22 July 2011 | Bloodwank
Fun clueless schlock oddity
Man, I just can't get enough of this sweet lunatic trash. The Devil Master was the starting point of prolific trash director/producer Donald G. Jackson (his later works including Hell Comes To Frogtown) and though I've not seen any of his later work if it works like this fun shot of dysfunctional weirdness I'll have to get on it pronto. Plotwise things are simple, members of a group into the occult annoy their leader, the awesomely named (and maned) Laval Blessing, so he sicks a big hairy demon with glowing red eyes on them. Its fairly standard silliness, but the kicks come thick and fast, in no small part due to the fact that any notions of technical ability have been methodically stripped away, leaving only cheap-jack enthusiasm. All the dodgy edits, chintzty sets and inept compositions can't stop things from smoothly bowling along, even where there clearly isn't enough relevant footage and the film has to delve into extended, hilarious filler. A spell of our villain working out at his local dojo will raise smiles, but the bar brawl that comes after is a laugh riot, and this is just a midsection booster. Elsewhere non-acting and characters named after various comic book artists, film-makers and others keep the momentum bubbling and the odd random splash of grue and bleak tone serve to keep you on your toes. Christmas Robbins hams things up an amusing storm as Laval Blessing, while Gunnar Hansen has a fun cameo as a helpful professor and the girls are reasonably pretty (one gets topless as well) so on the human side of things the film checks out OK, but generally the ineptitude is key. That and the monster, which really is pretty cool as monsters go, even if it doesn't appear to often. It really looks just how I'd imagine a beast conjured from the demon side and given life on a fractional budget to be and I cheered a little inside every time it appeared. Oh and weirdly, the ending is actually kinda unsettling in a schlocky sort of fashion, carrying a deranged mean punch that serves to make the whole affair just that little bit more memorable than it otherwise would have been. Altogether this is skippable for 90% of viewers and as far as occult based trash goes it isn't all that interesting, lacking in much in the way of fun esoterica or groovy ritual aesthetics, but if your tastes run towards this kind of no count lunacy its worth a one time watch at least.