Jean Rollin's THE DEMONIACS review

Discussion in 'Reader Reviews' started by RyanPC, Jul 22, 2003.

  1. RyanPC

    RyanPC Guest

    When you say the name Jean Rollin, most of the time there are only two films which pop into your mind immediately: The Grapes of Death and The Living Dead Girl, both of which were probably his most popular films. There is one film, however that ranks with both of them, although not many consider it one of his best. Made in 1974, THE DEMONIACS is another classic Jean Rollin film, and in this review, we are going to see how Redemption measures up with this release.


    The Plot

    Two pirates, their captain, and the captain's mistress are having some fun along the beach when suddenly, two girls emerge, calling for the pirates to help them. Their clothes are tattered and they look quite beaten up, as if they have no where to go. The pirates show no mercy at all towards them, raping and murdering them after a bit of struggling. After the girls are dead, they all go to the local pub to have a few drinks and party. The captain begins to hallucinate, seeing the two girls in the pub with him, appearing and reappearing in different places, sometimes with blood on their faces. He sees blood in his beer glass, and finally looses it, throwing the table over and yelling for them to come and get him. Finally he calms down, but he might not have been totally wrong about them coming back. The woman who owns the pub has second sight, and knows the girls will come back to get him. In fact, they do come back, after making a pact with the devil, a somewhat handsome but strange looking fellow who has sex with them in order to transfer his power to them for a short time, so that they might get revenge.

    The girls go to the pub and come after the pirates. Surprisingly, the girls do nothing to harm them. They just stand there, looking at the pirates. One of them stabs one of the girls with a knife, and the pirates are shocked to see she hasn't moved an inch, nor does she show any sign of pain. The girls leave the pub and go back to the devil.

    The pirates decide to come after them. What will happen to the girls? Will the girls have a chance to kill them before their powers wear off? Or will the pirates kill them first? I have purposefully left some major plot points out so as not to spoil anything in this excellent film.

    This is my second Rollin outing, my first being The Living Dead Girl, and I must say I am very impressed-- it makes me want to seek out ALL of Rollin's films. This is often said to be his most expressionistic film. I love Rollin's filmmaking style: this film shows off the beautiful French landscape as I have never before seen in a film. It really is magnificent and beautiful, and I think anyone who watches this brilliant film will think so too.

    The only thing some people may have trouble swallowing in this film is the French soundtrack, as Redemption doesn't offer an English dub, only English subtitles for the film. I don't mind watching a film in another language, and I think The Demoniacs benefits greatly from it. Even though it is in French, you can tell the stars of the film are giving some great performances. I quite enjoyed watching this film in it's original language, and thankfully the whole thing was in French. When I watched Redemption's The Living Dead Girl, I noticed the soundtrack switching from French to English in some parts. It's wonderful that Redemption was able to get The Demoniacs all in French.

    Rating: 5/5


    Video Quality

    Redemption has given The Demoniacs a non-anamorphic widescreen presentation (1.75:1), in it's original aspect ratio. I must say that this HAS to be the best the film has ever looked. Colors were nice and vivid (especially in the scenes that take place at the pub, the reds stand out quite nicely) and there was only some slight grain in some places, but it was never distracting. Seeing the film the way it was meant to be seen is always a HUGE plus for me, and it makes The Demoniacs all the more enjoyable.

    Rating: 4/5


    Sound Quality

    Although it is only Dolby Digital Mono, I feel that this is all that is required for a wonderful presentation of The Demoniacs. The sound was crystal clear, and I detected no distortion whatsoever. Another great thing about The Demoniacs was the score, and this track shows it off just fine, even if it does sound a little weak. A Surround or Stereo track is always preferred over Mono, but I feel this does the trick just fine.

    Rating: 3/5


    Special Features

    While it certainly won't qualify as a special edition, what Redemption has included is nice, if a bit small. There are the standard Chapter Selections and Subtitles, but those really don't count as extras, even if they are nice to have. Also included is the Theatrical Trailer, which looks about as good as the movie, although it is a little bit more grainy. It's nice to have, even if it is a bit stupid. It's wordless and lasts a little over three minutes. I'd rather take my time to watch the whole movie than sit and watch a three minute trailer, as the movie itself is SO much more interesting. I also recommend you watch the movie before the trailer as it has some spoilers and also won't make you very excited to watch the movie itself. There is also a photo gallery and a Jean Rollin filmography, if you are interested in all the films he has made. The gallery is nice, and is divided into three sections: Behind the Scenes Photos, Stills, and Publicity Photos. The Behind the Scenes gallery is by far the shortest (with only a few photos). The Stills gallery is the longest (but even then it isn't too long) but is the least interesting as all of the photos are from the movie. The Publicity gallery is the most interesting, as it has a few posters and ads that were used to promote the movie. All in all, the special features are nice to have, and I have to give Redemption credit for finding all that they did, since I have this feeling there isn't a whole lot of stuff out there that could be included in extra features, as this movie seems like it would be a bit rare. A commentary with Jean Rollin would have been nice, since he is still living, but maybe next time, if there ever is a next time.

    Rating: 2/5


    Overall

    I was quite surprised by this movie-- I found it to be a beautiful, engrossing supernatural film that I will watch again and again. I have to give Redemption credit for what they have done for the film, and also presenting it the way it should be seen: uncut, and in it's original aspect ratio and language. Another thing I must point out is the actress who plays the captain's evil girlfriend... she is so hot! Wonder whatever happened to her... ;)

    This is certainly a great buy and I recommend it to all Rollin fans.

    Overall Rating: 3.5/5
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 22, 2003
  2. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    This film is utter shit.

    Well, that's my critical analysis :)

    Glad you enjoyed it though, Ryan.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2003
  3. RyanPC

    RyanPC Guest

    :eek:

    Glad you thought so, because now it's mine! :D

    Thanks for the excellent trade! :lol:
     
  4. dvdasia62

    dvdasia62 Guest

    Terrific film, as is just about everything Rollin has cranked out. By far, my favorite Director. Not a one I didn't like with the slight exception of "Rape Of The Vampire". The man is a genius!
     
  5. The Chaostar

    The Chaostar Johnny Hallyday forever

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    Love the film.
    HEY!
    The laserdisc of La Morte Vivante has a Rollin COMMENTARY. Has anybody heard this? Is it any good?
     
  6. RyanPC

    RyanPC Guest

    :eek1: How could Redemption do this to the fans?? La Morte Vivante (The Living Dead Girl) is one of my favorites!! :cry:
     
  7. indiephantom

    indiephantom Horny Spirit

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    Guys, I have a painful story about this...I bought a copy off a guy on ebay two years ago specifically for the commentary and the friggin' thing got cracked in the mail.:cry: It was devasting, so I finally just bought the Redemption disc...

    Great review Ryan. I like the film...haven't seen all of Rollin's work, but FASCINATION is possibly my favorite. I just love the visuals in that film.
     
  8. RyanPC

    RyanPC Guest

    DOH!!! That fucking sucks major ass! :cry: :D

    Thanks. Yeah both of those are great films, but I haven't seen Fascination yet. But it's definitely on my wish list! :)

    Check out my avatar! ;)
     
  9. indiephantom

    indiephantom Horny Spirit

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    Your avatar kicks major ass. [​IMG]
     
  10. RyanPC

    RyanPC Guest

    Totally!

    Even if it isn't the REAL living dead girl, it's still a hot model with long fingernails! :D
     
  11. indiephantom

    indiephantom Horny Spirit

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    Those Redemption covers are hot. They are perfect in every way for these films. There is something so sexy about the combination of women and blood...Rollin sure understood that.

    Damn, I'm still smarting about that commentary. I do have an imported book on Rollin. It has chapters on all his films and a CD soundtrack of the most recent one he did. It's been awhile since I've looked at it.
     
  12. hell ya!

    hell ya! ~Go ahead, make my day~

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    Good review, i've been meaning to get into Rollin i haven't seen and of his films yet but i do plan to. Any good place to start? :)
     
  13. DefJeff

    DefJeff Franca Stoppi's #1 fan

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    hell ya!, definitally check out LIVING DEAD GIRL as your first Rollin movie, I think its the best introduction to him, as well as his best film.

    and also, I read in another thread you've never seen a Franco film!!? get FEMALE VAMPIRE while your at it!!
     
  14. RyanPC

    RyanPC Guest

    I totally agree. The Living Dead Girl is fucking awesome! :D

    Still never saw Female Vampire though. :(

    However, I loved Exorcism, so... well, there ya go. ;)
     
  15. hell ya!

    hell ya! ~Go ahead, make my day~

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    Thanks for the suggestions, Rollin and Franco are two that i haven't checked out yet but i do want to. Both are on the list. :cool:
     
  16. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    For God's sake - try and rent first.
     
  17. RyanPC

    RyanPC Guest

    You hate Rollin with a passion, don't you Dwatts? ;)
     
  18. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    Well, firstly I would say - at the very least his fans would have to admit he's an acquired taste - so renting just makes good sense.

    As to my personal feelings - I had Demoniacs and Living Dead Girl, and found them to be utterly and completely devoid of *any* good qualities. Now, there are films mentioned on this board that people like and I dislike, certainly nothing new there. However, Rollins is an example of an extreme. I simply cannot fathom what you all see in his work (at least these two films, I'm sure as hell not going visit with anything else by him!)

    I'm not trying to insult anyone - each to their own. But seriously, those two movies were some of the worse movie moments I have had to endure (and I paid good money for it too!) Living Dead Girl was marginally better, but really, you're talking about a degree or so.

    To others who have never seen these films I'd say - try and rent first, as Rollins represents (at least in these two films) something quite unique - and I don't mean that in a good way.
     
  19. Mortis

    Mortis GARBAGE DAY!

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    How do they rank against Phenomena? ;)
     
  20. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    Oh - Phenomena is masterpiece compared to these two Rollins.

    You know, in all seriousness, there are times when I wish I lived near some of you people. I could buy a six pack and come over - and you could guide me through them... I need help dammit!
     

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