A mix of slasher and the supernatural, Bloody Ballet, The Harrowing, and The Demon Inside really worked as a triple feature for me. Each film has protagonists struggling with their inner demons while the bodies pile up around them, and all three movies are drenched in a rainbow of colorful horror lighting.
BLOODY BALLET (2018)
The director of Bombshell Bloodbath pays homage to the 80s giallo era and wraps it in the neon glow of Suspiria with a splash of Dressed to Kill to enhance the flavor.
A young woman finally gets the lead in The Nutcracker at her dance school, but that’s when a killer in a freaky drag mask and wig starts slicing and dicing all the students with a straight razor.
And in true Euro horror fashion, just because there’s a killer in a mask doesn’t mean there can’t be demons and zombie corpses…
Along with the rich reds, blues, and purples, there’s an 80s synth score, a string of seemingly disjointed sequences that are all effectively menacing, creepy random objects tossed in—like a music box and a scary doll, and camera work that would remind Argento of just how influential he is.
And the murder scenes are gorrific. Don’t expect any CGI, because Bloody Ballet delivers classic 80s practical effects that will make you cringe.
Plus there are appearances by scream queens Caroline Williams and Debbie Rochon. The only thing missing is bad dubbing.
THE HARROWING (2017)
Since this one is from the director of the Halloween horror flick Hallow’s End, I made sure to put it in my watchlist.
This is about as “inner demons” as a movie gets, with the concept molding the entire plot.
A super hot, Henry Rollins type daddy detective experiences what he believes is a supernatural confrontation during a case, and it begins to affect his personal and professional life. Him bound and gagged has definitely affected mine…
His boss, icon Michael Ironside, sends him undercover to an insane asylum, where he is under the watchful eye of the lead doctor, icon Arnold Vosloo.
He has grisly and colorful Silent Hill-esque nightmares, but unfortunately these sequence are about all the horror we get, which isn’t quite enough to move the 110-minute running time along.
The Harrowing plays out mostly like a mystery as the detective tries to investigate strange happenings and disappearances of patients that he believes have something to do with demons.
The movie keeps you watching, but there is absolutely nothing here that isn’t cliché, and you will know right rom the start what the “twist” is going to be.
At least the final scene has some fun demon moments. Plus, our hot dick gets shirtless.
THE DEMON INSIDE (2017)
This one has a lot of “demon in the closet” potential, beginning with a mother’s chilling first encounter with the creature in her child’s bedroom.
There are even several nods to Poltergeist, so it caught my attention. As did the lips of her husband, our leading man.
The movie quickly takes a surprising turn into more campy territory when the wife decides she wants to contact the hunky guys from a ghost hunter show.
And I was fine with that shift in tone. I just feel like it didn’t shift enough, for it could have been a lot more fun and funny than it is.
The crew starts to steal the show right away with some wickedly humorous moments, but just as quickly, the film weirdly skips ahead to after they’ve all been killed or possessed by the demon! WTF?
So much missed opportunity for the bulk of this movie, which then returns focus to the main guy who, despite those luscious lips, simply does not bring on the charismatic hero vibe you would expect. My hopes for an Evil Dead clone were dashed.
Not to mention, despite plenty of red and blue lighting, a plot similar to the closet traveling entity in the Boogeyman 2005, and the characters getting possessed and turning on each other, there are virtually no special effects or horror makeup to deliver any visual chills and thrills.
The Demon Inside is a movie that simply never fully delivers on anything it promises.