Thursday, September 8, 2011

#398. Demonia (1990)

Directed By: Lucio Fulci

Starring: Brett Halsey, Meg Register, Lino Salemme

Tag line: "No Evil Deed Goes Undone!"

Trivia:  Shot entirely on location in Syracuse, Sicily

No stranger to the horror genre, director Lucio Fulci was also no stranger to thinly constructed narratives and convoluted plots. Yet where some of his films featured a visual energy to take your mind off their puzzling stories, Demonia's tale of ghostly nuns rising from the grave was simply too far gone to be salvaged. 

A young archaeologist named Liza (Meg Register) accompanies her mentor, Paul (Brett Halsey), to Sicily, where he's digging for artifacts that date back to ancient Greece. But Liza's attentions are drawn elsewhere, to the ruins of a 15th century convent where, over 500 years earlier, some nuns were crucified for allegedly conducting Satanic rituals. Warned not to pry into the past, Liza is nonetheless compelled to uncover the truth behind this strange, somewhat evil place. 

Not so much a horror film as it is a collection of scenes flimsily strung together, Demonia will have you scratching your head shortly after the opening titles. Following a flashback to 1486, where we witness the murder of five nuns (one of the best scenes in the film, actually), we're thrown forward five centuries to a séance in Toronto, where Liza has a vision of these killings, lets out a scream, and then passes out. She can't explain what she saw, nor does she know the reason why she's drawn to the old convent, despite being told by Paul and a slew of others to stay away from it. There are a handful of dream sequences that only add to the confusion, and characters come and go with no idea of how they fit into the story. One minute, Liza and Paul are sitting on the houseboat of a fellow archaeologist named Porter (Al Cliver), discussing how the locals react to outsiders, and the next, Porter, returning home from doing a little shopping, is murdered by a topless female ghost wielding a spear gun. What the hell

Demonia is undoubtedly a bad film, yet I can't say it's a dull one; I found myself paying close attention because I honestly expected, perhaps even hoped, it would all come together in the end. Of course, it never did, but at least it held my interest. So, no...Demonia is not boring.  But it is confusing, and oh so very frustrating.

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