Revisiting The Last Drive-In: Demon Wind and House of the Devil

Each week, the 25YL horror crew has been doing a round table discussion on the most recent episode of Shudder’s The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs. This week, the horror host presented a double feature of 80s Raimi-esque nonsensical fx driven fun with Demon Wind and followed that up with modern horror masterpiece Ti West’s House of the Devil. 25YL members Steven Wandling, Holiday Godrey, Josh Lami, Aaron Schweighardt, Will Thompson, and Rikki Robinson assembled for this week’s discussion.

Steve: I’ve noticed a recurring theme in The Last Drive-In, especially the last couple episodes, to pair extremely different films. I think last night was no exception as we got Demon Wind and then Ti West’s House of the Devil. First up was Demon Wind so when I say the phrase ‘demon wind’ what comes to your minds?

Even the demons looked slighty confused about the plot in Demon Wind.

Aaron: Farts.

Rikki: Low budget. Wind not fog.

Josh: Not good. Not even the good kind of not good, just not good. Joe Bob’s segments were great. The movie was the first one we’ve seen on here though that I just flat-out didn’t like.

Steve: Definitely low-budget. It was like they saw Evil Dead and were like “fuck yeah we can do this” but…

Will:  Alien Nation/Babylon 5 alien shows up to kinda sorta save the day from a completely non-understandable vomit monster?

Aaron:  After much soul-searching, I’ve made the painful decision to discuss this unbearable movie. I can’t fathom how Joe Bob gave it three stars. Might be the worst movie they’ve shown so far.

Steve: I liked the fx, other than that it was ridiculous. It was really fun to live tweet to. I do remember that.

Will: Oh god no Aaron C.H.U.D. holds that distinction for me. Woof, what a pile of crap!

Steve: …and not ridiculous good.

Aaron: Yeah, they totally ripped off Evil Dead with that duplicate book of the dead. Though did Jason Goes to Hell rip this off with the magical daggers?

Steve: I’ll take Demon Wind over C.H.U.D. honestly.

Rikki: I just really thought not much made sense in terms of continuity.

Aaron: I still think C.H.U.D. was better.

Will: I still think you’re wrong, haha (kidding).

Rikki: I wasn’t here for C.H.U.D.

Aaron: Still bottom tier but not that bad.

Josh: There was continuity? Of any kind?

Steve: Jason Goes to Hell is like the luckiest fan fiction ever written.

Rikki: No Josh. None.

Will: Demon Wind had some passion behind it. As Joe Bob said, ‘C.H.U.D. was a slum-fest for a bunch of hoity-toity actors.

Steve: Say something nice about the movie…if you can. Haha! Anyone?

Rikki: Ummmmm…

Josh: Broke ass Kevin Bacon has a cool jacket.

Aaron: I couldn’t follow what the hell was going on. I’ve got nothing nice to say.

Steve: It looked like it would have been a blast to make.

Rikki: I agree with that Steve.

Will: I liked the make-up and I thought the initial atmosphere was nice. The problem was they didn’t actually move the film anywhere but the same location and it ruined the admittedly cool location they had.

Rikki: I mean…I was entertained.

Steve: Not knowing what’s going on isn’t a prerequisite for me. I mean, some of my favorite films I don’t have any idea what the hell’s going on…but I hear what you’re saying. Same here Will.

Rikki: But like in a really? this is happening?! kinda way.

Will: A girl turns into a doll and explodes. That’s awesome.

Steve: I was entertained. It reminded me of the movie within the movie in Lamberto Bava’s Demons…like not exactly that movie.

Josh: I might have already said this but I’d like just one week where we get two beloved classics back to back. I don’t need it every week or even every 5 weeks. Just once. I love watching garbage, but one night of pure horror classics would be pretty sweet.

Aaron: Joe Bob’s story about Lou Diamond Phillips, his ex-wife, Melissa Etheridge and David Crosby was way more interesting than anything in Demon Wind.

Steve: …but something like that (Demons).

Will: I agree Josh, in a sense, but this was one of my favorite nights of Joe Bob ever.

Rikki: I mean sometimes you can enjoy a horror film because it is awful.

Steve: I don’t know. No comment on anything to do with any of those people. I agree Rikki.

Rikki: Joe Bob’s Shirt! So awesome.

Steve: I enjoy plenty of worse films I’m sure, but it didn’t click.

Josh: Even the drink options sucked in that movie. “Coke, beer, water, or goat’s milk?” Like, those are my options? I guess “beer” me, but I know it’s gonna be piss-water. It’s the ’80s.

Steve: The lead guy is a really big douchebag. Hahaha…that line.

Rikki: They kinda all were.

Aaron:  And can we talk about the characters?! They were way too nonchalant about everything. I mean, multiple skeletons, demon children, their friend turning into a doll and bursting into flames. And they’re just like “eh”. And they’re some of the blandest characters I’ve seen in a while.

Steve: I don’t remember any of them, so you’re probably right.

Will: I remember them all but only because they looked like strange variations of other, more famous/talented actors.

Rikki: I mean the one turned into a doll and was forgotten quickly. A bleeding doll!

Josh: Those Power Rangers lightning effects, man .

Steve:  Yeah that was pretty intense.

Rikki: The punches that were so fake…

Will: The lead guy was a strange James Woods (looking) person, the main girlfriend was a combo of Rhea Seahorn and Kelly Lynch, one of the magicians was a dorky Boyd Holbrook, the lead ‘rapey’ guy was a steroidal Boyd Holbrook, etc.

Rikki: Yup.

Josh: People were comparing it to Evil Dead. To them I say: stop. Stop that nonsense at once.

Aaron: The funniest part of the movie for me was when the “blonde jerk” stereotype was killed by his demon girlfriend, and he responds, “But I loved you.” And yeah, I was totally getting James Woods vibes off the lead Will. Not comparing it in a respectable sense, I think Josh. I think it’s because of that blatant book of the dead.

Will: If I look up the lead actor, Eric Larson, and he’s a psychotic racist windbag then maybe he was James Woods.

Rikki: I wanted them all to die to be honest.

Josh: I knew why, I just felt it was a bad movie.

Rikki: It was a bad movie.

Will: Some of the shots, makeup and voice modulation were definitely Sam Raimi-esque though.

Josh: That too.

Holiday: Wait…someone compared Demon Wind to Evil Dead?

Rikki: Yep.

Will: You can compare something negatively and positively. Demon Wind was a poor Evil Dead wannabe.

Rikki: Truth.

Josh: In the most ripoff of senses, yes, it was Raimi-esque. Not in the homage sense, just “this worked for them, maybe it’ll work for me.”

Aaron: I mean, I did. But more in the sense that they ripped off  Evil Dead, not that they’re comparable in terms of quality. Not by a long shot.

Will: Exactly.

Steve: Not exactly, but if I or anyone else did it’s totally cool to do so.

Rikki: I think lots of people tweeting that night felt the same. A lot of people brought up Evil Dead.

Holiday: Okay, that makes complete sense. I thought he meant positive comparisons and I was starting to have heart palpitations.

Aaron: I felt like it never ended either. When the girlfriend asks, “Is it over? Is it really over?”, I was like, “girl, same.”

Will: And I think ripping off the Sam Raimi aesthetic helps a bit…I still remember the demon/zombie/things in this one and I usually forget those kind of elements in more bland movies. It at least tried.

Rikki: But even good movies evoke other classics.

Josh: At one point the antagonist was cold fog.

Rikki: They just did a horrible job.

Will: Haha, Demon Fog!

Josh: Remember that movie The Happening where wind was the antagonist?

Rikki: I never saw wind. Just fog.

Steve: This was the first (film) I had not seen. Curious if anyone else had seen Demon Wind?

Rikki: Nope.

Will: We aren’t talking about the ninja magicians enough.

Rikki: Agreed.

Will: I had never seen or even heard of Demon Wind.

Rikki: What was that about?

Holiday: No I’d never heard of it, and clearly for a good reason.

Steve: Me either.

Rikki: Shazam!

Aaron: I hadn’t seen it. Out of the ten movies shown so far, I’d only seen four movies once before. Castle Freak, The Changeling, Madman, and House of the Devil.

Rikki: So many characters!

Steve: This I had not seen. I don’t remember if there’s been anything else I haven’t seen (on The Last Drive-in).

Will: Yes Rikki at one point the backup keyboardist for Depeche Mode and a living Madeline doll showed up in the middle?

Rikki: I haven’t seen any of them. Really Will?

Steve: I feel like I missed parts of this movie.

Josh: I watched all of it and still felt that way.

Steve: I mean I definitely watched it.

Rikki: Same.

Steve: I just have no idea what the fuck anyone is talking about.

Rikki: I was like WTF is happening right now?

Josh: House of the Devil was clearly superior. Even if you hate that movie it looks brilliant by comparison. I don’t hate that movie for the record, but many did.

Steve: I love that film…always have.

Rikki: I liked it.

Steve: Big Ti West fan.

Will: I have to say, I had a blast MST3King it on Twitter. I got some decent zingers in. Maybe that is why I enjoyed Demon Wind. I had a lot of fun watching and poking fun at it.

Aaron: We moving on then? Please?

Steve: Before we get into that, out of ten, give me a rating. I’m curious on Demon Farts.

Rikki: Same Will.

Holiday: What the fuck was that/10.

Steve: 3/10 for me.

Rikki: 2/10.

Steve: {Laughs} Holiday nice!

Will: 5/10…maybe a 6.

Josh: 0.3/10.

Aaron: I’m not used to “out of 10” ratings.

Rikki: 2.5/10.

Will: I was entertained, liked some of the effects/makeup, had a good laugh. 5.5 out of 10 (final answer).

Steve: It’s getting better for Rikki by the second. Nice Will. I don’t know what to tell ya Aaron.

Josh: Now it’s up to a 4/10 for me.

Aaron: I don’t either.

Steve: Look at you all…

Josh: Nevermind…back down to a 0.33333/10.

Rikki: Ok let’s say 4/10 because it was fun to laugh at.

Aaron: 1 out of 4 stars.

Steve: Demon Wind is going to become Citizen Kane.

Will: This is funny because these ever increased ratings is what happened to me with House of the Devil.

Steve: That’ll work.

Holiday: Honestly watching that movie was the first time I ever felt snobbish about watching any film.

Steve: Alright. Will said it, let’s talk about it…Ti West’s (In my mind) instant classic House of the Devil. 

Ti West

Rikki: I really liked it.

Holiday: I love it. I want some more of it.

Rikki: It was a slow trip and I loved the climax.

Will: I’m not going to lie…I was in such a snarky mood that I was relentless in bashing House of the Devil on twitter, but the more and more I think about the film, the more and more I fall in love with it.

Josh: House of the Devil: What a look. I mean just based on pure style, if I didn’t know the actors and the movie’s history, I’d have believed it came out in 1980 if someone told me. That’s no easy feat.

Rikki: The main actress was perfect.

Steve: I’m going to let everyone talk more than me. I have one curious question because this was a big deal for me when it came out. Who else has seen it?

Holiday: Yeah I can totally see someone who’d never seen it, mistakenly thinking it was an actual movie from the 80s.

Rikki: I loved the reliance on what we couldn’t see too…made it creepier. Same Holiday.

Steve: Nice Rikki! Me too.

Aaron: I will say, I was excited when I heard that was the next movie. I remember having really good memories of it the one time I saw it before. It didn’t quite hold up to those memories, but I still really dig it. The retro style (especially those opening titles) was great. It’s just a slow pace, reminiscent of the era that it’s paying homage to.

Will: And while my appreciation grows every minute, I do think they had too much build up. Like, shave off maybe 10 minutes and the ending would pack the punch it wanted. That said, I love a slow burn and, as I said, I like it more and more on further analysis.

Josh: I saw it years ago, once in 2011 and once in 2013. This was my third viewing.

Rikki: I like slow-paced horror movies if done right and I thought he did it well.

Steve: I’m a big slow burn fan.

Rikki: Same Steve.

Josh: Same. Slow burn is my preference if I’m being honest.

Aaron: I will say less happened than I remembered. That’s where it didn’t hold up quite to the level as my memories had me believe. But yes, I usually prefer the slower pace.

Steve: and Tom Noonan is a master.

Holiday: Yes, slow burns are great, I laughed out loud at Megan’s head being blown off, that was a great gag.

Rikki: It gives an added feeling of fear because you never know when it will explode.

Steve: Tension building is pretty expert.

Rikki: I mean we knew Megan would die and I agree Holiday.

Aaron: Yeah, I think Greta Gerwig’s death was actually unexpected. Like, I could tell things weren’t going to go well with her, but I didn’t expect something to happen right then.

Steve: I love Greta Gerwig as well.

Will: Same…I just think they botched the execution of the slow burn. Halloween, one of my top 5 all time favorite movies, is also a slow burn but there is a sense of momentum regardless. Sometimes Ti West became obsessed with the monotony and it hurts the explosive climax. That said, I think it is just a timing issue. Shave off 10 minutes of the slow burn (and you don’t even need to ramp up any action) and I think this would have been the perfect horror film.

Rikki: But like, I already had a liking for them both.

Steve: This one works for me. I spent 100 bucks to get one of the VHS they made
a while back.

Rikki: I didn’t see the blonde sidekick and the normal dumb blonde sex fiend.

Steve: All his stuff does.

Will: I will be checking out Ti West’s other films now, for sure.

Rikki: So although not a ton of character development I cared about them.

Holiday: I really liked how they made her friend pretty intelligent, and a decent friend…then killed the shit out of her.

Josh: I think people get annoyed with slow burns because they’re bored. The reason I never get annoyed is that I don’t get bored watching character development and a story unfolding. Maybe it does take a while to get to the horror, but that’s okay because there’s clearly an interesting story being told. I assume horror is coming when it’s time for it to come. Not to mention dread-building is a key component to horror.

Steve: Check out The Innkeepers and The Sacrament.

Rikki: Yes Holiday.

Steve: Good point Holiday.

Will: But, in summary, I originally rated this 2.5 on Letterboxd. Then I went in and changed it to 3.5 and then again to 4. It has that effect.

Steve: It hurts more and scares more and you feels sick in the pit of your stomach more when it’s a “real” character.

Holiday: It reminded me of how they killed Drew Barrymore in Scream, like how dare you kill the decently intelligent chick?

Rikki: Yes!

Holiday: Let’s you know they don’t care about your feelings. And I like that in a movie.

Rikki: Same.

Josh: The Sacrament is my favorite Ti West film. I genuinely couldn’t get into The Innkeepers, and I tried really hard. It just went nowhere for me. But House of the Devil I felt like had the payoff I was looking for. If anything I’d have extended the last 15-20 minutes by an additional 10 minutes so it

Aaron: Did anyone see Cabin Fever 2?

Rikki: Yes.

Steve: Yeah.

Josh: Yeah, it’s not bad either. Ti West disagrees.

Steve: But that’s not his doing. I kid of enjoy it. He lost control over that project.

Josh: More semen in that movie than I anticipated.

Aaron: Ti West basically disowned it as it was taken out of his hands. But the first Cabin Fever unexpectedly became one of my favorite horror films, and that sequel was awful . Only thing I liked was the use of the title track from Prom Night.

Steve: I have the third one actually as well. Horrorpack just sent it to me. That’s always a good thing, more semen than expected.

Rikki: I liked this movie. I would watch it with a friend who hadn’t seen it. I would recommend it

Will: “More semen than expected” should be one of those quotes that goes on the DVD cover.

Steve:  What do you all think of the final act in House of the Devil?

Josh: Cabin Fever:Patient Zero, on the other hand, was damn near unwatchable and I haven’t even seen the remake.

Rikki: We finally got to see her amazing legs.

Steve: I have Patient Zero but I’ve never watched it.

Rikki: It’s good.

Steve: Yes we do.

Josh: As I said my only complaint is I’d extend the final act of House of the Devil by about 10 minutes.

Rikki: I thought she was a goner.

Aaron: It was somewhat over before I realized it.

Rikki: I liked the intensity.

Aaron: I agree with Josh.

Rikki: Same Aaron.

Will: That’s funny Josh. I wanted to extract 10 minutes from the build up but leave the conclusion as is and you want to extend the ending by ten minutes. Interesting.

Rikki: I just really liked that actress too.

Aaron: I feel like it was a ton of buildup, and not enough climax. I’m basically agreeing with both of you, Josh and Will.

Steve: I think it’s perfect just as it is, just to have that out there as an opinion.

Josh: It’s not the buildup that bothered me, it’s just the jarring nature of the final act. It could have been spread out a little more.

Rikki: I was sad she ended being pregnant with the spawn of Satan.

Aaron: Wait…she was pregnant?!?!

Riks: Yep.

Holiday: Yes!

Josh: With the Antichrist, duh.

Will: Did Satan’s baby protect her from a gunshot wound direct to the skull?

Rikki: The nurse said you’ll be fine…both of you.

Holiday: As soon as she shot herself I was like, great she’s gonna be a vegetable mom.

Rikki: And patted her tummy.

Aaron: Man, I must’ve tuned out. Sorry, didn’t get my second viewing in, and live tweeting was taking my attention.

Josh: Aaron just had his fucking mind blown.

Will: I think Aaron watched the M. Night Shyamalangadingdong’s movie Devil on accident.

Rikki: It was at the very end.

Aaron: It’s been years since the last time I saw it so I probably forgot that.

Steve: It’s the last second.

Josh: Wait Bruce Willis was dead the whole time?!?!?!!

Steve: It can be missed.

Rikki: Setting up a sequel?

Will: Daycare of the Devil

Holiday: Fuck yes, I’d watch that.

Aaron: I was going to ask earlier,  regarding Greta Gerwig, does anyone here have experience with the mumblecore subgenre?

Steve: Yeah.

Rikki: No.

Will: Kinda sorta.

Steve: I love Greta.

Josh: I know mumble rap a little.

Steve: Joe Swanberg…

Rikki: Greta was amazing.

Will: Greta is so cool…purposefully annoying as all fuck in this movie.

Steve: Any more thoughts about House of the Devil?

Rikki: Nope. I thought it was really good!

Josh: 8.5/10. Fine holiday fun. Not fine Holiday fun.

Will:  Literally went from 2.5/5 to 4/5 in a matter of days. I consider that a movie that sticks with you.

Steve: 10/10 for me.

Holiday: I thought they did a good job on the songs they decided to put in the movie, apparently my mother saw Greg Kihn in concert in the 80s and he performed “The Breakup Song” that was playing as they drove to the house.

Rikki: 9.5/10.

Will: So, 8/10 for me then (would that be the equivalent of 4/5)?

Aaron: I wasn’t as big a fan of Joe Swanberg’s films, which featured Greta more. I was more into Andrew Bujalski (Funny Haha, Mutual Appreciation), and the Duplass Brothers (The Puffy Chair, Baghead). I love Greta Gerwig once she teamed up with Noah Baumbach post-Mumblecore.

Josh: Yes or a 16/20 Will.

Steve: Duplass Brothers are great.

Holiday: I’m a strong 9/10 on it.

WIll: Mumblecore is my least favorite metal genre of music.

Josh: Oh wait, Ladybird was awesome. Greta made that.

Megan (Greta Gerwig) waits for Samantha (Jocelin Donahue) outside a babysitting assignment turned sinister.

Steve: Yes she did. Yes it was.

Will: Got nominated for an Oscar or 2 for it.

Aaron: I’d also throw Frances Ha and Mistress America out there as recommendations, which were both favorites of mine the years they came out.

Will: Huge crush on Greta in 20th Century Women.

Steve: Anything else about the movies on Joe Bob?

Rikki: Nope.

Will: Mumblecore discussion assemble!

Steve: How about any (of Joe Bob’s) segments?

Aaron: Yes.

Rikki: His shirt was amazing.

Steve: Then you can all talk Mumblecore all night. I’ve seen that shit.

Aaron: How could he discuss Mary Woronov and not mention Rock N Roll High School, one of my favorite movies?!

Josh: Not this week. North Carolina barbecue is better than South Carolina and I’m officially done for the evening. Bout to watch Happy Death Day 2 U.

Will: Joe Bob’s analysis is what turned me around on House of the Devil. 

Holiday: His outfits are always on point.

Steve:  Mary Voronow is amazing.

Rikki: And I love how every time he’s like…’ok back to the film’…and then goes off on one more tangent.

Will: Also, I wish he elaborated more on the fact that some directors hate being labeled “horror” directors.

Holiday: Well yeah, it’s tradition.

Josh: That will never stop Rikki.

Steve: It’s true. I’m out. Thanks everybody.

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Written by steve wandling

Steve is the Assistant Horror Editor at 25YL and also a staff writer. He hosts two podcasts (Repo Nerds and Archivists Bet on Sexy Witches) that can both be found at www.blogtalkradio/archivistsbetonsexywitches . He's also a musician who is currently half of dawkwave duo Circuit78.

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