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Demonoid (1980) - Blu-ray Review

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Demonoid (1980) - Blu-ray Review

Movie Review

3 beers“Cut off my hand or you die!” screams one affected member of this cast when faced with the consequences of the devil’s left hand. It is only one line of dialogue out of any other such scripted nonsense that receives a loud guffaw from the audience. This b-grade flick, full of firewalking stuntmen and even a manic car chase, is loaded with such low-level hilarity.

And it’s all because of a hand.

Demonoid is a movie that gets shit on time and time again. The reason for this massive amount of dumpage on the part of critics is twofold, I believe. First of all, there is the FANTASTIC art for this Mexican supernatural horror film that the film absolutely can’t compete with. It’s epic on a level that many b-movies can only dream about. Strike one.

Secondly, after the first five minutes, the film simply peters out as Samantha Eggar and Stuart Whitman (who goes toe-to-toe in the boxing ring) try to track down and destroy a demonic hand that likes to kill, kill, kill its way back to its owner. The film has a few key moments – one in which Lew Saunders as Sergeant Leo Matson discovers that a recently buried corpse is slamming his car door repeatedly to free the demonic hand – in which the movie sparks.

The bottom line is that Demonoid is just not as bad as its critics suggest. Trust me, it could have been much worse than this; this shit could have made sense.

Written, produced, and directed by Mexican director Alfredo Zacarías, Demonoid’s opening is certainly a solid way to get your attention. We are way in the past. Underground in some dark place, there is a cult of yellow-hooded devil worshipping monks gathered. A fight breaks out and soon enough they are chaining a struggling blonde to the wall. Wait. What? Satanic monks?

Anyway – but, truthfully, because there is no other nudity in the movie – her top rips open and her massive breasts reveal themselves as she thrashes about. A man with a sharp and pointed object approaches her. She screams. There is a reflection flash from the silver blade and, for one blinding second, we see the promised Demonoid.

And this dude, surrounded by mist and appearing in silhouette, means business. He’s tall and horned and holds high over his head a gigantic sword. Cue the lightening bolts. Seriously. Looking like something straight out of He-Man, this villain strikes. He is obviously happy with what is about to happen.

And with that silver blade, the men cut off the blonde’s … hand. It falls to the earth AND THEN STARTS CRAWLING AWAY! For fuck’s sake what the hell is happening?! The hand is caught and encased in a silver hand-sized box.

Rollback the feed, Boils and Ghouls, because – if you look close enough at the brief flash from the Demonoid – you will notice through the smog that this horned monstrosity is missing a hand. Ah. Now, it makes perfect sense. The monks were doing some sort of ritual to help Mr. Demonoid get himself a brand new hand.

How exactly does a Demonoid lose a hand? We will never know.

Because, as we lift off into the modern era and this mine becomes all-important once the hand is discovered, we know that this horror movie will be about a demonic left hand that attacks people. The characters become boring way too early, the storyline is unintentionally hilarious, accents slip in and out of sentences, and – outside of a twisted ending in which a cleverly-shot sequence caps off this handsy horror title – the film is just a bit too dull.

Demonoid, thanks to a new 2K scan from the original 35mm camera negative, arrives on blu-ray thanks to Vinegar Syndrome. Horror gets a handjob.

 

Film Details

Demonoid (1980) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 78 mins
Director: Alfredo Zacarías
Writer: David Lee Fein, F. Amos Powell
Cast: Samantha Eggar, Stuart Whitman, Roy Jenson
Genre: Horror
Tagline: Messenger of Death!
Memorable Movie Quote: "You either cut off my hand, or I'll kill you!"
Theatrical Distributor: American Panorama
Official Site:
Release Date: June, 1981
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: October 20, 2015
Synopsis: 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?

Demonoid (1980) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Vinegar Syndrome
Available on Blu-ray - October 20, 2015
Screen Formats:
1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

Newly scanned and restored in 2k from the 35mm original camera negative, Blood Beat looks wholly new once again. Demonoid suffers from a bit of an identity crisis. It’s not unlike an art house film by way of regional slasher and it looks it, too. But then we get the concrete of Las Vegas as the hunt for the hand leads to gambling and, eventually, a car chase. High details are present throughout the location, though. There are a few moments where the print damage is noticeable, but not enough to be concerning at all. For the most part, this region free Blu-ray/DVD combo pack is superb, handling strong black levels and an upgrade in the color dynamics, too. The transfer is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and supports a strong audio presentation of DTS-HD Master Audio Mono.

Supplements:

Commentary:

None

Special Features:

Fans get a new video interview with writer/director Alfredo Zacarías and multiple looks at the film’s trailers and an artwork gallery. A DVD copy and reversible cover artwork are both included with the release.

Alfredo Zacarías Interview

Theatrical Trailers

TV Spot

Artwork Gallery

Demonoid (1980) - Blu-ray Review

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