FURY OF THE DEMON (2016)
Directed by Fabien Delage
Written by Fabien Delage
Starring Alexandre Aja, Dave Alexander, Jean-Jacques Bernard, Christophe Gans, Pauline Méliès
Much like ANTRUM: THE DEADLIEST FILM EVER MADE, the mockumentary/shockumentary FURY OF THE DEMON is a film that is said to cause riots, death, and madness whenever it is shown to the public. These two films are so similar that at first, I thought I was going to be rewatching ANTRUM all over again. After watching the trailers back to back, they share film footage and both use the interview format to tell the tale of the cursed films. Though indeed, these are two separate films, both hit me on a level that was disturbing and fascinating, sending my mind reeling after viewing as if I had been mesmerized by the celluloid much like the audiences they have said to have cursed.
Filmed in a dead serious documentary format, I want to believe that the diabolical reputation of FURY OF THE DEMON is not a real thing. It is a testament to the filmmaker that I honestly don’t know whether this is an actual account of a lost film causing all of this chaos or if it is fake.
Actual filmmakers like Alexandre Aja, film historians, movie critics, and even the editor of Rue Morgue magazine all make appearances talking about this film as if it were real. Most recently, the film is to have said to have popped up again in a film festival in 2012, causing more mass chaos, bloodshed, and fires. This would be the third recorded showing of the uncredited film that disappeared after each disastrous showing in 1897 and once again in during WWII. Each time lives were lost, minds were bent, and theaters were destroyed by the imagery that has been said to include the devil, spiritual and occult symbols, and possibly subliminal messages. It all sounds very fishy and going by legend alone, I imagine this is all made up to scare gullible audiences.
Still, the film goes the extra length to try to be legit. These experts go into great detail about who they think might be the director of the film, Georges Melies, an actual filmmaker from the latter 19th Century who made the famous pie-faced moon man short “A Trip to the Moon” and scores of other films (most of them lost). Melies was a Master of Special Effects and the film shows his marvelous feats of camera trickery from his early films. These clips are amazing to watch and evoke a haunting tone even more than a hundred years later. The film also adds another suspect, Melies’ protégé Victor Sicarius, who admired and mimicked Melies’ work and fell deeply in love with one of his actresses, Juliette Andre, who later was murdered and mutilated according to the story. Melies exists, but my IMDB searches found no Sicarius or Andre, so this once again backs my theory that it’s all fake.
Still, director Fabien Delage goes out of his way to claim that FURY OF THE DEMON actually exists, delving into the supernatural connection between film and the occult, the history of early cinema and the fascination with spiritualism. Everything from Nazi conspiracies to film restoration libraries to modern urban myth is examined to try to make this as authentic as possible.
Comparisons to ANTRUM: THE DEADLIEST FILM EVER MADE are going to be inevitable. The subject matter is as similar as the tone. Both spend much time letting the viewer know how dangerous the films are. I have to give ANTRUM the upper hand mainly because it actually shows the film it discourses about at the end of the documentary. No such thing for FURY OF THE DEMON. After an hour of hype about the film, the audience isn’t rewarded with a viewing all of our own. ANTRUM does it, which immediately let’s the viewer know that this is all a sham. FURY OF THE DEMON commits to the bit and simply warns the viewer that the film could reappear at any moment and to be on the lookout for it.
I sat through FURY OF THE DEMON with a lot of anticipation. Though subtitled in French, the film still managed to entrance me and I bought into the reality of it. I do feel that some kind of way to show the film at the end would have given the faux-documentary an ending that lived up to the hype. Some looking for in your face horror will find this one to be dry and more educational than scary, though there is an air of spookiness to the subject matter. In the end, I did feel a bit gypped that I didn’t get to see what all of the hubbub was all about. Still, if a film can get me to immediately start digging on the internet to see if it is reel come credits time, it’s got to be doing something right. If you have an interest in conspiracies, the occult, and reality horror, FURY OF THE DEMON is definitely a film you’ll want to track down. I’d pair it with ANTRUM: THE DEADLIEST FILM EVER MADE as a cool paranormal reality double feature.