Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Demon Cop (1990)

The phrase "worst film ever" has been bandied around so often that it has lost all meaning, but it also invites debate as to how we define what that phrase actually means. I have a great fondness for films like ROTOR, Gymkata, and The Courier of Death, as well as the work of Ed Wood, but while the makers of these may lack the budget and skills of others, their lack of self-awareness creates a fun, delirious, anything-can-happen approach that is rarely boring, at least not for long. Boring to me is a bad film, and the worst one ever would have to be the most boring.

Demon Cop is not boring, but neither could you call it entirely fun. It is in fact one of the most painful, deranged, useless, and hilarious messes I have ever sat through. The plot is just about impossible to decipher, crammed as is with characters and storylines that come and go at whim. An ageing Cameron Mitchell appears for an opening monologue, playing a chain-smoking psychiatrist who rambles on about Edgar Allen Poe and madness, none of which has anything to do with anything.

The main character is neither a demon or a cop, but a probation officer, who may or may not have been in Vietnam and may or may not have contracted something during a blood transfusion that turns him into a werewolf. Every now then two detectives show up and moan that they are investigating gang shootings when they should be on vacation. In addition, a radio talk show host and an ostensibly German Interpol agent put in appearances for some reason. At this point the relentlessness of the noise, the editing, the overloaded incoherent script, the teeth grindingly awful dialogue becomes too much and the experience becomes a painful blur, something to be endured, that you can brag about to your friends.

Without knowing anything about the film’s production history, I would say that it feels like somebody has got hold of some half-finished footage and gamely tried to stitch something together as quickly and cheaply as possible, to shove out to an unsuspecting audience.  The video box promises special effects from “the creators of Terminator 2”, but wisely avoids getting bogged down in too much detail as to who these people might be.

Demon Cop is hard to describe or write about and it’s even harder to recommend. Frankly if the inmates at Guantanamo Bay had been subjected to this rather than waterboarding, they would have sung like canaries. However, if you do get to the end with your brain catching fire, pat yourself on the back, as you will have joined a very elite club.