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John’s Horror Corner: Demonoid (1980), a B-movie about a murderous disembodied crawling hand.

June 25, 2018

MY CALL:  Really mistitled, this should be considered a passable B-movie about a murderous crawling hand. That said, this is a serviceable B-movie perhaps worth your time for a single viewing—but that’s probably it.  MORE MOVIES LIKE DemonoidFor more horror movies that happen to take place (in part) in Mexico, try Hellraiser: Revelations (2011), Dolly Dearest (1991) and The Ruins (2008). Also, consider The Crawling Hand (1963) and Idle Hands (1999) for better killer hand fare.

Director Alfredo Zacarías (The Bees) gives this film a strong opening as a preternaturally powerful (or perhaps possessed) woman battles hooded cultists in a torchlight cavernous lair. The scene is complete with one-handed neck breaks (by the woman), some robe-tearing rapey boob-loosing exploitation shots typical of the 80s (e.g., The Haunting of Morella), and an awesomely campy-gory shot as her hand is chopped off with an ax leaving it to crawl off on its own! PS—This will be the highlight of the movie.

Flash forward to present day, and these caverns are now a silver mine in Mexico owned by Jennifer (Samantha Eggar; The Brood, The Uncanny, Curtains, The Astronaut’s Wife) and her husband Mark Baines (Roy Jenson; Soylent Green, The Car). However, his miners are reluctant for fear of an ancient curse: the curse of the Devil’s Hand.

Deep within the mines Mark and Jennifer discover an ancient chamber complete with quicksand booby traps, a temple with a creepy one-handed demon statue, and a silver hand-shaped container filled with dusty remains—which would later reform into an undead crawling hand.

This demonic hand goes on a body-swapping and re-severing killing spree across Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The special effects shenanigans include low budget face-smushing deaths, fiery possession-compelled suicide, a mutilated skinless zombie-thing, flying prosthetic hands flung about at victims’ faces, a really dumb boxing priest scene, an even dumber syringe stab-fight, various other stabbings and amputations, and lots and lots of crawling severed hand!

Jennifer recruits the help of Father Cunningham (Stuart Whitman; Night of the Lepus, Eaten Alive, The Monster Club) to track down the evil extremity. And speaking of which, apparently a “demonoid” is simply the hand or whomever the hand has momentarily possessed. Sadly, the cool demon statue from the movie poster never comes into play.

Despite its strong opening, this movie weakens considerably into something haphazard and uncompelling. It can certainly be enjoyed for its silly badness, but I’d say this is a one-and-done with no redeemable rewatchability.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 25, 2018 11:53 am

    Which came first Demonoid or Evil Dead. I ask this because I notice some similarities between the two films.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      June 25, 2018 12:31 pm

      Demonoid was released in Mexico in 1980, wide release 1981. Evil Dead was 1981/1983. I couldn’t say if the hand possessions/attacks influenced Evil Dead or not… after all, there were other evil crawling murderous severed hand movies before both of them.

      • June 25, 2018 1:34 pm

        Very true: I just saw a big resemblance in a lot of the camera work as well.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      June 25, 2018 1:39 pm

      Interesting… I’ll keep that in mind the next time I re-visit Evil Dead (which I haven’t seen in years–too many years, in fact).

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