Exclusive: “DEMONIACS” coming from “ECHO GAME” director and “FROM BEYOND” producer
The Eurohorror style lives on in a new independent project from an American filmmaker who’ll be shooting in Italy and France, with a heavy influence from the filmmakers of those countries.
Brian Feeney, director and co-writer of last year’s release THE ECHO GAME, gave Fango exclusive words about DEMONIACS, which is not a remake of the Jean Rollin picture of the same title but is cut from the same cloth. “The plot revolves around an American couple living in France who run afoul of a coven of witches who are prepping for the Feast of the Lemures and the return of the devil,” Feeney (pictured above) tells us. “The husband goes missing and the wife, Marnie, must track him down with the help of fellow American and lesbian Nikki Finch—who is herself looking for her missing sister. The fact that the two women don’t really speak French, and that most of the police are controlled by the witches, doesn’t make things easier. The witches reside in the notorious Chateau de Roissy from the classic erotic novel STORY OF O; characters from the book appear in the film, having made a deal with the devil to live forever.”
Previously in the hands of Silver Pictures, which helped Feeney seek investors for the project, the DEMONIACS script found its way to RAI in Rome via Lorenzo D’Agostini, whom the filmmaker met while editing the upcoming PARANORMAL ASYLUM. From there, it caught the attention of Roberto Bessi, Italian producer of numerous Empire Pictures productions including Stuart Gordon’s FROM BEYOND. “He was also the executive producer on the original DJANGO sequel DJANGO DEFIES SARTANA,” says Feeney, who has also cut DVD behind-the-scenes material for CHILD’S PLAY, BLADE: TRINITY and RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE, among others. “Roberto is a very good producer for this type of film. The plan is to shoot interiors in Rome, then on location at an ancient castle and also for several days in Paris.
“This is a fantasy/horror film aimed at a adult audience,” he continues. “The influence of genre auteurs Rollin, Amando De Ossorio, Dario Argento and even Tsui Hark are noticeable in the script; the combination of violence with a level of sexuality is especially reminiscent of Rollin’s work. But the intent is not to do a remake, or repeat what has already been done. The goal is to update and reinvent this type of genre film for a new audience. You have a whole generation who grew up on Harry Potter; most of those kids are young adults now, so perhaps this is the time to bring back this type of film. The Italians are on board with doing an NC-17-level horror film, with both extreme violence and explicit sexuality, as they think that will make the film stand out. However, those elements must be beautiful—more old-school Rollin and Paul Verhoeven than anything current. Hopefully, we will secure an uncut limited release in the U.S.”
Jin Kelley has also come aboard the project as the U.S. producer and stunt coordinator, while ECHO GAME cinematographer Jeffrey Waldron is in talks to encore on DEMONIACS, as is GRACE/ECHO GAME composer Austin Wintory. “Bai Ling from THE CROW is in discussions to play Vida, a warrior witch who secretly helps the protagonists,” Feeney reveals, “and the wonderful French actor Dominique Pinon [CITY OF LOST CHILDREN, ALIEN: RESURRECTION, DELICATESSEN] may play one of the central villains, the evil Detective Lombardi.” Also in negotiations, though no deals have been signed yet, are JOHN DIES AT THE END’s Chase Williamson and PARASOMNIA’s Cherilyn Wilson to fill the roles of central couple Jon and Marnie Thompson. Keep your eyes on this site for further updates!