Black Demons (1991)
By: CJ on April 9, 2003  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Shriek Show (USA). Region 1 NTSC. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 2.0 Mono. 88 minutes
The Movie
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Starring: Kieth Van Hoven, Maria Alves, Joe Balogh and Sonia Curtis
Screenplay: Umberto Lenzi and Olga Pehar
Music: Franco Micalizzi
Country: Italy
AKA: Demoni 3
Shriek Show once again treat us to more low-budget horror fare – this time in the form of Umberto Lenzi's little-seen zombie flick from 1991. It's a pretty appalling affair actually, but highly entertaining nevertheless.

The plot, what there is of it, tells of a young girl, Jessica (Sonia Curtis), her boyfriend Kevin and her brother Dick who arrive in Rio de Janeiro. Whilst there, Dick somehow manages to get himself invited to a Macumba ritualistic ceremony, which he tapes on his tape recorder. He also seemingly acquires a strange amulet which he then wears constantly. Then one day, whilst out driving in rural Brazil, their jeep breaks down and the intrepid trio are invited to stay at the home of a nearby couple.

However, by this time, our Dick is starting to act very oddly, and wanders off to the local cemetery and plays back his audio recording of the Macumba ritual and – surprise, surprise – wakes the dead. All six of them. That's right, six; this is no zombie epic, that's for certain.

Apparently these undead zoms had been waiting to stir to avenge their mistreatment at the hands of the white man. They were black slaves apparently – hence the title, Black Demons. Following this resurrection is a fair quota of bloodshed, violence, murder and copious amounts of bad acting.

This is nowhere near as much fun as Lenzi's previous zombie outing, Nightmare City, but it's not all bad either. The gore is quite groovy and there are some great locations. However, the acting is wretched; we're talking really really bad. The lead actress, Sonia Curtis, should never have given up her day job, that's for sure. The rest of the cast aren't much better either – but she's definitely the worst of a bad bunch. The zombies are the best actors, actually, they're creepy in their own low-budget kind of way and the gore effects are fairly acceptable.

Hmmm…there's not much more to say about this film, except that it's crap. However, I enjoyed it for the trashy fun that it is – they certainly don't make 'em like this anymore, more's the pity.
The transfer on this disc is excellent. The image is sharp (except when Lenzi films out of focus), colours are rich and consistent. It looks fantastic – with no visible print defects or digital compression artefacts (not that I could see, anyway). An astounding job by Shriek Show.
The only audio option available is DD 2.0 mono which isn't too great, it sounds a bit hollow and bass-heavy – but it's workable and there's no real complaints. It could have been better, but that's how it goes sometimes with these obscure titles.
Extra Features
The disc isn't exactly bursting with extras, but it does have an entertaining on-camera interview with Lenzi, who for some reason flatly denies that he has ever made a zombie film. Erm…come again? He claims that both Nightmare City and Black Demons are NOT zombie films, but that the zombies in both films represent some kind of metaphor for whatever social comment it is that he's trying to make. Erm…okay….we believe you…
Also to be found is a very short (I mean SHORT!) on-camera interview with Olga Pehar (Lenzi's wife). There are also some trailers for other Shriek Show discs.
The Verdict
Shit film – but highly amusing. I think that just about sums it up nicely!
Movie Score
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