Strange and Fantastic Tales of the 20th Century is a look back at the weirdest and most off center movies of the 20th century. From head turning horror to oddball science fiction this column examines the films that leave audiences not knowing what to think.
My Demon Lover most definitely falls under the category of strange and fantastic. Making its debut in 1987, this film stands out for many reasons. The film is almost ahead of its time, but at the same time it is still very much a product of the 80’s. If you grew up during this magical decade you were privy to wondrous films like Monster Squad, Goonies, Return of the Jedi, the Brat Pack collection, etc. Many of these films still hold up today while others lend themselves to scrutiny with questionable scenes, like taking advantage of a drunk girl in Sixteen Candles, or tricking a girl into having sex in Revenge of the Nerds. Sexual assault is casually played for laughs because it was the 80’s and we were all apparently lunatics.
However, My Demon Lover takes an interesting look at sexual attraction. A young homeless saxophonist named Kaz, turns into a demon whenever he is sexually aroused. That’s quite the metaphor. My Demon Lover takes a lot of progressive turns as it looks at aspects of behavior that have only recently been brought into a larger conversation. As silly as My Demon Lover might be, it begs to ask some hard questions. What makes a nice guy? Is it wrong to have sexual desires? And ultimately, how does society perceive women?
Kaz is played by Scott Valentine who first made a name for himself as Nick, Mallory’s boyfriend on Family Ties. I, myself, was more of an Alex P. Keaton girl, but there was many a teeny bopper who turned demonic at the sight of Nick and his leather jacket and moussed up mane. We come to find out that Kaz is just a passionate guy. We first meet him when he bursts onto a subway and proclaims “I come from the planet Venus and this is our language,” before playing a melody on his saxophone. He then becomes distracted by some cleavage and his eyes glow red.
Now that we know he is a demon of sorts, we find out that a suspect, known only as The Mangler, is attacking women and leaving them for dead. All signs point to Kaz, but the women of New York are also having regular man trouble. Denny, played by Michelle Little, is a tiny woman who is treated terribly then dumped by her boyfriend Chip. She has trouble asserting herself and finds that she is sort of a magnet for strange men. She has an acquaintance Charles, who seems very nice, but pushy and a little creepy. Denny then meets Nick who is waking up under a pile of garbage and is demanding she share food with him. Denny is put off by Nick because he literally climbed out of garbage, but grows to like him when he rescues her from her abusive ex boyfriend. They spend a lot of time together and she wants to have sex, but Kaz will not because he believes he is The Mangler. During all this The Mangler keeps attacking women.
We then find out that The Mangler has a creepy old fashioned castle in the middle of the city and that The Mangler is in fact Charles, the nice guy. But wait, The Mangler has kidnapped Denny. Denny’s friend Sonia figures out that Kaz is a demon and has seen him turn into a winged gargoyle type creature so he has the power to scale the castle wall and rescue Denny.
So far, the movie has noted that the homeless horny guy is actually very nice and concerned with the feelings of his partner. Meanwhile, we learn that the supposed nice guy is the actual monster who is brutally attacking women. In a way, the movie is a bit progressive in looking at this dichotomy, but then it takes a few steps back. Kaz can’t turn into a monster unless he’s aroused so Sonia offers to have lots of sex with him in front of the police so that he can rescue Denny. The film ends after the demons beat each other up and Kaz triumphs over the demon Charles.
Between the beginning and the falling in love there are so many other strange occurrences outside of demons. There’s the shape shifting into a middle aged woman then blowing up. There’s a man that apparently dies after eating vegetarian food, There’s a lot of weird business going on, but it will keep you engaged.
My Demon Lover is completely insane and super silly. It’s not really meant to promote any serious discussion, but yet there are some interesting points made. Is it fun? Yes. Is it good? It really depends on how you like your demons. I say catch it while it’s free and make a lot of popcorn. It’s funny and you will be amused, but be sure to ignore the dating advice.