What a pair of titles. Video Demons Do Psychotown and Bloodbath in Psycho Town. Both are great titles for a sleazy drive-in horror flick featuring the three ‘B’s’ — Blood, Breasts, and Beasts. Well, there are two of those, which doesn’t make this flick a total bust, but viewers have been subjected to that all-too common feature of shitty filmmaking: the misleading title. Titles like that above promise something extreme, something visceral, something that satisfies the basest desires of the depraved horror movie fan. But, in truth, this flick is just cheap.
Distributed by Troma, mass purveyors of trash cinema, Video Demons comes to us via writer/director Alessandro De Gaetano.
Released in 1989, Video Demons follows student filmmakers Eric and Karen (Ron Arragon and Donna Baltron) as they set off into rural Indiana to make a documentary movie about a town full of psychics, hence the ‘Psychotown’[sic] of the title.
They focus their efforts on a house once owned by old man Packard. He died there under suspicious circumstances, and the property has since been acquired by Eric’s father, with the intention of renovating it and opening a bed and breakfast. But, tragedy has struck, as a worker was killed after falling off some scaffolding. We viewers don’t see any of that, as Eric and Karen show up later.
The townsfolk give the pair a chilly reception, telegraphing to everyone involved that they have something to hide. There’s never a moment in the film where all is revealed, however. Rather, it turns out that Karen has budding psychic ability, just like the numerous palm readers and fortune tellers of the town, and the phantom voices she hears provide all of this flick’s exposition. We hear of intruders in the Packard house. We hear the truth of the accident that killed the worker.
Her abilities also intrude on the movie the pair are shooting, as when she has psychic flashes, it leaves visual impressions on the videotapes they are making.
Meanwhile, a coven of witches in the town is so unhappy with the pair’s meddling that they decide to go all slasher and remove the problem. Eventually, after about an hour and a half of slow progression in the story, we reach denouement, and any viewer would be hard-pressed to understand any of what just happened.
It’s not as if viewers were overloaded with movie, and had to pick out the relevant bits. Rather, this is a film with a slow pace combined with a story that makes little sense. The psychic exposition is scattered, never cohering in the way De Gaetano must have intended.
But, a horror film with poor storytelling is not necessarily unforgivable, as long as something else is offered up to viewers. When all else fails, make the film bloody. The film fails to deliver there, as well. For a horror flick this lowbrow, there isn’t high enough of a body count, although one of the kills is gruesome.
That is where I am at with this movie. It has so little going for it in story, acting, setting, etc., that I just wanted to see a pile of bodies to make the whole experience worth the time. Alas, that did not happen. Video Demons Do Psychotown is just another movie in a long list that didn’t live up to its title. It falls way down into the dark depths of the Watchability Index, displacing Post Impact at #435. Stay away, unless one happens to be one of those crazy fools working their way through the entire Troma catalogue. If so, watching it just once counts.