As horror fans who buy a lot of movies on VHS, we here at LAHorror.com can attest that there are some true classics that have simply been forgotten or lost in the shuffle of time. It’s our opinion that all great horror films deserve to be seen and that’s why LAHorror.com contributor Alex Ray decided to shed the spotlight on some horror films that are trapped on VHS and have yet to have a DVD release! We’ll keep featuring our favorites and be sure to let us know what your favorite is too! Enjoy people!
VHS SPOTLIGHT: “DEMONWARP”
If you’re lucky enough to stumble onto “Demonwarp,” there’s no way you don’t fall for it. Just a quick glance at the box art, and I guarantee you will be instantly smitten. Get this: George Kennedy, a were-squatch holding dynamite and Michelle Bauer. If that isn’t a recipe for awesomeness, I don’t know what is.
Sure, there have been a lot of great covers that have disguised bad movies (I’m looking at you, “Gore-Met, Zombie Chef From Hell“), but “Demonwarp” won’t disappoint. You get everything you see on the box, plus more. So much more.
We begin our tale with an old-timey holy man who witnesses a crash-landing in the woods. Or rather, something falls from the sky, and then it’s just there. Kinda looks like a spaceship, and it might be important (inasmuch as anything in this movie is important)–but without much context it’s about as random as what comes an hour later. Okay, not quite.
Cut to: George Kennedy (of “The Naked Gun” and “The Terror Within” fame) and his adult daughter are playing a board game when they’re attacked by what could be Bigfoot or a werewolf or maybe even Shrieker. Big George seems to be down for the count; his daughter gets dragged away, apparently done in by a light scratch to the face.
Jumping ahead again, we’re introduced to the requisite young folks unknowingly entering our hairy killer’s stomping ground. They butt heads with ol’ George–he’s still looking for his missing daughter–and then settle into the house from “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter” and a zillion others.
You can probably see where this is going, and yes, the first two acts are pretty standard ’80s horror fare. There’s a sex scene, a shower scene, and a sunbathing scene–all interspersed between rampaging sort-of Bigfoot shenanigans (courtesy of John Carl “The Buech” Buechler) and set to a radical synth score. Nothing wrong with any of this, but not many new ingredients are added to the formula.
That is, of course, until we get to the glorious final act. It’s got Bigfoot morphing, devil-worshipping aliens, zombies, topless Michelle Bauer ritual sacrifice and that dynamite from the cover. And at some point, I think they explain the crash from the opening of the flick, and how that led to Mr. Kennedy going all Death Wish on Bigfoot. I can’t completely spoil it because I’m not entirely sure what was happening or why, but I can certainly attest to its greatness.
How “Demonwarp” has avoided a DVD release is beyond me. All sarcasm aside, this is a thoroughly enjoyable ’80s creature feature. What’s more, it’s got an Oscar-winner, a legendary scream queen, and the brother from “Just One of the Guys.” Come on, Code Red, dig this one out of the Vidmark basement. I would gladly plunk down twenty bucks for a DVD or Blu-ray, and a lot more if it included a commentary track.
For now, I’ll be happy with my VHS copy. And if you should happen to find it anywhere (as of this writing, there are two copies on eBay), you’ll be happy with it too. 3/4 Stars
VHS Spotlight is written by LAHorror.com contributor Alex Ray.