Return Of The Demon (1987)

JANUARY 6, 2009


It’s been a damned long time since I’ve been able to hit up a Grindhouse night at the New Bev, so I was excited to see that not only would I be able to make it tonight, but that one of the films, Return Of The Demon (Cantonese: Mo Gao Yi Zhang), was a horror film, thus sparing me from having to watch some budget pack nonsense at work in order to make my film for the day. Unfortunately, it was also the 2nd film (after the pretty awesome sci-fi action comedy I Love Maria, aka Roboforce), which is traditionally a tough one for me. It’s late, I’ve been guzzling Bud Lights, and it was the SECOND movie I had to read. But I only dozed for like 15 minutes, which I think is way above my average.

Another thing not helping much is that the movie isn’t slow, but it’s very repetitive. Scenes go on for 10-15 minutes sometimes, and often don’t even really have any bearing on anything. At one point, one of our heroes tries to dance his way out of a room that is covered with eggs (he doesn’t want to break any of them). So after like 2-3 minutes of tiptoeing around and ballet movement, the villain (? – her introduction was apparently during my nap) starts telekinesis-ing the guy around, which results in another 5 or 6 minutes of him breaking eggs and getting covered in egg slime (though somewhere in there the ghost chick somehow controls his mind and makes him sing “I have AIDS and corn shit and I’m impotent!”, which momentarily improves matters). It’s one of a few examples of such overlong and repetitive sequences, all of which really hurt the pace and overall enjoyment of the movie At 75-80 minutes, this would have been a classic, but at damn near 100, interest starts to waver.

Also – the movie is seemingly unwilling to kill off any of its heroes until the final reel. It’s hard to really fear the villain, even factoring in the general goofiness of the film, when no one really seems like they are in danger. However, this actually works to the movie’s benefit in that aforementioned finale, as when someone finally DOES die, it’s pretty goddamn shocking.

I also dug the Hammer style ending. Villain dies via explosion, and just as I jokingly muttered “The End!” the credits indeed began to roll. It’s nice to know that by the time they got to the end of the movie, the director and writer finally figured out how to move along. Maybe in The Return Of The Return Of The Demon, we will get kung fu/ghost/supernatural entity/comedy perfection.

The IMDb page for this movie is flimsier than the one for the student film I edited. No external reviews, no message board comments, no trivia, not even a goddamn genre tagging. Safe to say that it’s not really well known, so I am guessing that few of you are reading this entire review. But for those who are, I will leave Tall F-in Joe to fill in some highlights in the comments, he’s good at that.

I would like to briefly talk about I Love Maria though. This one is a bit more well-known, thanks to being co-directed (and starring!) Tsui Hark, and is also far more entertaining. Like Demon, it gets a little repetitive at times, but it’s a far more exciting movie at its core. There’s a robot woman flying around, another robot that looks like the lovechild of ED-209 and one of Bioshock’s Big Daddies, lots of kung fu, a slapstick-y pair of heroes who think a dog is a pig, and lots and lots of mistranslated lines. Damn my drunkenness for not being able to recall any word for word, but trust me, they are a hoot. If you’re a fan of multi-genre fare, I would highly recommend it.

What say you?


  1. Haha. I forgot about when the guy said that he had AIDs. I think he was trying to trick the ghost lady who wanted to reincarnate herself by taking the life of a virgin, after she made him drink some potion that made virgins glow, and he started glowing like the car in REPOMAN. The egg stuff had something to do with the fact that this virgin guy was really old and he was somehow using magic eggs to keep him young and alive... Yeah, I know. What the fuck, does the guy work for the Egg Council or something.

    Other WTF highlights:

    - After unleashing and losing the demon in the beginning, we're whisked away to some dude with a dog on a table. He proceeds to blow (literally not Vivid Entertainment style) on the dog's johnson, so the dog would piss in a cup for him.... how that works? I don't know....

    - Then everybody shows up thirsty from their journey and mistakes the cup of dog piss for soda. Everyone drinks and complains about how bad it tastes until the girl decides the guys are bunch of pussies and chugs it....

    - After they find out they were drinking piss, we come to find out why they're there in the first place, which is to find a dog with a good tracking nose, so that the magic guy can magically join with the dog and use it's powers of smell as a dog-man and find the demon who is leaving a trail of rotting flesh everywhere...

    - While dog-manned out the dog-man also starts chasing after a girl dog, so as to bone it. Wether or not the guy sealed the deal was left ambiguously up in the air. Though at that point in the movie I wouldn't have been surprised if they actually showed a man/dog love scene....

    Then the guy wolfs out and starts attacking everybody, and that's when the scenes start to drag out. And you really notice it because the first third of the movie everything is pretty rapid fire. Then stuff just seems like it's never going to end...

    Still a fun mind fuck of a movie by itself, but a little much to sit through for a subtitled double feature.

  2. Haa, I read the whole thing even though I never heard of it. Good thing though because it sounds pretty aweful.

  3. Awful? This sounds like the best movie ever made.

    He sings about having AID's in order to keep a demon from impregnating him? In 1987. That is astoundingly, astonishingly fucking cool. I wish I had a New Bev.


Movie & TV Show Preview Widget