Do you remember the part with the possessed hand in The Evil Dead II? Now imagine that as a whole film and with all the intentional humour pulled out of it. Sounds pretty awful, right? Behold the 1981 horror movie, Demonoid or Demonoid: Messenger of Death.
This is not a good film, yet it starts so promisingly. 300 years ago a cult sacrifices humans to the Devil by cutting off their left hands. Why? So the devil can possess it and use the human attached to do its bidding.
It’s got blood, boobs and cheesy effects so a solid start but this is where the fun ends.
In present day we’re introduced to Mark (Roy Jenson) and Jennifer Baines (Samantha Eggar) who have discovered the cult’s ancient temple and are exploring it. They find dried and desiccated corpses all with their left hands cut off but the big discovery is a small casket with a severed hand inside.
They bring it back to their hotel and that night Mark is attacked by the reanimated hand which possess him. Forced to do its bidding but not under its control, Mark fights back but the hand kills him with fire, burying itself under the sand to ensure it can’t be burned.
Mark is buried but the hand still lives and wants out. Something Jennifer is all too aware of now so teams up with Father Cunningham (Stuart Whitman) to stop its rampage.
Demonoid sounds like it should be a cheesy schlock-fest but disappointingly it is not. Instead it plays it so straight, it’s kind of embarrassing. There’s no goofy fun, no silliness and no embracing the era it was made in. The fun that could have been had with a hand that attaches itself to the stump of someone missing one and possessing them is so obvious. It kind of makes you wish Troma or Full Moon had been involved here.
If the serious tone of the plot wasn’t bad enough, said plot is bland and poorly told. It seems like the movie might have had some issues in editing as it is all over the place. Coherence is not the movie’s strong point. Nor are the effects, characters or acting. The latter have to deliver consistently bad dialogue and clearly have no interest in what they’re saying. It’s hard to blame them though as the characters are wholly unlikable.
Demonoid is one of the most disappointing 80’s horrors ever. Something that really could have been fun and memorable but instead ends up being an absolute chore to get through.
The Final Score - 3/10