Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Hagstone Demon (2009)

Fear 2/5
Gore 2/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 3/5

I heard about this film through my friend, writer/director Gregg Holtgrewe (his film, Dawning, you may have heard about and if you haven't, seriously people get with it and peep here!). Part film noir, part satanic cult madness, The Hagstone Demon is a trippy and rather quirky affair.

Douglas is the super in an old stone apartment building, set to be torn down in a few weeks. The inhabitants are in denial, hoping that the land owner will change their mind. Afterall, they've lived for there many years and it's their home. Douglas has only been there a few weeks but he's already getting acquainted with some if its odd residents: a man who claims to know the entire history of the building and continuously repeats his request to tell Douglas about it; an old woman who happens to read fortunes and portends the return of someone close to Douglas; and a younger woman who's incredibly lonely and who frequently seeks Douglas' company.

After the old woman tells of Douglas' fortune, he becomes haunted by visions of his dead wife who took her life a few years back. In a series of strange and inexplicable flashbacks, we see his wife in a room full of people of varying ages, half-nude, which invokes a sort of quasi-Twin Peaks sense of surrealism. Coupled with creepy looking people hanging out on the sidewalk outside of his apartment, you get the feeling that something otherwordly is after him.

A new resident unexpectedly shows up at manor Hagstone (which by this time has done its own piece in creating a haunting atmosphere a la The Overlook Hotel) and Douglas is informed of a homeless woman who's taken up residence in a vacant room at the end of the hallway on the base floor. Being the mild mannered and low-key guy that he is, Douglas tells the woman that she can stay if she keeps to herself and doesn't bother any of the neighbors. Nevermind the fact that she has a weird, hairless cat in tow and neighbors report that random men have been showing up to her room.

Not long after her arrival, residents of the building start turning up dead. Along with the continual string of men coming in and out of the homeless woman's apartment and his constant visions, Douglas fears that something far more sinister is at work. As the movie progresses, we find out that Douglas isn't as innocent as first believed and its revealed that a certain debt is owed to a cult for which he and his wife were a part of years ago. Along with his lonely neighbor and his minister brother in-law, Douglas confronts the evil that is after him and comes face to face with the Hagstone Demon.

A unique film, The Hagstone Demon is unlike any you've seen before. Quirky, fun, noirish and gothic, it goes beyond what you may typically call or deem horror. It's also beautifully shot, filmed in mainly black in white with only a few scenes in color that highlight some of the flashback sequences.

For more information regarding the film, check out the site:

Cortez the Killer

HorrorBlips: vote it up!


Matt-suzaka said...

I'm happy to hear that this is a solid film...I posted the trailer for it some time back, and it looked like an odd and interesting film, plus I love modern films done in black and white. However, the real draw for me, is Mr. Mark Borchardt, naturally. Great write up brodda - I'll keep my eye out for this one.

Mike Snoonian said...

Chris and I got a chance to see this at the MFA a few months back. It's a fun movie, and it's more than a little bit sad. Atmosphere-wise, they definitely made a lot out of a little.

Cortez The Killer said...

Matt, I definitely think you'd dig it. And Mr. Mark Borchardt was great. Definitely played the unassuming but maybe just a bit left of center angle well.

Mike, definitely a certain sadness to it, in a weird, twisted sort of way. And agreed, phenomenal job creating atmosphere in a very minimal way.

Theron said...

It's nice to see Mark living the dream...