We Need Demon Wind!

How has this movie not been released and re-released on DVD like twenty times already?  Demon Wind is such a great, weird, cheesy, pure 80s, all out fantasy horror movie. It's clearly Evil Dead inspired, but also has enough unique stuff going for it, too. Sure it's goofy and low budget, but I'd love to see what a proper scan of this movie based on its OCN or at least a print would make this look like - that would probably make a huge difference. But that's not gonna happen until these DVD studios wake up and get into gear on this movie. Maybe it's stuck in some kind of legal copyright swamp. But at least there's a cheap-o, no frills, sourced from a video tape PAL DVD out there to tide us over. It's twelve years old, from a company called Pegasus. Let's have a look!
The movie starts out with an old hymn being sung over footage of an old rural cabin. Inside we meet a loving married couple who are using incantations to ward off ghosts who are talking to them, and things go immediately south for them. The husband gets possessed, and we get our first set of awesome, gooey transformations effects like 90 seconds into the film. The wife has a snow globe (literally... with a little scene inside and everything), which is apparently magic, because she uses it to blow the whole place up in a giant, blue explosion - yee-ha! Cue the opening credits.
So we meet our main characters. Our lead is kind of your average 80s straight man horror lead, and his girlfriend's kind of generic, though she immediately pulls her pants down when she walks into a diner, so she's not completely average. They're searching for the guy's father based on a dream, which yes, we get to see, where he's naked at a gas station and his grandmother's a grinning zombie. So they assemble the team: a sexist jock, a smart guy in glasses, their girlfriends and two of the most memorable characters in any movie ever: a pair of shotgun-toting, karate expert magicians!
Like, literal magicians, who enter the scene by driving into a gas station in a convertible, pulling flowers from their sleeves for the ladies, doing a stunt kick show with a beer can, and ending a fight by conjuring a rabbit. Look, that's just what happens in this movie. And it's still only the very beginning. The film really begins when they all go find the ruins of the cabin from the prologue and summon an army of demons by reading an incantation written on a wall. Evil magic kills their car batteries and prevents them from walking away, and then there's evil ghost children and then the magicians start go full action hero on a horde of zombies. People start getting possessed, a tongue shoots out of a mounted cow skull and kills a girl, they get magic daggers, a demon hangs from the ceiling waving a decapitated head... I won't get into spoilers (and there is a LOT to potentially spoil about the final third of this film!), but Hell breaks loose in a very anything-can-happen way, a la Fulci's The Beyond.
Again, you can't not see the Evil Dead in this film, but it also works on almost all of the same levels. No, it doesn't have the great cinematic touches that Raimi laced the first and especially the second film with, but it makes up for that by adding a lot of crazy, entertaining stuff. They don't have the craft of Evil Dead, but they have the content. This movie is just non-stop special effect set pieces, funny lines (even if you're laughing at them as often as with them) and ambitious ideas, and as absurd as it gets, they play it pretty straight. The special effects might strike younger audiences as dated, but they're actually quite good and, again, ambitious. You keep expecting this movie to start getting worse and let you down, but it never does. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's not going to replace Hellraiser or Halloween as anyone's favorite top shelf horror film. This is from a lower shelf. But if you love crazy, gooey 80s horror, it's actually pretty great.
Unfortunately, Pegasus's DVD is not great at all. It's a soft, fuzzy, full screen thing that looks like it's ripped from a VHS tape. You can't even read the closing credits, the letters are so blurred together. And this must've been taken from an NTSC source, because it's got plenty of ghosting, doubled frames. There's a slight hiss behind it all, but the audio's actually surprisingly clean considering what the film looks like. And of course there are zero extras, which is a huge shame. There's so much that could be talked about in this movie, including the fact that Lou Diamond Phillips has a super brief appearance in this film as a demon, played under the pseudonym Louis Gem Phips!
As shoddy as this DVD is, you're gonna want to get it anyway, 'cause the movie's that cool, plus it's super cheap anyway. But more importantly, a respectable label has to pick this up and give us the quality special edition blu-ray it deserves. I can just imagine what a proper scan of the film elements would look like in HD. Demon Wind is too much fun to let rot away in obscurity.

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