[Cinepocalypse Review] 'Attack of the Demons' attacks your senses with loads of cartoony, violent fun!
In the world of horror films, one style we don’t see enough of is animated horror. Having just played at Cinepocalypse, Attack of the Demons is the perfect example of why filmmakers should tackle this limitless genre more often…
…When it comes to animation, there is very little limit to the imagination of what can end up on screen. Eric Power, director/animator of Attack of the Demons, made my eyes weep bloody tears of joy in seeing what he was able to do with his love letter to horror. Written by Andreas Petersen, Attack of the Demons centers on a small, mountain town, where a villainous Satanist decides to unleash literal hell at a rock concert by transforming most of the town into goo-spitting demons. Now, it’s up to a trio of geeky strangers to save the town the only way they know how: with nerd knowledge!
Power sets the tone early for this wild homage to creature features, beginning as so many in the 80s often did, with an old man out with his dog becoming the first of many to become some-thing else. Followed by a score from John Dixon that plays like a kickass Halloween party mix mashed with classic arcade games, Attack of the Demons informs us that, just like the films it’s inspired by, we’re in for something fun, gory, and as insane as the hell the title creatures come from. As we soon learn, this film bleeds Halloween, and contains all of the spirit of the best creature features and then some. Attack of the Demons is loads of ooey, gooey, demonic fun!
Petersen’s script introduces us to a trio of characters who could all be the typical hero in their own film. There’s the dorky guy, Kevin (Thomas Petersen), the cool loner, Jeff (Andreas Petersen), and the punky “final girl”, Natalie (Katie Maguire). Though the dialogue is sometimes a little rough and the voice-acting leaves a lot to be desired, each of these kids are worthy of rooting for. Maybe we don’t expect the sometimes obnoxiously, too polite Kevin to be a dick, but Jeff and Natalie are given plenty of opportunity to demean or insult the others, yet they never do. Instead, the filmmakers present a group of kids, all of them outcasts in their own right, who lift each other up instead of tearing one another down, an endearing trait which most horror fans will enjoy, since we’ve all likely experienced being outcasts ourselves thanks to our fandom. Also refreshing is that none of these kids are trying to bone each other, and are instead just allowed to be friends, which is something we don’t get enough of in the genre when both sexes are involved.
The filmmakers give each of these characters a unique place in the world which separates them from the rest of society, mainly through their fandoms. Whether it’s Kevin’s horror obsession, as we first find him reading “Monstar Magazine”, Jeff’s passion for videogames, or Natalie’s love of indie music, there’s a little something in Attack of the Demons for all sorts of fans. There’s something beautiful in the idea that, even though different fandoms separate these characters, with all three ending up somewhere by themselves, such as Kevin at a little theater showing an old Italian horror flick, it’s when the outside world-in the form of hordes of ugly demons-attacks that they come together. It’s as if Attack of the Demons is trying to tell us all to get our shit together and stop bickering online, that we’re stronger together through our fandoms and different tastes than we are in disparaging them for it, which is an inspiring message that brings a ton of heart to the film.
Attack of the Demons has great characters, but what it’s exceptionally good at is blowing our minds with enough cartoon monster carnage to satisfy even the most hardcore horror fans. Taking cues from Night of the Demons, The Thing, Ghostbusters 2, and a whole host of others, Attack of the Demons is filled to the brim with inspired monsters which infect others through some nasty goo-spitting. You may hear animated and think Attack of the Demons is for kids, but Power dives headfirst into the body horror elements of the story, presenting tons of nasty shit that will make your jaw fall off. People fuse together, monstrous fox heads hang from human chests, and all sorts of other abominations walk the streets, including demonic bears, owls, and more. I feel confident in saying that if Attack of the Demons were a live action film, it would rival The Thing in terms of glorious creature FX. Without the restrictions of live action, Power is free to introduce as many different looks for the monsters as he can. This is a horror film made by horror fans for horror fans. You’ll have a blast watching these gross fiends wreak havoc on our heroes.
This is gore-soaked horror with a videogame style sense of adventure perfect for the whole family. And I genuinely mean that. Power has created a film that may not necessarily be for kids, but works as a wonderful introduction to more sinister stuff for tykes that have moved past the Paranormans of the world and are interested in something a bit more horrific. And like the best animated films, Attack of the Demons is one that, despite all of the nastiness, still manages to hit you right in that red weak spot, the heart.
Attack of the Demons spits toxic demon crap on the idea that animated films are just for kids. Give this one a watch, and learn the hardcore power of, er, Eric Power.
By Matt Konopka