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Demoniacs, The (The Cinema of Jean Rollin)

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    Todd Jordan
    Smut is good.

  • Demoniacs, The (The Cinema of Jean Rollin)



    Released by: Keno Lorber/Redemption
    Released on: 5/59/2012
    Director: Jean Rollin
    Cast: Joí«lle Coeur, Louise Dhour, Lieva Lone, Patricia Hermenier, John Rico, Willy Braque, Paul Bisciglia
    Year: 1974
    Purchase from Amazon

    The Movie:

    Two young girls (Patricia Hermenier and Lieva Lone (Leave Alone??)) are the only survivors of a shipwreck, and are found by a group of people who happen to be right there where they crashed. But the would-be rescuers are not there to help the girls, but rather to finish them off. This group, so-called “wreckers”, lures ships to the rocks and then pillages the vessels. Apparently rape and murder is also part of their modus operandi, as the girls are chased down, brutally violated, and left for dead. The Captain (John Rico), Le Bosco (Willy Braque), Paul (Paul Bisciglia), and Tina (Joí«lle Coeur) all get their turn at doing whatever pleases them to the poor girls and then they head on over to the local brothel, run by Louise (Louise Dhour), for further debauchery.

    As the drunks get drunker, The Captain starts to see the ghosts of the girls, bloodied and beaten, and begins a freak out. Louise, it turns out, has the gift of second sight and knows something foul has happened on the beach. As her knowledge of the events becomes more acute, so does the tension between the wreckers and her. The no-good-doers decide the girls must be running around and head out to re-destroy them. They probably would have succeeded, if not for a clown (Mireille Dargent) and a monk who give them a place to hide and heal, but it would appear they have alternate plans as well. Deep in the dungeon of the monk's place hides a man of whom the monk and the clown are sure can be freed by the young girls. He's being held captive under a spell that can be broken by two innocents who were wronged or something like that.

    Once the man is released he tells the girls they can get revenge if he gives them his powers, but to do that they have to give themselves to him. And that of course means sex. They get the powers for revenge, but when the wreckers become a threat to their newfound “friends” things don't go like the silent blondes expected.

    Compared to other Rollin films from the 70s, The Demoniacs is much easier to follow as it seems to have more of a cohesive story, but there is no denying his fingerprints are all over the place. Present are many of Rollin's signatures from the two girls as the central characters to the gothic locations he so loved to use. Also present are some moments that don't readily make sense, but start to work themselves out the more one chews on the movie after finishing it. Then again there's some stuff that isn't real obvious as to the benefit of being in the movie, but most of those things are visually interesting so they do serve a purpose even if one doesn't understand that purpose as the director intended. Like for example, the title of the movie. It seems that the demons are the two girls, but other than haunting The Captain (which is in his head) they don't do anything that would make them seen demonic or even vengeful. The guy locked in the dungeon, maybe he's the demon. And the clown, is she a demon? And what purpose does the psychic Louise serve? Louise Dhour is great in her role, and the movie wouldn't be the same without her, but really, for what reason is the character even there? Perhaps things like this and the long establishing shots are what turn some people away from Rollin's work.

    Some of the acting is over the top. The Captain, played by what seems the French equivalent of America's Doug McClure, certainly goes overboard in the acting realm. But then some if it is really good (Louise Dhour), and some is creepy (the mute girls), but one can't talk about this film without talking about Joí«lle Coeur as Tina the wrecker. Sadistic, vicious, and so God damned sexy it's beyond description. In this role, she conveys an animalistic sexual prowess that is riveting. Aside from her allowing us to view her in all her naked glory, she gives an intense masturbation scene towards the films end that is both erotic and disturbing at the same time. It really seals the notion into fact that her character is the most dangerous and most insane of all the wreckers.

    Although not quite as surreal or out there as some of his other work as seen in Kino/Redemption's “The Cinema of Jean Rollin” series, The Demoniacs is still certainly full of its own bizarre and off-the-beaten-path weirdness. And with plenty of the visuals Rollin is known for (tons of female nudity, gorgeous women, dungeons, and men with bad hairdos), those with a passing interest in his movies should find this one perhaps more palatable than some of his others. And for those new to his genius, this one isn't a bad one with which to test the Rollin water.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    With a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and a 1080p AVC encoded picture, the film looks, for the most part, quite good. Some of the darker sections show a lot of grain to the point of being a bit murky at times. The colors look really nice though, as does the detail. Plenty of natural grain is present and skin tones look correct, and overall there is nothing to complain about. Not having seen this film in any other format, the viewer cannot compare it to past DVD versions, but it can safely be said it delivers a very satisfying image. Some damage is visible in the form of white specs, but it's not distracting. The audio is a 2.0 French language track with English subtitles. The sound is fine, balance seems good and other than some popping here and there, which is totally forgivable and almost expected, and there is really nothing much else to say about it.

    Extras are pretty good. They didn't port everything over from past releases, but still, what's here is worth checking out. Jean Rollin provides a brief introduction, recorded in 1999, and gives a few tidbits about the movie. Long time Rollin collaborators Natalie Perrey and Jean Bouyxou share memories of the movie and the man in a couple of interviews. Perrey didn't work on the movie though, and her interview is barely a couple of minutes. Bouyxou's is a longer interview and pretty interesting. Some deleted scenes are included, one being a boat burning for a couple minutes with nothing else at all going on. One scene concerns sex with a whore, and another shows Tina and The Captain getting it on. More of Ms. Coeur is a welcome thing and she shows more for sure. Trailers for other releases under “The Cinema of Jean Rollin” banner are also included. And Video Watchdog founder Tim Lucas has an essay in booklet form, which is the same one as in The Rape of the Vampire and Requiem for a Vampire, and is worth reading more than once.

    The Final Word:

    Kino/Redemption has done an excellent job with their high-definition offerings of Rollin's movies. This one is no exception and is deserving of a spot on any proud collector's shelf.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!































    • Todd Jordan
      #3
      Todd Jordan
      Smut is good.
      Todd Jordan commented
      Editing a comment
      Oh so you knew Aunt Doris? Funny lady wasn't she? I plugged the toilet at her house when I was a little kid and she said "How can that much shit come out of that little asshole?!"

    • Ian Jane
      #4
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      Ian Jane commented
      Editing a comment
      That sounds like typical Aunt Doris to me! She was great.

    • Todd Jordan
      #5
      Todd Jordan
      Smut is good.
      Todd Jordan commented
      Editing a comment
      You remember when she told us that the gizzards were the asshole of the bird? I believed that for a long time. Very scarring.
    Posting comments is disabled.

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