SLASHER MONTH: Demonwarp (1988)

Woah boy, Demonwarp.

Originally meant to be directed by John Carl Buechler and star Jack Palance, budget woes changed things up and this ended up being made by Emmett Alston (Nine Deaths of the NinjaNew Year’s Evil) on board and George Kennedy — who stipulated that his daughter Shannon must have a role, that he’d only be on set for three days and that he’d get $15,000 for his work.

Jack Bergman has led four of his friends — Fred Proctor, Carrie Austin, Cindy Ossman* and Tom Phillips (Billy Jacoby!) — to his uncle’s cabin for a weekend of booze, sex and hijinks.  That was the plan, but the truth is that his uncle was taken away by a sasquatch and a woman killed right in the place where they’re supposed to be hanging and banging.

Then there’s Bill Crafton (Kennedy), an angry older man who is both the crazy man warning them all to stay out of the woods and the tough elder seeking his missing daughter. After the girls get naked, the beast attacks and wipes out everyone but Jack, Carrie and Cindy, who survive the night only to have to wander a path back to civilization.

If you’re like, “Oh cool, another Bigfoot slasher ala Night of the Demon,” just stay tuned.

That’s when they meet Tara (Kennedy’s daughter Shannon) and Betsy (Michelle Bauer!), who are seeking a field of marijuana, which leads to Bauer getting nude — shock of shocks! — and zombies showing up. That’s when this movie goes off the rails, seemingly throwing everything you’ve ever seen in ten horror movies, proving you a 5 for $5 for 5 nights rental experience all in one film.

Shot in the Bronson Cave section of Griffith Park — a setting for many a science fiction and horror film and TV show — Demonwarp then piles on everything it can, like space devil worshippers in a giant UFO experimenting on teenagers, zombies in The Residents t-shirts, George Kennedy running around and Bauer remaining naked for nearly the entire time she’s on screen, as well as a trick ending.

You ever put Chinese food on top of a pizza and then dunk it into a bowl of chili? This film Taco Towns that concept and throws you a crepe, some gruyere cheese, a layer of special guacomolito sauce, wraps it in a corn husk filled with pico de gallo and then layers it with zombies, a Bigfoot who looks more like a gorilla, shoots it all in broad daylight and serves it up in a commemorative tote bag filled with spicy vegetarian chili.

More movies should be this wild.

You can watch this on YouTube.

*Note that Bergman, Proctor, Ossman and Austin’s last names are all taken from members of the Firesign Theater.

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