• Demon Wind



    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: October 24th, 2017.
    Director: Charles Philip Moore
    Cast: Eric Larson, Francine Lapensée, Rufus Norris, Jack Vogel, Sherry Leigh, Stephen Quadros
    Year: 1990
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    The Movie:

    Our film opens with a scene, set sometime in the 1930’s, wherein a family hides inside their barricaded farm house. A young girl sings a Church hymn and then a strange wind seems to hit the house. The mother is told by an unseen force she can’t keep whatever it is that’s coming after them out, and then the father shows up… mom hoping that he brought a dagger and a book – but no! He’s possessed, we can tell this because he vomits up something that looks like oatmeal and then giant pussy zit like things grow out of his face. He attacks her and it doesn’t end well for anybody.

    Cut to the present day. A redheaded girl on a cliff points a stick at a car! Elaine (Francine Lapensee) and Corey (Eric Larson) are driving through the California hills looking for his grandparent’s old farm. They stop at a gas station and ask directions to the old Carter house, but the cantankerous old attendant doesn’t want anything to do with them and tells them that no such place exists. They stop at a diner. Thinking it to be empty, Elaine shows Corey her butt – but then a lady comes out of the back and spooks them. She tells them they have ‘beer, water, Coke and goat’s milk.’ They order two Cokes and then the rest of their crew shows up: Dell (Bobby Johnston) and his girlfriend Terri (Lynn Carter), and Jack (Mark David Fritsche) and his gal pal Bonnie (Sherry Bendorf). Oh, and two guys named Chuck (Stephen Quadros) and Stacy (Jack Vogel) who are aspiring magicians are also hanging around. Chuck also enjoys doing spin kicks. They goof around a bit and then Corey tells them about his dad, which ties into the farm, which ties into the opening scene. Later some people named Willy (Richard Gabai) and Reena (Mia M. Ruiz) show up, but they don’t really matter.

    A little while later, Corey once again tries to get information on the farm out of one of the locals. This time instead of denying its existence, he tells them it belongs to the dead! Dell mouths off, because Dell is a fucking asshole who wears sweatpants and kisses other peoples’ girlfriends. He almost gets shot but then, unfortunately, he calms down and we hear a spooky story about how Corey’s family were all found dead after the events that open the film. This doesn’t deter Corey or his pals, they decide to head over to the old farm house anyway, when they arrive it’s basically just ruins, though there is a big wooden cross with a skeleton hanging off of it – nothing ominous about that. All of this occurs after Corey has a weird dream where he’s hanging around the gas station naked talking to his dead grandmother who is covered in blood. At any rate, they find sinister omens etched into the walls of the crumbled farmhouse, now seemingly strangely intact. Then? Bonnie, rocket scientist that she is, reads aloud from a strange book… and then the wind starts blowing and people get killed in some admittedly awesome and sometimes fairly gory ways. And what about those magic daggers?

    Clearly borrowing from movies like Night Of The Demons and The Evil Dead, Charles Philip Moore’s feature length directorial debut (he would later direct Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson in Blackbelt and helm the Maria Ford classic Angel Of Destruction) is, in a word, goofy. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a blast to watch, but it’s really goofy. Characters are introduced really for no other purpose than to get murdered, the movie is ripe with horror movie clichés (Harcourt is basically Crazy Ralph) and characters do all sorts of those dumb things that characters do in horror movies (never read aloud from a scary book!). It’s kind of weird that the movie turns out this way, because the opening is actually quite well done. It’s tense, gory, unexpected – it creates an air of uncertainty where we don’t really know what’s going on, but we know that it can’t be good. From there, we know pretty much exactly what’s going on as the film deals us one cliché after another, but at least it’s fun.

    Production values are so-so, but that’s alright. Most of the gore effects are pretty well done and there’s a bit of skin on display, which never hurts. The music is kind of goofy (there’s that word again) and the acting consistently less than good (check out Sherry Bendorf from Slaughterhouse alongside a bunch of people you probably won’t recognize, save for maybe porn star Tiffany Million as one of the demons), but it’s fun to watch them try. The location work here is probably the film’s best quality – the old ruins are eerie and weird and they did a good job convincing us that all of this really is taking place in the middle of nowhere. The pacing is decent – lots of stuff happens – yeah, this is fun. Where else are you going to see a tongue shoot out of a cursed cow skull and strangle someone?

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Demon Wind debuts on Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen on a 50GB disc. Taken from a 2k restoration of the original 35mm negative, the picture quality here is excellent. Detail is very strong throughout and the image is quite clean showing almost no noticeable print damage at all (except for a few shots where optical effects are used). Grain appears naturally, as it should, while color reproduction seems nice and natural. Black levels are solid as well, and skin tones look lifelike and accurate (always important in a movie like this!). There are no noticeable issues with compression artifacts or edge enhancement to note either. Really, there’s nothing to complain about here. This is an excellent transfer.

    The only audio option on the disc is an English language DTS-HD 5.0 (no dedicated subwoofer channel) Master Audio track (credits state that the film was recorded in 4-track stereo). There is some noticeable sibilance here and there and a moment near the scene where the tongue comes out of the cow skull where some hiss pops up, but otherwise this sounds alright even if the levels bounce around a little bit. Dialogue does stay clean and clear, the score sounds alright and the effects have good presence and punch to them.

    Extras start off with a video interview with executive producer Sandy Horowitz that runs twenty-six minutes. Horowitz talks about how director Moore came to him with the idea for the movie while trying to finish up Twisted Nightmare where he did some second unit work. From there, we learn how Horowitz got the project made, his recollections of working alongside Moore, his thoughts on the man’s directing style and his feelings on Demon Wind as a whole. After that, actress Sherry Bendorf Leigh gets in front of the camera for seventeen minutes. She talks about getting the part, how she got along with her fellow cast members, her thoughts on horror films and fan conventions, what it was like on the set of Demon Wind and more. Cinematographer Thomas L. Callaway is up next in a twenty minute segment. He discusses his early career in Los Angeles and his native Texas, working with David De Coteau and then shooting Demon Wind, which he doesn’t feel too highly about, attributing these feelings to the low budget shoot, poor equipment and less than ideal shooting conditions.

    After that we get an audio interview with editor Christopher Roth. He speaks about how he got into the film business, some of the early projects that he was involved with, and then about cutting Demon Wind Itself. He also talks about how he met Moore, how he wasn’t the original editor on the picture and about how he was responsible for getting Ms. Million in the film!

    Rounding out the extras on the disc are a still gallery, the film’s original theatrical trailer, animated menus and chapter selection.

    As this is a combo pack release, the Blu-ray comes packaged with a DVD version of the movie as well. Both of these fit nicely inside a standard sized clear Blu-ray case that comes packaged with some nice reversible cover artwork. The first 3000 copies of this release ordered off of Vinegar Syndrome's website will come with a lenticular cover.

    The Final Word:

    Demon Wind is a blast. It’s goofy, gory, silly and strange – all good qualities if you’re in the right frame of mind for it. Vinegar Syndrome brings the movie to Blu-ray in excellent shape with a great transfer and a load of extras. This isn’t one most of us likely expected to get a special edition release, but here it is – truly, this is a new golden age for home video!

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