A customer of mine came to see me in work last night to check out this week’s horror releases. I happened to mention that Demon Legacy was out today but I hadn’t seen it yet, although when I do there will be a review going up on The Schlock Pit. He said “Don’t sweat it Dave, I bought it from the supermarket this morning – it looked really good”. After the growing scandal in the UK home entertainment biz in the last few weeks I felt compelled to ask him why he was drawn to a title making its DVD debut with little advertising and no real buzz. “Well, the cover quote sold it to me, and also it was an ‘18’ – and you don’t get many ‘18’ certificate horror movies anymore, so I figured I’d take a chance”.
Does anyone see anything wrong with that? No? On the face of it neither do I. However, in an age of austerity I personally like to make sure that what I’m buying is an ethical, valued purchase. So let’s undertake a brief evaluation of what made this customer of mine take his hard earned wages and buy this movie – not stream it, not download it for free, BUY it.
Exhibit A) The cover quote. “A twisted, terrifying tale of possession” (darkzone.net). Go check that website out. You see it? Yeah, it’s a static page of Homer Simpson’s brain. How insulting is that? Darkzone.net does not exist as a horror movie review site.
Exhibit B) The ‘18’ certification. As it’s not 1989 anymore, we’re (at times) lucky enough to live in a fairly transparent world where such minutiae as BBFC decisions can be looked at by members of the public. So if you head over to bbfc.co.uk then click on ‘advanced search’, type in Demon Legacy and it will show you that on the 28th April the movie was actually awarded a ‘15’ certification. But wait – there are caveats that may lead to a film company putting an ‘18’ on a film like this, for example if it contains a trailer that bears that certification or alternatively if there are extra features with specific content that raises the original classification. Demon Legacy has no extra features, but with a trailer for Heretic prior to the menu then that could well be the reason for the ‘18’. Either way, in days gone by there was always a note on the back of the box which stated that the certificate of the main feature was a ‘15’ but package raised to an ‘18’ due to other content. So this higher certification placed on Demon Legacy is fine, but surely the film company owes its customers a degree of honesty and transparency with regard to the certification of the film itself?
Anyway at the risk of sounding like an old Simon Bates VRA warning, “whenever you rent or buy a video… “ do some due diligence! Yeah, we shouldn’t have to – but we owe it to ourselves as consumers to ensure we’re not being sold something that’s telling porkies.
Should I review the film now? Eileen Dietz! She without doubt provided the scariest moment in horror history in one or maybe two frames that have given me many nightmares over the years. Any ideas? Of course you do, she was the face of the demon Pazuzu in the original Exorcist, so it was a welcome surprise to find her in this somewhat old school sorority sister’s horror movie.
Michelle (Holmes) is in a lonely place. Having recently split from her boyfriend Randy (Grant Alan Ouzts) with whom she also shared an apartment with, she’s desperate to get out of the city for a while to clear her head and rid herself of these demon infested dreams that she keeps having. The place where she seeks to remedy her ills is a remote mountain lodge, where she is swiftly joined by four longstanding college friends who are armed with the intention of helping Michelle get over her break-up.
The first night sees the girls actively trying to recreate their hedonistic college days by breaking out the booze and cranking up the music, but such hijinks is about to be short-lived as this lodge seems to have a strange supernatural aura – laughably embodied by some lingering smoke making its way into the property! Needless to say, with an air of uncertainty and a chilling atmosphere circling the property the girls decide to cut their losses, pack up and go home.
No they don’t! They go and dust down a Ouija board of course…
The underlying thing that made Demon Legacy a frustrating watch for me were the moments of unintentional hilarity. From the demonic smoke, to the comedic jerking of those possessed to the utterly bizarre cameo from John Savage as ‘The Codger’, at times it was hard to distinguish this movie from a straight-laced horror to unintentional parody. The shoddy special effects that were used did little to help my state of open-mouthed bemusement, and the film could easily have done without them and still managed to convey what it set out to do.
As usual in a lot of DTV horror, the foundations are there for something good but here they’re just poorly executed. Sorority based horror films, as with those that utilise the staple of the Ouija board have been cluttering the horror shelves for decades and with a modicum of success, which makes the disappointment of Demon Legacy all the more frustrating.