Alfredo Zacarias, the Director, provides a video interview that will be of interest to fans of this feature.
This December I’m in for a real treat, having the opportunity to check out Demonoid on 35mm at Hudson Horror Show 12, and I hope to see many of you there. The VinSyn guys should be in attendance selling their wares including Demonoid and the other October releases.
You can order Demnoid from Vinegar Syndrome now.
You can also order the bundle and save a few bucks as well as get the new Blu-ray of Frightmare!
From Vinegar Syndrome:
At a dig in rural Mexico, a British industrialist accidentally unleashes an ancient evil: a severed hand, possessed by a vengeful demon, that attacks, kills and takes over the hand and mind of anyone who interferes with its ruthless quest for violence. Determined to stop the bloodshed, the wife of the industrialist (Samantha Eggar) joins forces with a renegade priest (Stuart Whitman), but will they be able to conquer the evil hand before the forces of hell overtake them?
Directed by Alfredo Zacarias (THE BEES), DEMONOID is a classic slice of early 80s horror sleaze, full of outrageous and violent deaths, ludicrous plot twists and a pounding musical score. Presented here is the first official DVD and Blu-ray release of DEMONOID in both its original US version as well as its radically re-edited international cut, known as MACABRA, newly restored from the original negatives!
Directed by Alfredo Zacarias
1980 / 79 minutes / English / Color / 1.85:1
+ Blu-ray/DVD Combo | Region Free | 1.85:1 OAR
+ Restored in 2k from 35mm camera negative
+ All extras on both Blu-ray and DVD
+ Alternate International version: MACABRA (90 min)
+ New video interview with Director Alfredo Zacarias
+ Multiple theatrical trailers and TV spot
+ Original artwork gallery
+ Reversible MACABRA artwork
+ Optional French soundtrack for MACABRA
+ English SDH subtitles for both DEMONOID & MACABRA