Monday, 8 November 2010
Firstly, I’m just going to put it out there, I like Andreas Schnaas. He is an unashamed purveyor of gore and sleaze and his low budget, badly dubbed gorefests are big and brazen and delicious, and they’re also unapologetic and I appreciate that honesty. And how can you not appreciate a filmmaker who merrily names his first feature Violent Shit? And follows it up with a sequel.
So this brings us to Demonium, Schnaas’ first ‘proper’, ‘grown-up’ film, made with ‘proper’ actors and in filmed in the ‘English’ language’ to reach a wider market, well, wider as in us, the UK.
Demonium begins with successful businessman Rasmus Bentley and his lover, Maria, having some largely unattractive sex. This goes on for quite a while. Quite a while. His lover Maria happens to be blind, this probably helps with the largely unattractive sex, generally that is, not with the longevity I wouldn’t imagine. When they finally tire of this messy enterprise businessman Rasmus sets out to negotiate some manner of important business type deals at his strangely shabby, gloomy and full of unpacked boxes office. (Apparently I’m somewhat obsessed with the inappropriate state of people’s ‘offices’ at the moment, see London Voodoo. Weird).
Left alone blind lady Maria potters about helpfully demonstrating all the tasteful indicators an audience needs to appreciate the fact that she really is blind; eyes perpetually rolled back in head, stumbling over pretty much everything and the apparent lack of ability to utilise the basic sense of tactition as a compensator. Meanwhile, we, the audience, learn that while love and this wife may well be blind sinister knife wielding psychotics are, in fact, not, and a prime example of such a sinister knife wielding psychotic is in fact quietly following Maria’s every move as she goes about her morning’s blind business, her sense of hearing apparently also impaired along with her vision.
Back at his shabby office Rasmus concludes his terribly important business and endeavours to call his good lady in order that she can congratulate him on his success. When he is unable to elicit a satisfactory response from Maria to his important news he immediately rushes home. (The last time my husband called me with important news of his success it was because he’d completed Metroid: Other M. Our lives are clearly very different to Rasmus and Maria’s).
Unfortunately Rasmus’ haste proves to be his undoing, as he bounds into their bedroom to find the fair lady (probably assuming that she’d locked herself in a cupboard or something due to the special nature of her affliction that renders her completely helpless as opposed to all other blind people who somehow manage to lead full, satisfying and independent lives) only to find that she’s bound and gagged and tied to the bed and that by entering the room he has unwittingly triggered the firing mechanism on a crossbow that’s aimed at her throat. Oh, dear, Rasmus. But he needn’t be too concerned because his guilt at inadvertently causing the horrific death of his lover is mercifully short lived when the sinister knife wielding psychotic rushes him and slices off his head.
And now the movie really begins! Well, sort of. It’s now one year earlier and we meet obligatory wealthy and eccentric Arnold Berger, but only briefly as he is currently preoccupied with the messy business of being hacked into an assortment of little wealthy and eccentric pieces by an unknown party. If this wasn’t thrilling enough his body is customarily discovered by none other than Maria, (she of the unfortunate crossbow mishap earlier) only now (or rather then) she not demonstratively blind. The plot does indeed thicken.
And now the movie really begins! Honestly, it does now. Everything gets reassuringly old school. The wealthy and eccentric, and deceased, old man Berger, it turns out, has a large and equally eccentric family and all of whom are extremely interested to discover the contents of his wealthy and eccentric will. We meet the various family members of old man Berger (deceased), all of whom are seemingly scattered at random all about Europe engaging in a variety of suitably eccentric activities and behaviours. Hastening the plot, they all learn of the wacky old gent’s demise and temporarily cease their eccentric European activities in order to charge off to Berger’s stately, spooky and very, very eccentric mansion.
I’m guessing that everyone knows where this going now. We’ve got a creepy old house, a mysterious murder, sciencey secrets, a full compliment of crazy and avaricious relatives and some somewhat unhinged serving staff. There’s only one course of action when you’ve got a set up like this; systematically slaughter everyone with merciless abandon with careful attention to inventive weaponry and all the due gore.
Fortunately for our psychotic killer at large that crazy Berger helpfully left a clause in his will stating that all beneficiaries must stay in the house for at least three days in order to claim their inheritance. Really all we have to do here is sit back and watch as the various members of the eccentric, and briefly, for some them, wealthy Berger family are customarily dispatched in a variety of ingenious ways with a variety resourceful weapons until eventually we get the answers to some of the important questions, like how did Maria become afflicted with super serious, and comically depilating, blind? Who is the sinister knife wielding psychotic and why did he return a year later to finish off Rasmus and Maria? What exactly are ‘sciencey secrets’ and why did I write that anyway?
Demonium is rip roaring delight of chainsaws, blood, gore, decapitations, dismemberment, nudity, throat tearing, crossbows, perplexing blindness, bad acting, show tunes, torture, meat hooks and deadly cups of tea. While I’ll confess I quaffed a few whiskies in the lead up to (and during) (and after) the feature presentation I still maintain that Demonium is a cracking B-movie gem (I maintained this rather vociferously on my initial viewing and in fact went so far as to proclaim it ‘my new favourite movie ever’, as I said, there was some quaffing of whiskey, it was probably also my best friend later too, but I’m fairly certain I didn’t drag it off to listen to me cry in the toilets). Anyway, I digress, what I meant to say is that Demonium is a goretastic treat, it’s jam packed with schlocky goodness, bloodsoaked silliness and nudey bits, it’s jubilantly unashamed in its crassness, and these are qualities that I love.