Monday, March 11

The "Hidden" Philippines-lensed '80s Action Flick...

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This ultimately middling effort doesn't warrant my usual "quick thoughts" treatment, but it has a few curious aspects that deserve attention. First, Andrew Prowse's Demonstone (1989) was marketed on video by Fries Home Video as a horror flick and even bore the tagline "Out of the past comes burning horror and the ultimate evil" seen over on VHSCollector.com. Even the IMDB lists this one as simply Horror. Nah, not really...

In Japan, Fries licensed the film to TCC/GAGA Communications which more accurately marketed it as an action flick but kept the Demonstone (デモンストーン) title. That's exactly what it is, aside from a hammy supernatural twist, and rests comfortably in the slew of cheap action flicks shot in the Philippines in the late '80s. This could have easily been entitled something like "Quest for the Devil Stone" with no indication of the slight horror/sci-fi angle and no one would have been the wiser. But since this was purported to be a horror movie on VHS, it's not hard to imagine many a disappointed rentals.

Basically the blonde on the cover, Nancy Everhard, is an archaeologist who finds a stone amulet cursed by a monk that transforms its possessor into an all-powerful god of vengeance to destroy the bloodline of the man that killed him. The thief's current ancestor is a crime lord with strong political ties hellbent on finding who's suddenly vanquishing his family. Jan-Michael Vincent and R. Lee Ermey get involved simply by being stationed in the area at a U.S. military base called upon to investigate her initial spellbound killings.

Although this all takes a backseat to chessy one-liners ("you already took my family jewels once so this time you'll have to take a chunk outta my ass!"), actors mysteriously dubbing over themselves in random scenes, and a horrifically bad synth score. Mostly, Demonstone is an excuse for Vincent and Ermey to shoot/blow up piles of Filipinos and engage in chases with speeding junkers and armed dirtbikers in a flick that could have just as easily been helmed by Bruno Mattei somewhere in-between his Cop Game (1988) and Born to Fight (1989). So if you like this very specific niche of action movie, this serves as an interesting take that you might have otherwise passed on due to shady marketing.
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