We’ve had some real stinkers on this long countdown of terrible films, but this week’s selection really blows: 1990’s Demon Wind.
Demon Wind is another Shudder find (thanks again, Audre). One reason I love the service is that it is unapologetic about its commitment to preserving and propagating horror films: the good, the bad, the enigmatic. In this case, they’re also preserving some real garbage. But one port’s garbage is another’s cult classic, though I doubt Demon Wind has risen to that status.
The flick is essentially a slasher, with the usual cast of obnoxious teens going to the country on some dubious errand. The main character, Cory, is heading to the abandoned family farm with his girlfriend Elaine and a motley crew of annoying friends. There are all the tropes of the slasher genre: a grizzled old man warns them away from the farm; the kids are picked off one by one; and there’s the typical 80s meathead, Dell, who is so unreasonably combative, you’re kind of glad when he dies.
The acting is absolutely terrible in this film. Eric Larson does a decent job at Cory, but the other actors are really quite bad. The guy playing Dell (Bobby Johnston) at least commits to being an aggressive jock, and even sucker punches a dude for hitting on his girlfriend. Maybe we could use more 80s machismo after all.
One of Cory’s friends is—inexplicably—a magician who does martial arts. The viewer is treated early in the film to this character kicking a beer can multiple times in mid-air, before kicking into Dell’s face. This character is so ridiculous, he’s actually likeable, and it stunk like a demon wind to see him die.
To its credit, Demon Wind does try to be creative. The titular demonic influence has engulfed this bizarre rural community, dating back at least to 1931, when Cory’s grandfather George is involved in some kind of demonic ritual. The townspeople are possessed, but the demon’s influence is at least limited to the town. That gave it a mild Lovecraftian vibe. The creature effects are good, but I’m a sucker for practical effects and horror makeup, so take that assessment with a grain of salt.
At one point, Cory somehow taps into whatever power the demon has and turns into some manner of higher being. He looks like an alien from Star Trek, and not in a good way. Because Eric Larson’s eyes are just a tad too close together, the gigantic alien forehead makes him look like Charlie Kirk:
At this point, I had no idea what was going on, but Cory and his girlfriend manage to defeat evil, waste a demonic waitress at a diner, and hit the road—with the implication that the demonic presence has not been completely eliminated.
Like many of these straight-to-video film, Demon Wind tries to do everything, and fails accordingly. There is a good story to be had here, but the execution is so sloppy and the acting is so bad, it just doesn’t gel. The most memorable part is the kung-fu magician, but even his pelvic sorcery isn’t enough to keep this film afloat.
Demon Wind‘s promotional poster promises “It’ll blow you away.” You’re better off attending a baked bean convention if that’s what you want. This flick should disappear from your playlist like a fart in the wind.