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View Full Version : Jean Rollin's THE DEMONIACS review


RyanPC
07-22-2003, 01:53 AM
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

dwatts
07-22-2003, 02:04 AM
This film is utter shit.

Well, that's my critical analysis :)

Glad you enjoyed it though, Ryan.

RyanPC
07-22-2003, 02:15 AM
Originally posted by dwatts
This film is utter shit.

Well, that's my critical analysis :)

Glad you enjoyed it though, Ryan.

:eek:

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

Thanks for the excellent trade! :lol:

dvdasia62
07-22-2003, 03:27 AM
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!

The Chaostar
07-22-2003, 05:42 AM
Love the film.
HEY!
The laserdisc of La Morte Vivante has a Rollin COMMENTARY. Has anybody heard this? Is it any good?

RyanPC
07-22-2003, 05:47 AM
Originally posted by The Chaostar
The laserdisc of La Morte Vivante has a Rollin COMMENTARY.

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

indiephantom
07-22-2003, 06:39 AM
Originally posted by The Chaostar
Love the film.
HEY!
The laserdisc of La Morte Vivante has a Rollin COMMENTARY. Has anybody heard this? Is it any good?

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.

RyanPC
07-22-2003, 07:01 AM
Originally posted by indiephantom
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.

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! ;)

indiephantom
07-22-2003, 07:26 AM
Originally posted by RyanPC
Check out my avatar! ;)

Your avatar kicks major ass. http://www.gamers-forums.com/smilies/otn/violent/greenchainsaw.gif

RyanPC
07-22-2003, 07:33 AM
Originally posted by indiephantom
Your avatar kicks major ass. http://www.gamers-forums.com/smilies/otn/violent/greenchainsaw.gif

Totally!

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

indiephantom
07-22-2003, 07:47 AM
Originally posted by RyanPC
Totally!

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

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.

hell ya!
07-23-2003, 06:53 AM
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? :)

DefJeff
07-23-2003, 07:33 AM
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!!

RyanPC
07-23-2003, 07:38 AM
Originally posted by DefJeff
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!!

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. ;)

hell ya!
07-23-2003, 07:47 AM
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:

dwatts
07-23-2003, 10:51 AM
For God's sake - try and rent first.

RyanPC
07-23-2003, 11:20 AM
Originally posted by dwatts
For God's sake - try and rent first.

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

dwatts
07-23-2003, 11:44 AM
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.

Mortis
07-23-2003, 01:44 PM
How do they rank against Phenomena? ;)

dwatts
07-23-2003, 01:56 PM
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!

Mortis
07-23-2003, 02:10 PM
Damn. That's bad!

Are you sure a sixer is enough? :D

Originally posted by dwatts
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!

dwatts
07-23-2003, 02:22 PM
That's the thing - they ARE that bad. But some of you (even MOST of you) have developed an appreciation for them. I not only started from zero - but on watching them went BACKWARDS. Now, this is inexplicable. I might disagree on here sometimes (maybe even most of the time), but can mostly understand where people are coming from. But not here.

I found the direction, cinematography and lighting to be so amateurish, and lacking any semblence of style. The "surrealism" - given the lack of technical merit, comes across as being the ramblings of a sick mind. I mean, it's just laughably silly.

I think I feel this way because I can't find any way to penetrate the banality of it all. If I can't get inside at all - then I have nothing to hang my hat on, as it were.

Talking of hats - my hat is off to Ryan who seems to have been instantly taken with Rollin. It's more than I ever could. Again, I don't want to offend any fans here - but these two films (and Living Dead Girl I've heard told, is the BEST one!) are awful in the extreme. It is a brave soul that pays good money to delve into Rollins sight unseen. I tried it - and have regretted it ever since. Well, not regret perhaps, because it is always a good idea to at least TRY these things - but certainly, looking back, renting - if possible - would have been a FAR better option.

Still, if you don't have a pet to leave the occasional turd in your house, maybe these will do :)

indiephantom
07-23-2003, 02:40 PM
Originally posted by dwatts
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!

That could make for an amusing documentary.:lol:

hell ya!
07-23-2003, 05:33 PM
I would rent if i could but my local blockbuster doesn't seem to carry Living Dead Girl. ;) I know he's an acquired taste so i'll go in slow. :)

RyanPC
07-23-2003, 05:47 PM
Originally posted by dwatts
That's the thing - they ARE that bad. But some of you (even MOST of you) have developed an appreciation for them. I not only started from zero - but on watching them went BACKWARDS. Now, this is inexplicable. I might disagree on here sometimes (maybe even most of the time), but can mostly understand where people are coming from. But not here.

I found the direction, cinematography and lighting to be so amateurish, and lacking any semblence of style. The "surrealism" - given the lack of technical merit, comes across as being the ramblings of a sick mind. I mean, it's just laughably silly.

I think I feel this way because I can't find any way to penetrate the banality of it all. If I can't get inside at all - then I have nothing to hang my hat on, as it were.

Talking of hats - my hat is off to Ryan who seems to have been instantly taken with Rollin. It's more than I ever could. Again, I don't want to offend any fans here - but these two films (and Living Dead Girl I've heard told, is the BEST one!) are awful in the extreme. It is a brave soul that pays good money to delve into Rollins sight unseen. I tried it - and have regretted it ever since. Well, not regret perhaps, because it is always a good idea to at least TRY these things - but certainly, looking back, renting - if possible - would have been a FAR better option.

Still, if you don't have a pet to leave the occasional turd in your house, maybe these will do :)

If you think Rollin is amateurish, don't EVER delve into Jess Franco!

I can't really explain my love for these films very well. Maybe my friend Luna can help, as Living Dead Girl is one of her favorite films, too. ;)

How can you say it's amateurish? It sounds like your talking about a whole other movie to me! I think everything about Living Dead Girl is beautiful, including the haunting ending. Great movie, IMO... but definitely NOT for all tastes. :)

dwatts
07-23-2003, 05:56 PM
Oh, I've tried a touch of Franco. Franco was better than Rollin, but you're right, I really didn't enjoy it. However, if I am not mistaken, Franco did the Christopher Lee Fu Mancu movies - right? If so, they were a favorite when I was a kid - so he has SOME redeeming factors :)

Trust me, your astonishment at my calling them "amatuerish" is matched by mine, when I think that you don't find them so. :)

Luna
07-23-2003, 09:45 PM
Originally posted by RyanPC
I can't really explain my love for these films very well. Maybe my friend Luna can help, as Living Dead Girl is one of her favorite films, too. ;)

How can you say it's amateurish? It sounds like your talking about a whole other movie to me! I think everything about Living Dead Girl is beautiful, including the haunting ending. Great movie, IMO... but definitely NOT for all tastes. :) You pretty much summed it up, but I'll paste some of what I said in another Euro horror thread (http://www.horrordvds.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?s=&threadid=13762):

"I can respect someone who isn't afraid to let the blood flow or spurt or even gush in some cases. There's something very raw and primal about that sort of thing, which I think is missing in a lot of today's more mainstream horror. A perfect example of this would be ... Rollin's "Living Dead Girl".... The ending is a heartwrenching thing to watch, in my opinion... truly tragic and one of the more memorably bloody things I think I've ever seen!"

Basically, I love the setting -- gorgeous countryside, as Rollin often chooses from what I've seen -- which complements the surreal atmosphere, the era in which it was made (I'm not sure it'd be as effective if it were made today in another setting), and here's something I find to be pretty rare... I actually felt really BAD for the main character. The ending was so painful and tragic to watch for that reason! I couldn't even imagine being in that situation. The ending was simply beautiful and poetic in its violence, to me, if that makes sense. I really don't wanna spoil it for those who haven't seen it, so I'll leave it at that.

Btw, I'm not saying everyone has to love Rollin - he is definitely an acquired taste, or perhaps more accurately, either you love him or you HATE him. I'm just trying to explain my own reasons. My first Rollin movie was Living Dead Girl and WOW, it clicked instantly. From the first few frames there was no question I LOVED this film. Requiem for a Vampire is my second favorite and I liked the Demoniacs, but not nearly as much as the previous two. I need to see more Rollin, I think. :D

dwatts
07-23-2003, 10:07 PM
Look, I think you're all a bit wacky. The one beautiful moment was when it was - thankfully - all over. It was matched, at only a slightly lower level, by the rush of glee I felt when someone said - "Would you consider trading for those?"

:lol:

mcchrist
07-23-2003, 10:15 PM
The only Rollin film I could stand, really, was Fascination. Franco I guess is on the better side because I enjoyed at least two of his movies (but on the other side of the coin, squeezed a real turd of a movie worse than most I've ever seen).

dvdasia62
07-23-2003, 10:42 PM
Rollin = Genius!

Luna
07-23-2003, 10:45 PM
Originally posted by dwatts
Look, I think you're all a bit wacky. The one beautiful moment was when it was - thankfully - all over. It was matched, at only a slightly lower level, by the rush of glee I felt when someone said - "Would you consider trading for those?":lol: :lol:

Hey, I can respect that. I'm sure there are some films I despise that people would look at me funny for disliking. Moulin Rouge comes to mind, immediately. What a piece of shit. :(

RyanPC
07-24-2003, 01:20 AM
Originally posted by dvdasia62
Rollin = Genius!

You got that right, brotha! ;)

RyanPC
07-24-2003, 01:21 AM
Originally posted by Luna
:lol: :lol:

Hey, I can respect that. I'm sure there are some films I despise that people would look at me funny for disliking. Moulin Rouge comes to mind, immediately. What a piece of shit. :(

:lol::lol:

PLEASE don't say you like Exorcist 2 or I'll barf. :lol:

The Chaostar
07-25-2003, 06:49 PM
Living Dead Girl is not amateurish at all. It is well staged scenes, has very nice gor effects (appart from the eye piercing) and a dreamlike / gothic quality only to be matched by Bava's Lisa & The Devil. The ending is one of the most shocking and nightmarish ending I have ever EVER seen.

It is one of the first euro-horror film I saw and made me an instant fan!

The Chaostar
07-25-2003, 06:50 PM
Errr... I love Exorcist II...

RyanPC
07-25-2003, 08:58 PM
Originally posted by The Chaostar
Living Dead Girl is not amateurish at all. It is well staged scenes, has very nice gor effects (appart from the eye piercing) and a dreamlike / gothic quality only to be matched by Bava's Lisa & The Devil. The ending is one of the most shocking and nightmarish ending I have ever EVER seen.

It is one of the first euro-horror film I saw and made me an instant fan!

:banana: :banana: :banana: :banana:

RyanPC
07-25-2003, 08:59 PM
Originally posted by The Chaostar
Errr... I love Exorcist II...

:eek2: :eek2: :eek2: :eek2: