The Demon (1981)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Creature Film  |   Run Time - 95 min.  |   Countries - South Africa   |   MPAA Rating - R
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By not including any actors of color in its lily-white cast, this dull, dimly lit slasher nonsense from South Africa is a rare instance of apartheid, actually sparing the dignity of those it means to oppress. The Demon moves disjointedly between two sets of characters whose lives are impacted by an "aberration of the species" that is "less than a man and more than a man." Exactly what that is, is never addressed, nor is the reason why the rubber-masked killer wears pre-Freddy Kruger razor-tipped gloves but chooses to suffocate his victims with ordinary plastic bags and twine. Cameron Mitchell is set up early on as a main character, a psychic investigator called upon to find an abducted girl. He glares intensely into space, tears up a feather pillow, and speaks in hushed tones to the vengeful father, then disappears for the next 30 minutes, re-emerging just long enough to be shot in the forehead ("Did your extra sensory perception prepare you for this?"). The bulk of the screen time is enjoyed by a pair of cousins who teach at a nursery school and spend quality time with their respective boyfriends. Meanwhile, the unidentified maniac looms in the background, stalking the girls for some reason rather than just offing them outright like the rest of his prey. It all leads up to a lengthy cat-and-mouse chase that ends when a resourceful naked pre-school teacher makes an impromptu smock out of a shower curtain and protects herself with a bottle of shampoo and a pair of scissors. Ridiculous as The Demon is, few will gain any pleasure squinting through the dusky cinematography or enduring the long wait for things to actually happen. Boycott it.