The Devil's Nightmare

Color, 1975, 59 mins. 56 secs.
Directed by J.C. Cricket

Color, 1971, 51 mins. 56 secs.
Directed by Max Blue

10:30 P.M. MONDAY
Color, 1975, 60 mins. 16 secs.
Directed by Lucas Severin
AGFA (Blu-ray) (US R0 HD)

The fusion of horror and Sex Demongay erotic movies wasn't a regular occurrence at the height of hardcore's theatrical heyday, but it Sex Demondid happen several times with fascinating results. The greatest of them would likely have to be the genuinely unsettling, Poe-inspired The Destroying Angel (which is still crying out for a stacked special edition release), while crazy storefront oddities have popped up here and there like the deranged Hold Your Piece (which got Something Weird in hot water back in the VHS days along with the infamous Widow Blue, which is now available for mainstream retail consumption!). In the spirit of the latter comes a triple feature of once lost all-male, horror-related smut films on Blu-ray from the American Genre Film Archive under the banner Sex Demon and Other Hauntings, and there's no way you're prepared for this one.

The storyline of Sex Demon is straightforward even if the execution is anything but. Seemingly happy NYC couple John and the younger Jim are celebrating their anniversary in the morning with that most romantic of gifts, a tube of KY jelly. John decides to go out and get his boyfriend a medallion as a more traditional present, but the gesture has horrific consequences when wearing it turns Jim into a rampaging sex fiend who Sex Demonpicks up guys and murders them. When one hook-up back at their apartment goes horrifically wrong including the very inappropriate use of a screwdriver, John and one of Sex Demontheir buddies decide to forget about calling the cops and bring in an exorcist instead. At that point we plunge into a maniacal riff on William Friedkin's horror classic with language and imagery way, way beyond anything the MPAA could ever handle.

The next film on the disc is the virtually plotless sex-horror curio Deadly Blows, whose punny title presumably refers to a scene in which a young man living out in the boonies picks up a guy and does him in with a hammer. Devoid of traditional dialogue, it's basically a look at a Bay Area serial killer as he takes out two victims and then sets his sights on his roomie before the memorably grotesque finale; as with the rest of the films in this set, it's packed with extreme material that explains why all of these never got a home Deadly Blowsvideo release (or at least a complete one in the case of film #3) back in the days when the absurd Meese Commission on Pornography caused a clamping down on anything outside of vanilla sex from the mid-'80s well into the Deadly Blows'00s.

Last up is the mysterious 10:30 P.M. Monday, a Los Angeles leather art fantasia about a bearded guy who finds a mysterious invitation to the titular time and ends up in a club (or just an empty available film set) where everyone is engaged in a full-on bacchanal with some odd otherworldly stuff going in a back room. And that's about it. Complete with a little twist ending and featuring black-and-white wraparounds, it's the kind of delirious film collecting dust in the corner of a storage vault somewhere that feels now like it was conceived on a totally different planet.

All three films are taken from rare 16mm prints, with Deadly Blows looking the best by far. Given that Sex Demon was completely extinct until it was unearthed and given a revival screening, what we have here is certain to be the best it will ever look, scratches and missing frames and all. Be warned again that all three of these are extremely strong stuff and will likely appeal to a very niche audience, but if you know what you're getting into, these are fascinating relics of multiple genres colliding with really eccentric and often outrageous results. 10:30 P.M. MondayThe DTS-HD MA 2.0 English mono tracks all sound fine for what they are. Sex Demon comes with a full audio commentary by Ask Any Buddy's Elizabeth Purchell (formerly with AGFA and the 10:30 P.M. Mondaydriving force behind the project) and KJ Shepherd who alternate a few tidbits about this film with a larger history of the New York City gay scene including its theaters, clubs, and personalities connected to this production. Purchell then goes solo for a pair of partial tracks on the other two films (both a bit over 20 minutes), which are useful and informative snapshots of their locations and eras with the one for Monday a particular standout noting the conceptual similarities to Bijou and chronicling a particularly shameful and insane chapter in homophobic L.A. history. Along with a photo gallery, you also get a 37-minute video-sourced trailer reel featuring Al Parker introducing the Topman Video-X Silver VHS line, A Ghost Of A Chance, Jack Wrangler hosting a look at New York Construction Company, Killing Me Softly (with some very familiar music for Andy Milligan fans), The Maneaters, Kiss Today Goodbye, Point Me Toward Tomorrow (which has an insane car crash gag), The Phallic Worshiper, and the Jim Cassidy voodoo hustler oddity Desires of the Devil.

Reviewed on June 30, 2024