Demonicus Production Notes
Demonicus was a project I took over late in the game. Most of the casting was in place at that time and the film was expected to be finished almost as soon as we started shooting. This was a film that was owed to actress Vanesa Talor by the production company Full Moon. She had rejected a previous draft of the script and my job, in part, was to improve the script, keep Vanesa happy and get this film done quickly and inexpensively but not have it show. Vanesa actually turned out to be relatively easy to deal with one on one, though the script ended up being something of a jumble of various drafts. Though Venesa was known more for films where she wore little or nothing, part of the deal was that there be no nudity in this film.
My chief contribution to the script was the addition of elements of Etruscan religion. I also hopefully, infused the action and events with a feel of Italian exploitation films. Full Moon had never really done something this close to being a slasher film before and the whole film was done while their usual producers were tied up with a large-scale film William Shatner was doing for them in another state.
The whole situation was “complicated” to use a pleasant euphemism.
DEMONICUS I think holds up well compared to other things done at Full Moon at the time, all of which had larger budgets, and it did better than the last few releases had done for them, despite its own many limitations. The film is available in a variety of versions. Whatever you do, do not watch the VHS release of the film that is not my cut of the film and has a lousy sound mix and no extras.
We needed snow and mountains and actually found both in LA, though the snow blocked roads and delayed production more than once. One of the actors was afraid of shooting in the mountains late a night because of various wild animals that might be there. I thought this was pretty funny and then on the way home that night I saw a large bob cat watching us hungrily from the side of the road. I hoped the actor didn't see it.
The villainous gladiator speaks virtually all of his dialogue in Latin. One of the actors read his lines with an Italian accent, I thought this was an interesting choice but sounded strange to me so he didn’t get cast although later, Mel Gibson’s Romans speak Latin with a Italian accent in The Passion of the Christ.
Full Moon promised that if we just got through this production and pulled it off it would lead to bigger things. It did.