Saturday, November 2, 2013

Demon Rage (1982)

Directed by Jame Polakof
Starring Lana Wood, Britt Eckland, Don Galloway 
Rated R 

“The forces of evil are strongest when you are weakest.”

Demon Rage. Holy fuck.

Someone is chasing Lana Wood down the beach. She's in a nightie. 54 seconds in, her giant boobs fall out and start flapping in the breeze. There's an incessant synthesizer blaring away madly, it sounds like the intro to a Norwegian black metal song. You also hear the roar of the ocean. In fact, you will continue to hear the roar of the ocean for the next 90 minutes. It's overcast, there's a mysterious figure up on the hill, draped in black. Lana runs in slow-motion, trying to hold her boobs in place so they don't blacken her eyes. She rushes toward her dimly lit beach house, finally making it to the front stairs. She rushes up the stairs only to find a dead-eyed man-demon waiting for her.

Lana is Lisa. Lisa wakes up screaming. It was all a terrible nightmare. Her daughter Michelle (Sherry Scott) rushes in, alarming by mom's screams. She tells her it was just a bad dream, the second one this week. She asks where her husband is.  Michelle tells her he's out doing his morning “rituals”.  Mom tells her to get ready for school. She does. Mom's nipple has been showing the entire time. Daughter was cool enough to not mention it.

A few minutes later, we're out on the deck. Dad's morning ritual is an invigorating swim in the ocean. Mom and daughter watch. Daughter grouses about how weird this new house is, and how mom and dad fight all the time now. Mom assures it's just because dad's under a lot of pressure to get the new shopping mall done. He's an architect. The school bus comes for Michelle, which is strange, because she looks about 19. The actresses have to yell over the roar of the ocean. As if it wasn't loud enough, wind noises are also piped in.

As soon as her daughter splits, Lisa descends the stairs and walks on to the beach to greet Burt  (Tom Hallick), who's through with his swim. She hands him a towel and starts to disrobe, hoping to spark some romance. He tells her there's no time, he's too busy, she knows what it's like when he's got a project. “We've got to stop this,” she tells him. “You've been working on a project for two years, what about our project?”
“Pushy bitch,” he spits, and then saunters off.

Are you ready to kill yourself yet? Good, let's roll credits. During the credits, a title card flashes with some glowing eyes and a heavy metal font that says “There is a growing belief that in the world of psychic phenomena the loneliness of a human being may be our direct link to...the supernatural.” Which is bullshit in many different ways. They also suggest that what we are about to see is a true story. It is not. Although it is based on another bullshit story.

After the credits, Lisa goes back to bed. A purple blob materializes, tears off the covers, and has sex with her. Lana Wood is completely nude at this point. There's a flash of bush. You forget about the dumb movie for a moment and just start to feel Lana's existential dread. That's the real horror, here. You can see it in her eyes.  You can hear the inner-dialogue going on. “I'm getting paid to pretend I'm being fucked by a ghost. I'm 40 fucking years old and my goddamn sister is Natalie Wood. How many wrong turns did I take to get here?”

I sometimes have those dark thoughts myself, Lana, but I don't let it affect my work. I fuck the purple ghost and move on, man.

Later that evening, dinner at Lisa and Burt's. Their pals and Ann-Marie (Britt Eckland) and Carl (Don Galloway) have dropped by. Carl sounds just like Alan Alda. It's weird. It's also weird how he blatantly hits on Lisa, right in front of everybody.  As if dinner wasn't awkward enough, Ann-Marie bring up her job as a fucking psychic while Lisa and Burt stare off into space. And then  a black cat shows up out of nowhere and sits on Lisa's lap. Burt orders Michelle to get rid of it, but when she goes to pick it up, it tears open her finger and she starts bleeding everywhere.  And that's how dinner ends.

That night, the purple blob turns into the face of a low-budget magician, and then the ghost-demon-magician fucks Lisa again, with Burt snoozing away beside her.

The next morning, Michelle talks to mom about dad and the cat and the house. She thinks something's gone awry, but she can't quite put her finger on it yet. On her way out the door for school, she sees a statue's eye cry blood. She's startled, but doesn't seem to think it's remarkable enough to mention to her mom. Off to school she goes.

Meanwhile, Lisa's out on the deck having coffee when she spots of a couple of the local kids goofin' off. They say hello and the dude goes into a weird Columbo routine. That would have been topical in 1982.  She's a little rattled that he mentioned lonely chicks and ghosts, and also we haven't seen her tits for five minutes, so she decides to take a shower. And wouldn't you know it, she gets ghost-raped in there, too.

Later that day, Burt comes home from work and finds that Lisa has moved into the spare room because she 'needs some time for herself'. Also, Michelle sees the rape-ghost in the fireplace. Also, because you might actually hear what they're saying, Burt and Michelle talk directly in front of the fireplace, so their dialogue is drowned out by the crackling fire.

Lisa's in the spare room, quietly painting the rape-ghost's eyes, minding her own business. Burt, being the douchebag he is, has to go upstairs to yell at her. She glares and grouses until he splits. Now that he's gone, the rape-ghost materializes into an actual swarthy, Egyptian-magician looking rapist, and has his way with her again. That's too many times, man. What's this guy think this is, some kinda strawberry festival?

At this point, Burt tries to reconcile with Lisa, but it's too late, he's lost her to the sex demon, who takes her day and night. When he's not banging her, she's locked up in the spare room, painting weird pictures of him. It's a very unhealthy situation.

It is important to know, at this point, that there's a guillotine in the basement. We don't know why yet. Maybe everyone had a guillotine in their basement in 1982? At any rate, the lights are also out in the basement, and Burt wants to go down there to drag up a kayak or some bullshit, so he gets a flashlight and heads on down. Also he closes the door behind him, which seems like a really weird thing to do. Amazingly, he does not end up getting his head cut off. Yet. Also, Michelle tries to talk to her mom about how weird she's acting, but she's in a hot tub, so between the water jets and the fucking ocean, who knows what she said.

Meanwhile, Burt meets up with Ann-Marie to discuss Lisa. Because it wasn't noisy enough at the beach, they go to a restaurant and sit right next to a bubbling water fountain. Ann-Marie thinks she knows what's up. She's gonna do some psychic investigating. Meanwhile, the demon-fucking continues unabated. Burt comes home mid demon-coitus and tries to catch him in the act, but this is some squirrely sex demon.

What the fuck, Burt takes advantage of the moment and bangs his wife. The demon is definitely not gonna like that. In fact he watches, with furrowed brow, from across the room. He may also be masturbating under his black robe, who knows.

Bummed out, the demon stares at a throbbing eyeball on the wall while some chick dressed up like Kate Bush laughs at him and calls him a fool. Then she heads out to the beach where she bumps into Michelle, and starts babbling to her about the devil. Michelle's not into it, and she hauls ass out of there. Imagine how awesome it would be, though, if it was 1982 and you're walking along the beach and Kate Bush pop up from under the pier and tells you to worship Satan. What a day that would be!

Boy, Burt must've given it to Lisa good, because the next day she's bubbly and happy, but it only lasts for a couple seconds because the demon makes blood spurt out of Michelle fingers! Lisa asks Burt to take her to school or the doctor or someplace so she can work some kinda plan to get rid of the rape-ghost. Naturally, she calls Ann-Marie. She comes by and they hot tub together. They start talking about Lisa's problem and then the water starts heating up and almost boils them alive!

Lisa runs upstairs and finds the demon sitting in a rocking chair and confronts him. “Why are you doing this?” She asks. He responds by banging her. So my guess is he's doing it for the sex.

And then Michelle has a psychedelic nightmare. Can you imagine seeing this movie in a theater? You'd never be the same. Probably the people who saw this in the theater in 1982 are still in an asylum somewhere.

Burt has a dream about having sex with Britt Eckland while Lana Wood and the rape-demon watch. But who hasn't, am I right fellas?

Speaking of Ann-Marie, she and Carl show up at the beach house for a visit. While she's waiting for Lisa to come downstairs, Ann-Marie sees cloven hoof prints in the sand! That's not a good sign.

Lisa and Ann-Marie stroll down the beach and Ann-Marie explains how the demon keeps banging Lisa so that he doesn't have to go to hell. Something like that, it's very noisy on that beach.

Back in the house, the lights go out again, so Carl goes down the basement to fix the circuit. Don't go down there, Carl, there's a goddamn guillotine down there!

He goes down there anyway. RIP Carl. The ambulance shows up and gathers up Carl's body parts. “I can't figure it,” says the cop.  As she rides away with her hubby's head, Ann-Marie issues a stern warning to Burt. “Get out before he gets you, too!”

And so that's what they do. They get in their car and drive off. The end.

No, they don't, they stick around. At Carl's funeral, Ann-Marie introduces Burt to a priest who is actually John Carradine collecting his weekly paycheck. He tells them a bunch of gibberish about how demons are attracted to loneliness, and about how they can take over the body of some really lonely fucker. By the way, there was all this wind-noise during the funeral, but no wind was actually blowing.

So, they head back to the house, and all hell breaks loose. Literally. Like the basement is now hell. 1980's heavy metal hell with fire and demons and naked chicks. One final peek at Lana's full-bush is included in the deal. I'm not sure what happens next – and I don't think the filmmakers did either – but it resolves itself somehow. Basically they went, “Ok, five minutes of fire and synthesizers, that'll explain everything, right?”

And in the end, frisbee and Michelle in a bikini and goodtimes and no hassles. It's finally over. Or is it?

Well, the fucking movie is over, that's for sure. Lisa's on her own for now on.

James Polakof made another movie around this time called The Vals which is just as inexplicable as this one. I feel there is a good chance that James Polakof is literally crazy. Sometimes you can get away with that in Hollywood, at least for a movie or two, before you get locked up again. I don't know where he is today, I wish I did, I have many questions for him, like why all the water, James? Why is water splashing or pouring or crashing in every fucking scene in this movie? And why did Lana Wood look like she wanted to cry in every scene? Not her character, mind you, but Lana herself? What mental tortures did you put her through? Perhaps more importantly, why did they have a working fucking guillotine in their basement? And who exactly told you that lonely people attract sex demons? You only hear shit like that in psych wards, so that's probably where you picked that up. Anyway, even though you made a terrible movie, it is also an awesome, incredible movie, one that sucks you in with the boobs and the bad vibes and keeps you entranced with terrible filmmaking and ridiculous acting and atrocious dialogue and then tries to wrap things up with public access TV style special effects. I love you and I hate you equally, James Polakof, you magnificent bastard. And I just straight-up love this loony movie. See it and FEEL THE DOOM.

- Ken McIntyre 

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