Without really telling you outright how old I am, I’ll tell you that I was a freshman in high school when the television show that won’t seem to die, South Park, premiered on Comedy Central. At that time, the animation style was a wholly unique endeavor that started out as something crude and developed into a more polished practice over time.
Why am I even talking about South Park, you may ask? Because as soon as Eric Power’s Attack Of The Demons started, I was taken back to being 14 in my mom’s living room.
The animation style of this demon-zombie romp is very much in the same vein as the long-running Trey Parker/Matt Stone hit. It also takes place in a small mountain town and is filled with mostly male characters.
“This Peter Steele-doppelganger with glowing green eyes goes onstage and chants the incantation to the huge audience.”
I’m not trying to say that the animation style is something completely derivative here. I would say that Power (who animated the film in addition to directing it) was clearly influenced by this style, probably grew up watching the aforementioned show like most people 35 and under (who didn’t have super strict parents) can say. It shares similarities, but Power built upon the formula and has particularly awesome ideas for his monsters, which let’s talk about them, shall we?
The town of Barrington has a big music festival every year that takes place around Halloween. Natalie (voiced by Katie Maguire) is joining her boyfriend Chet (Eric Power) and his friend Brandon (Andreas Petersen, who also wrote the script), who are both music journalists, to see her favorite band at a small bar called Sylvester’s. Chet and Brandon are going to see The Banshee Riders, the best horror punk band in the world, which makes me wonder if they’re supposed to be some kind of take on The Misfits? It doesn’t matter much because we only see them at the beginning and end of their sets.
Meanwhile, Jeff (also Andreas Petersen) is visiting his “crazy” survivalist uncle who lives up on the mountain, and he runs into his old friend from high school, Kevin (Thomas Petersen). Jeff is obsessed with video games and Kevin is obsessed with old movies, so the two of them are respectively at an arcade and the movie theater while the festival is occurring. It’s good that all three of these characters didn’t attend the music festival because, after the Banshee Riders, an untitled musical guest comes onstage. We meet this character briefly at the beginning, chanting incantations in the woods before he kills a friendly hiker in the woods. This Peter Steele-doppelganger with glowing green eyes goes onstage and chants the incantation to the huge audience. This and some glowing goo flying around turns everyone in attendance into a demonoid zombie. This demon goo is not exclusive to turning only humans into demon zombie flesh cocktails, the disease often fuses two people, or animals together, meaning some very cool animation of skeleton owls, rabbit chickens, and all kinds of other grotesque monsters.
“…doesn’t crack open a whole new spin on the zombie genre…but it’s a lot of fun and cool to watch.”
Attack Of The Demons doesn’t crack open a whole new spin on the zombie genre, which can be said of about 95% of the films focused on the undead, but it’s a lot of fun and cool to watch. It tips its hat to Evil Dead where there’s a somewhat clueless man who has a book that is supposed to stop the demons, and of course the grotesque amalgamations of human and animal and…other brings about comparisons to the effects in John Carpenter’s The Thing. I also appreciate the underlying message that music festivals kind of suck in general, because it’s largely true…or I’m old, which is entirely possible. It also says that having interests outside of what everyone else around you likes can be seen as a good thing, and in this case, could save your life.
Attack of The Demons is definitely worth seeing from a visual storytelling perspective. There’s some really awesome animation with some funny and scary thrown in for good measure. Check it out if you’re a fan of South Park obviously, but also if you love a good demon possession, zombie apocalypse, or general disaster flick. It has enough to go around to scratch all of those itches, and more.
Attack Of The Demons (2019) Directed and animated by Eric Power. Written by Andreas Petersen. Starring Katie Maguire, Andreas Petersen, Eric Power, Thomas Petersen, August Sargenti. Attack of the Demon screened at the 2019 Cinepocalypse!
7 out of 10 stars