Demons III: The Ogre (1988)
By: Devon B. on February 17, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
Stomp Visual (Australia). All Regions, NTSC. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 2.0. 90 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: Lamberto Bava
Starring: Malco, Virginia Bryant, Sabrina Ferilli, Stefania Montorsi, Patrizio Vinci, Alice Di Giuseppe, David Flosi, Alex Serra
Screenplay: Lamberto Bava and Dardano Sacchetti
Country: Italy
AKA: La Casa dell'orco; The Ogre

Years ago I saw the one-sheet art for Demons 3: The Ogre in a magazine. The image of a gnarled, hairy hand in front of a terrified, imprisoned little girl made me instantly want to see what I was sure would be a monster classic. I'm very glad that the Stomp DVD uses the one-sheet art for the cover, but unfortunately, this is an instance where the OFLC's rating really messes with the imagery. I think if the OFLC wants intrusive labelling like this, DVD companies need to make them stickers like CDs have, not this printed on ugliness.

Anyway, back when I'd first read about this movie, the only film I'd seen from Lamberto Bava was Demons, which I absolutely love. As I saw more of his work, I stopped being willing to shell out $20 for a bootleg, and The Ogre never made its way to me.

The Ogre begins with a young girl waking from a nightmare and walking around a gothic castle. She ends up in a cellar area and finds something that looks like a giant spider egg sack on the ceiling. When a monstrous figure emerges, she runs away, only to wake and find it was all a dream…or was it?

Now all grown up, the girl and her family go to a villa where she can work on her next horror novel. However, the castle they stay in immediately re-triggers her old nightmares, and after a scene of her wandering around the castle for a VERY long time, she eventually ends up in the cellar. A cellar identical to the one from her dreams. Her husband insists that it can't be, because she grew up in Oregon. He pronounces it 'Oar-a-gone' just to prove that he's never been near that state. Anyway, viewers who've seen more than three movies will be able to guess what's coming next.

While The Ogre sports a few imaginatively staged shots, it is very clear with this film that the Lamberto apple fell quite a ways from the Bava family tree. The film is brimming with bad acting, but a lot of that blame lies with the dub. The movie has the second rate humour and silly plot points one would expect from an 80s spaghetti horror, like when our heroine goes swimming in completely green water. Forget ogres and anything else that might be lurking, that seems like a sure-fire way to get a nasty infection.

Aside from a funny moment involving a cow, one thing that I'm sure I'll remember is that while Shrek may have taught us all that ogres are like onions, this movie clears up that their favourite flower is orchids. The ogre makeup isn't awful, it just would've benefited from underexposure, a directing choice that also would've better fit the psychological/gothic nature of the film as well. Seeing the ogre run actually makes him laughable, and that's never a good thing in a serious horror movie.

The Ogre was rechristened Demons 3 by Trans-Global Pictures in the UK, which is really unfair. The Ogre may not be as plodding as Lamberto's Until Death, but it lacks the energy of its 'prequel.' This isn't a splatter flick with an ogre tearing people apart at all. What little gore there is, like a cheesy clawed face, is reminiscent of the aftermath of the attacks in The Isle of Fishmen (prior to the gore-boosting for its US release as Screamers).

The Ogre probably fares better in the original Italian language, but the plot is pretty standard. I enjoyed it, but still it wasn't what I was hoping for.
Video
For those used to seeing Lamberto's flicks as fourth generation boots, this DVD will be a real treat. The film is presented at 1.85:1, not 2.35:1 as listed on the sleeve, but as far as I can tell 1.85:1 is the correct aspect ratio. There are a few shots that looked misframed, but I don't think that's necessarily the fault of the transfer. There is grain, but it's never distracting, and the film's colours are vibrant. The print used is exceptionally clean, very sharp, and has minimal damage. I wish all DVDs looked this good.
Audio
The audio track is a two channel English dub. At one point, a character actually comments on the heroine's fine command of the Italian language, which is a bit odd since they're all speaking English, but oh well. The sound is clear with the dialog remaining audible throughout. The score is overbearing and repetitive, but that's not the fault of the DVD. The music is mixed at an appropriate level, and doesn't the audio track doesn't leap up in volume whenever music kicks in.
Extra Features
There's a slideshow, the film's trailer, plus trailers for Lucio Fulci's New York Ripper and Manhattan Baby.
The Verdict
While I was hoping for more of a monster-on-the-loose movie than what The Ogre delivers, it's an okay film. The proceedings are fairly routine, but I only found the movie boring in a few places, like the aforementioned wander around the castle. Regardless, The Ogre has been given a beautiful DVD release, so if you're a fan of the movie, the disc is highly recommended.
Movie Score
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