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The Demon Murder Case

USA 1983
produced by
Len Steckler, Dick Clark (executive), Preston Fisher (executive) for NBC
directed by William Hale
starring Liane Langland, Kevin Bacon, Charles Fields, Tom Ligon, Andy Griffith, Beverlee McKinsey, Eddie Albert, Joyce Van Patten, Cloris Leachman, Ken Kercheval, Richard Masur, Frank Hamilton, Jack Davidson, Benjamin Hendrickson, Becca Lish, Brian Lima, Armen Garo, Duncan Inches, Erika Kruse, Thomas Dorff, David Kennett, William Begley, Peter Gerety, Tom Griffin, Harvey Fierstein (voice)
written by William Kelley, music by George Aliceson Tipton

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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11 year old Brian (Charles Fields) starts acting weirdly, so much so that his parents call in a demonologist (Andy Griffith) to confirm to them what they already seem to know: The boy is possessed by a demon (voiced by Harvey Fierstein). One day, the shenanigans of the boy/demon get too much for Kenny (Kevin Bacon), the fiancé of Brian's sister Nancy (Liane Langland), and he challenges the demon to exit the boy and possess him instead - and soon enough, the boy is healed from his demonic possession while Kenny might act a little erratically, but nothing to really worry about.

Eventually, Kenny and Nancy move into a house owned by Nancy's boss Phil (Tom Ligon), who's quite open about having a soft spot for Nancy. At a party, Phil gets pretty drunk and pretty much throws himself onto Nancy, which causes Kenny to grab a knife, start a fight with Phil and eventually stabbing him to death. Only when he makes his escape it's indicated he might be possessed by a demon. When he's finally arrested, he claims to have no recollection of the incident whatsoever.

In court, Kenny's lawyer (Richard Masur) tries to blame the whole murder on demonic possession, but the judge (Jack Davidson) is level-headed enough to reject all evidence supoorting this line of defense - and ultimately Kenny is convicted not for murder but for manslaughter.

 

This made-for-TV-movie starts out as an amazingly unimaginative and atmosphere-free Exorcist rip-off, only to then give way to your typical love triangle-plot told soap opera-style all framed by an incredibly silly piece of courtroom drama. The genre mix of course totally fails to work out because the director seems to fail to understand (let alone try to excel in) any of the genres the film touches, and a flat screenplay, cardboard characters and a sloppy ensemble effort don't help very much, neither. And despite some unintentional efforts, it's not even so-bad-it's-good ...

In all, a film to be avoided.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD