Demoniacs (Unrated Extended Cut) (Version française)
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A group of shipwrecked sailors brutally rape two young women who accidentally stumble across them. After the women escape, they ultimately make a deal with the devil in exchange for the power to exact their bloody revenge.
Jean Rollin's surreal pirate film takes place on land amidst the skeletons of beached and plundered ships, the legacy of a cutthroat band of "wreckers" who lure ships into the shallows. When a pair of survivors, young girls glowing in white nightgowns, wander through the shallows seeking help from the merry quartet, they are summarily molested, beaten, and left for dead. Like in many of Rollin's films, the story doesn't make much narrative sense--the girls escape to the haunted ruins where a woman in clown makeup cares for them and a mysterious magician gives them the power to take their revenge in return for sex--but the logic takes on a dreamlike quality appropriate to the gorgeous and bizarre imagery. In a strange tavern adorned with skeletons (and a man playing with a Dracula doll!), the Captain is haunted by visions of the girls as white-faced specters. A search for the girls amidst the rotting hulls of old ships culminates in a fiery inferno that burns spectacularly against the night sky. Meanwhile well-endowed costar Joëlle Coeur strips at the slightest suggestion, frolics and bounces on a bed, and runs around the beach topless while hunting the girls. Rollin's strange little film, a ghost story without ghosts, rambles on a little too long before it culminates in a self-destructive frenzy and ends on a sad, serene note. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
I also hate the fact that the two dolts (shipwrecked girls) never even GET their revenge but scream helplessly and actually PUT themselves in danger by running INTO danger.
Stupid. Just stupid.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The other reviewer is too harsh on this film, expecting gore and nudity to suffice as entertainment. Don't get me wrong, I love exploitation in all its forms, but am one of the few who enjoys an Art House flick as well, and if we can incorporate both in one film, I'm in heaven, while most of my exploitation brethren are bitchin' and moanin'. There's enough nudity to keep most interested, especially the scene where the female leader of the vulgar ship wreckers masturbates on the beach while watching her cruel and sadistic followers brutally rape and kill two girls who re-emerge later on as spectres after making a pact with the devil. Have I got your attention yet?
A cheesy introduction aimed at setting the background of the film introduces us to a crew of bloodthirsty pirates called Wreckers. Why the nickname? Because these dolts scavenge for treasure amongst ships washed up on the shore. This particular band of cutthroats is led by The Captain (John Rico), a sweaty buffoon who looks like he's trying to do an impression of Marty Feldman all the time. The Captain, the voice over tells us, is a ruthless leader suffering under frequent visitations from the ghosts of his myriad victims. Another crewmember is Bosco (Willy Baque), a wiry, laughable looking thug with a nasty temper. My favorite member of this comedy troupe...er, pirate gang is Tina (Joelle Coeur), a gorgeous brunette who shucks her clothes at the drop of a hat when she isn't ordering an innocent person's execution. The final member of the Wreckers is a guy whose name I forget but who looks like Mike Nesmith from The Monkees. These criminals are quite terrifying if you can stop laughing long enough. In fact, if this is the best France can offer up in the pirate department, it's no wonder their military forces lost every important war in the last two hundred years.
The biggest problem with "The Demoniacs" is that nothing of interest ever happens. Sure, you've got the Wreckers out plundering when they chance upon a pair of survivors in the form of two blonde girls in white shrifts. And you've got the Wreckers throwing the two gals around and generally acting rude. Then we see the gang in a local bar, where The Captain lurches around in one of his "I see dead people" shticks. There's also a lady at the bar whose psychic abilities often find her issuing cryptic observations to anyone who will listen. But it's just enough to raise the pulse. Then the movie shifts focus. "Ahhh," I think, "Jean Rollin will finally deliver the goods!" Yeah, right. Instead, he has the two girls discover a deserted island with some ancient ruins staffed by a girl dressed as a clown (!), a Rasputin look-alike with none of the charm of the original (!!), and what can only be Satan with a '70s bouffant wearing tacky clothing (!!!). The two young victims strike some deal with the devil that results in them receiving his powers for an evening so they can seek revenge against the Wreckers. This subsequent revenge is about as interesting as watching a coat of paint dry, laying down a second coat, and then watching that one dry as well. Jean Rollin, why hast thou forsaken me?
I suspect Jean Rollin was attempting to make a horror picture that would make the audience think, and it did--it made me think about how much I wanted to get away from the television screen! I'm almost certain the clown, the Rasputin wannabe, and Satan carried some symbolic importance, some message Rollin wished to get across to the audience, but I couldn't care less what that message is. Even the director's usual indulgences--specifically, a huge amount of nudity--failed to rescue this film from the depths of banality. The worst mistake Rollin made was leaving out the gore. I could deal a lot better with the wooden acting, the laughable dialogue, the cheesy set pieces, and the lame chase scenes if I knew I would see some sauce once in awhile. Alas, such is not to be. A guy dropping a bottle on his head? A few gunshots? Nope, not nearly exciting enough to warrant watching the picture.
The best thing about "The Demoniacs," sad to say, is the Redemption DVD intro tape at the beginning of the film. If you've seen a Redemption disc before, at least one in the Jean Rollin Collection, you know what I'm talking about. As for this disc in particular, extras include the requisite Rollin filmography, a trailer, and several different types of publicity stills. The picture transfer is excellent. While I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of Rollin's copious film history, "The Demoniacs" is the worst one I have seen, a film truly deserving of a one star review. What a disappointment after watching "Fascination," "Living Dead Girl," and to a lesser extent "Lips of Blood." I'll continue onward with my Rollin expeditions, but I hope the next few entries are vastly superior to this dead end.
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