CHILLING CLASSICS MONTH: The Demon (1979)

Imagine a movie that starts with a fourteen year-old girl being killed by a faceless maniac wearing a black leather glove with razor-tipped fingers. If you’re ready for that before the first credits roll, then you’re ready for The Demon.

That very same killer then kills a trucker, steals all his money and gets a place in a sleazy hotel in Johannesburg. Emily’s parents are frustrated by the police and turn to Bill Carson (Cameron Mitchell, the whole reason why I picked this movie), a psychic detective who was once a U.S. Marine. Of course.

Emily’s mother just wants to know if her daughter is alive or dead. Her father, though, wants revenge. Carson replies that its best for the Parkers if they don’t find the killer, telling them that he’s pure evil. I mean, you should believe a dude who can tear up a bed like this.

The killer has moved on to an American schoolteacher named Mary (Jennifer Holmes, who was on TV’s Newhart before being replaced by Julia Duffy). She first sees him outside her classroom window, as he can seemingly appear and disappear at will. And when she’s not seeing killers, she’s hanging out with her South African cousin who is dating Dean Turner, a rich American playboy that Mary hates.

Jo is out having fun and poor Mary is stuck at home, getting phone calls with heavy breathing and menacing knocks on her front door. Is it the killer? Or is he happy to be at home grunting, groaning, doing push-ups and shredding porno mags?

The Demon also likes to go out and try and pick up ladies. And where does he go? Boobs Disco! Yes, this was a real place. And yes, it was really called that.

We even get to hear some of Lipps Inc.’s “Funkytown” in this scene, as the killer is stopped from raping a girl by two motorists, one of whom is slashed and the other gets his motorcycle blown up real good.

Meanwhile, Cameron Mitchell is getting the most out of his ten minutes of screen time. I guess that’s all the producers could afford. He creates a faceless sketch of the killer and tells the Parkers where the man lives. He warns Mr. Parker one more time, but the guy just can’t listen and gets his neck snapped pretty much immediately, then thrown off a balcony.

Children are playing in the woods when they find Emily’s remains, which brings Carson back to Mrs. Parker, telling her that he’s sorry, but the time of The Demon is drawing close. She accuses him of being behind all of this to keep his career going as a psychic and shoots him in the face. Well, that had really nothing to do with the other half of this film, which is becoming a riff on Halloween.

Mary and Jo go out on dates that night while The Demon gets ready for them. Mary tells Bobby, her man, that she’s been getting stalked late at night. And she’s right — The Demon has, for reasons known only to him, broken in to kill Jo and rich guy Dean, then hide in the house.

You know, if I had a cool razor glove, I wouldn’t suffocate people with a plastic bag like The Demon. But hey — I’m just a writer on a web site.

It’s time for this movie to go full Halloween, with The Demon chasing Mary all over the house — up and down the stairs, through a closet, into the attic and finally through a hole in the roof. She finally makes it to the bathroom, where she builds a trap with scissors, the shower and shampoo. That’s right — The Demon is the first masked killer I’ve seen that is basically killed by slipping in the shower.

If you’re watching this movie based on the description Mill Creek gives, you’re going to be disappointed. Cameron Mitchell never gets to be the Australian Dr. Loomis, instead being felled by a housewife with a handgun. And I know that I give generous berth to the transfers on these, but even I was amazed by how long scratches would appear on the footage.

If you enjoy scenes that having nothing to do with the overall film being given the same importance as major facts, then let me recommend The Demon. Come for Cameron Mitchell, stay for Boobs Disco.

You can also watch this for free on Amazon Prime.

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