WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
As a fun fact about me I’d like to say that I’m an ancient history geek. Specifically I am incredibly interested in Roman history so, when I heard of a movie called Demonicus, I thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to bring together my two seemingly disparate loves: Roman history and watching z-grade horror movies. I hunted high and low to find this one because (surprisingly) nobody seemed to have heard of it and certainly nobody seemed to want to stock it. My efforts eventually paid off and I wasn’t disappointed: it certainly is one of the worst movies I have seen in a very long time. Technical and historical inaccuracies aside Demonicus was clearly made on a minute budget with people who don’t seem to have any acting experience (I don’t care what IMDB says) in a place that looks nothing remotely like Italy. Put your boots on and follow me! We’re gonna hike up Mount Demonicus…
Our story begins in Italy as a group of 5 friends and their college professor (all of whom look about the same age) have decided to take a little holiday / do some research on the history of Roman slavery. As part of their itinerary they’re going to spend a few days in the Italian part of the Alps and, for fun, decide that they’ll go up in twos and see who can make it to base camp first. How anyone will get to base camp at all is a mystery since it’s just some random spot under a few trees. Nevertheless the kids seem quite eager and set out on their respective ways and expect to make it to the camp within a day or two. This is where James comes in (why must all the really dumb villains share a name with me?). Leading the pack with his girlfriend whose name I can’t remember he stumbles upon a mysterious cave. While exploring the cave a very quite rockfall happens, exposing a secret chamber containing the body of a dead gladiator. Apparently the rocks created some kind of vacuum that freeze-dried the body so the corpse and all the weapons are remarkably intact.
Now James clearly isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed and decides that the best thing to do upon making this discovery is to try on the dead gladiator’s helmet. As any ancient historian knows the armour of gladiators is often possessed by demonic spirits and should be handled with the utmost care, but James doesn’t seem to be aware of this fact. As soon as he puts the helmet on things that look like the Wisps from Warcraft III appear above his head and he becomes possessed by the spirit of Tyranus (the naming of the demon is very complicated in this movie). With most possessions there comes some epic music, and Demonicus proves to be no exception in this regard and we are entertained by a good 10 minutes or so of James / Tyranus playing with his new weapons, making a variety of different stances and then watching it all over again from a different camera angle. Once he grows tired of this he runs outside and kills his former girlfriend so that he can chop her up and use parts of her in the stew he’s making. With that done he heads out on patrol looking for his other friends so that they too can become a part of the special meal he’s preparing.
So you see, way back in the day, there was this man named Spartacus. He was a slave who led a rebellion against the Roman Republic and was a serious thorn in the Romans’ side for a few years. Turns out, and I wouldn’t have known this without watching the movie, that he had a buddy, Demonicus. While Spartacus bravely fought for the good of the slaves Demonicus fought only for evil. When Spartacus and the other slaves were crucified at the end of the revolt Demonicus went and hid in the hills. James, now possessed by Tyranus (which is apparently Demonicus’ real name), must prepare a stew of human body parts and prepare a victim (who just happens to be a virgin) for Demonicus to eat once he’s been resurrected (but not in James’ body). See? Told you it was all very confusing.
Be prepared to see a lot of running around in the woods, some very poor attempts at brutish masculinity, random fights and cheap costumes and effects. Not for the faint of heart or those unaccustomed to watching bad horror movies.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Being punched in the face will heal a sword wound in your stomach perfectly.
- You don’t need any hiking gear to go hiking in the Alps.
- When hiking through the alps for days you should always break off in twos rather than travel in one safe group.
- Randomly stringing Latin phrases together will revive undead gladiators.
- A coffee table book on Rome will give you all the information you need to combat a demonic gladiator.
- A single soul can be resurrected in numerous bodies.
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