The Demon (1979) Review

When a young girl is kidnapped and murdered by a black-gloved brute, her parents call in a psychic (Cameron Mitchell) to help find the killer. Meanwhile, the stalker has his sights set on a young kindergarten teacher (Jennifer Holmes). The game of cat and mouse begins when the killer traps the teacher in her house.

Writer/director Percival Rubens combines elements of Halloween and The Exorcist in this odd little slasher from Johannesburg, South Africa. The slasher is a faceless demon forced to wear a rubber mask in order to appear human. His weapons of choice are a pair of black gloves with metal claw fingertips and the old plastic over the head trick. Mitchell’s psychic refers to the killer as “an aberration of the species. Something hallucinating evil.”

Cameron Mitchell, who obviously took the role to help pay his gambling debts, begins his performance rather subtle until he does his ESP shtick. Then, Mitchell starts gasping like an asthmatic and sniffing the missing girl’s pillows. He goes from heroic figure to dirty old man real fast. His screen time is very short and he never gets to confront the killer. Jennifer Holmes is very good as the stalked teacher. Her character is more intelligent than most slasher heroines and she isn’t afraid to fight back when trapped by the killer.

While The Demon does have several tense, creepy moments, the overall film is dragged down by an unnecessary romantic subplot involving secondary characters. This subplot brings the film to a screeching halt and makes The Demon feel like a three hour movie. Another problem, why does the killer have razor gloves when he rarely uses them on his victims? Death by suffocation is gruesome but not very bloody.

Fans of slashers with a heavy emphasis on stalking should check out The Demon. The version you see depends on where you live. The US cut has a hefty level of nudity while other countries decided to edit out all T&A. Such edits would really effect the ending considering Jennifer Holmes is nude during the final confrontation. Watch for a sign for “Boobs Disco” and an awesome billboard for The Amityville Horror.

The Demon (DVD)

Director: Percival Rubens
Starring: Cameron Mitchell, Jennifer Holmes, Jennifer Jones
Rating: R (Restricted)

List Price: $19.97 USD
New From: $199.99 In Stock
Used from: $13.99 In Stock
Release date November 2, 2010.
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