Two innocent girls fall prey to some pirate ‘wreckers,’ and then seek demonic help to exact their revenge.
It’s all typical euro-sleaze horror fare, until the clown shows up.
The film opens with head-shots and descriptions of the four wreckers; the captain who is haunted by his victims (then why does he keep doing it?); the hot woman who takes her clothes off a lot, and adds nothing of value to the team; the second in command, who’s plotting against the captain, and the other guy who’s playing both sides.
In the case of the captain, his defining character trait plays a large roll in the film. It imbues every aspect of his personality, and leads to the ultimate climax. As for the other two male wreckers, their secret plots are never mentioned again after the first two minutes, except in the form of some tepid muttering when the captain makes a scene at a bar. The wrecker woman just nags the others a lot, and provides much of the film’s nudity. Beyond that, she has no particular character to speak of.
Likewise, the two girls are equally vacant. After some screaming during the initial attack, they never speak again. That would be fine, indeed, even appropriate, except that they don’t emote in any way. You can understand their mission on an intellectual level, but there’s nothing to grasp onto emotionally.
The girls make their way to some old ruins that are feared by the locals for reasons no one quite remembers. There, they meet a female clown (a classic circus clown with a big, red afro), who leads them inside. The girls then free Satan, who has been held prisoner in a dilapidated church, and have sex with him to gain his demonic powers, which seem to be limited to telekineticly nudging statues.
I’ve never seen a Jean Rollins film before, but from what I gather, this emphasis of style over substance is common, though this film in particular is credited for having a stronger storyline than usual. I guess it does have a storyline, but it’s very, very basic, with the shallowest of characterization. There’s nothing flawed in its structure; but it has no detail, nuance, or originality.
The visual style does look nice though, as do the women, which I’m fairly sure was Rollins’ primary concern when making this film.
The Demoniacs comes to Blu Ray from Redemption films, who are quickly running through his entire catalog. The video quality is okay. It looks like the source material has aged poorly, leaving the movie washed out and dull. I’m not sure it’s significantly better than a good DVD transfer.
Extras include a deleted scene that consists of nothing but film of a ship burning, and two extra sex scenes; one an extension of a scene between the captain and the wrecker woman, and the other involving two recurring background characters.
I wouldn’t recommend the movie based on the story; but if you like the French art-film aesthetic and frequent sex scenes, you’ll get a lot of it here.