Animation and horror work well together. So well, frankly, it’s amazing we don’t see it more often. The extent of gruesome injuries on-screen is virtually limitless, as animators are unbound by things like makeup and corporeal forms. Many contemporary horror franchises such as Dead Space and Resident Evil feature full-length animated films which further the lore of their yarns. That’s not to take away from stand-alone films, and thus we have Attack of the Demons, a cut paper animated horror film created by Eric Power.
The town of Barrington is hosting a Battle of the Bands on Halloween Night in 1994. A mysterious figure takes to the mic following the closing act and begins an incantation. Soon, the townsfolk begin to rise up after coming in contact with a mysterious fluid. Can Kevin, a young horror hound, and his friends stop the mass hysteria? Or will the tiny town be overcome by this dark-haired stranger’s Satanic panic?
I have to admit, a “paper cut” film is something I’m not sure I’ve ever seen before, but Attack of the Demons handles this well. The visuals look cartoonish enough to evoke childhood memories of second grade art class, but sophisticated enough to feel like genuine effort was put forth. The gore is a little too cartoonish, but this is an independent joint, so I’m willing to forgive a few things. Character models are well put together, be they human or possessed, which adds to the charm of the film overall.
One of my personal lowlights was the voice acting. I realize this is an independent piece, but the sound editor may want to go back to the drawing board on this one. The dialogue sounds choppy and not well-edited, and it did take me out of the film at times. Delivery of some lines wasn’t all there either, but I think the greater problem was the sound design itself.
Attack of the Demons has a lot of character and heart behind it, despite its flaws. You can tell that director/writer Eric Power held this as a passion project, and the handiwork shows. The references to classic horror, including that classic grindhouse-era “Feature Presentation” screen, are present and will tickle any gorehound’s funny bone. And as a queer artist, I can personally appreciate the not-so-subtle tones of queerness between Kevin and Jeff as the yarn unfurls. Charming, disgusting, and full of passion, Attack of the Demons is a fun, not-your-father’s-teen-horror that will satiate those looking for something different.
Just remember. Red is always the weak spot.
This review was originally published as a part of Cinepocalypse 2019.