Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Demagogue (UK, 1997)

(A version of this review appeared in a print copy of the excellent film magazine Shock Cinema some half-dozen years ago. If you don’t know the magazine, you should. For more info on Shock Cinema, check out their homepage).

A wonderfully entertaining, fully tasteless, over-the-top and bloody farce that (due to budget limitations) never reaches the excesses of vintage Peter Jackson, but never the less does its best at trying. The story is consistently inane, with regular fountains of blood gushing everywhere, everything being in such excess that one can’t help but laugh—even if the English accents sported by more than one actor occasionally makes the verbal jokes and word games impossible to understand. Within the first five minutes of the Demagogue, one knows that what lies ahead is going to be a full scale barrage of tasteless, laughable multi-violence as one is promptly served a gross out scene of a blood spurting cesarean section birth of the mutant baby performed with a butcher knife. The baby is the result of genetic experimentation by a cult out to contact other worlds, who hope to use the mutant’s super intelligence for intergalactic communication. DJ and private detective Jason Bason, hired by two obnoxious old farts, infiltrates the cult in order to locate and save the couple’s beautiful daughter, who Jason falls in love with. The leader of the cult, Belladonna Kalashnikov, has the hots for Jason, and, much to the aggravation of her blood-thirsty, kill-happy psycho right-hand man, brings him into their secret compound to be their DJ. Meanwhile, the Doctor in charge of the genetic experimentation, in order to pay off some debts, reveals the value and location of the baby to a family of dreadlocked, ruthless and incompetent Italian gangsters. They choose to break into the compound at the same time as a group of military fighters, and they all get mistaken as invaders from Mars by the cult’s head of security, who has rigged the entire front garden of the compound with hidden weapons. And deep in the bowels of the compound, Jason, unmasked as a detective and tied to the girl he loves, hangs from the ceiling as all mutant-mistakes from past genetic experimentation break free from their prison cell....

Demagogue wears its supposed (according to IMDB) $4,800 budget on its sleeve, but the obviousness of its lowly birth makes it all the more enjoyable. A ballistic ballet of blood and guts spurting from and onto faces and other body parts, nothing is sacred in Adam Trotman & Thmas Lawes’ ridiculously over the top approach to mixing inane science fiction with inept crime and multi-violent action. Heads get knocked off with baseball bats, legs get blown off by bullets, heads get split with hand shovels, bodies get blown up by flying missiles, hippie cultists get cannibalized by mutants, dads get spikes through their foreheads—Demagogue is a true gore hounds feast (providing the gore hound has a humor): a creative, individualistic low budget piece of unapologetic trash in which everyone not just dies, but dies gushing like a fountain. The only thing that is a greater shame than that Trotman & Lawes never made another feature length film after this one is that this one is so hard to find. It seems never to have even made it to DVD.

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