Review: La Rage Du Demon (Fantasia 2016)

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Mass Hysteria. Subliminal Messages. Devil Worship. These entities are investigated in the mockumentary La Rage Du Demon, directed by Fabien Delage, and the film is one of the latest offerings from this year’s Fantasia Film Festival.

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This hour long feature informs viewers about a film entitled The Fury of the Demon, made by an unknown director, possibly George Melies; the fantasy film pioneer best known for A Trip to the Moon, or his occult loving forgotten friend, Victor Sicarius— which when viewed caused outbursts of violence in the theatre it was being shown. The film was screened in 1897 and 2012 and incited riots at both screenings. Through interviews with real life figures, such as director Alexandre Aja and Dave Alexander of Rue Morgue, we learn about the history of this faux-movie and the violence it has inspired during its pop-up showings. An interesting aspect is the film had usually been shown somewhere, during a time of economic or political turmoil. There are eyewitness interviews from individuals who were present at these showings, and historians who have conspiracy theories behind the origin of the hysteria ensued from viewing the film.

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As for the mockumentary itself, I felt La Rage Du Demon worked. Through extremely convincing interviews, viewers get a history lesson on George Melies and an elaborate made-up backstory regarding The Fury of the Demon. The critics and historians are very committed in their storytelling, to the point that the viewer will start wondering if this film actually existed and these events occurred. All in all, this is an entertaining mockumentary which may interest viewers engrossed in cinema history, but it may bore others who are looking for horror movie thrills. It would serve well as on feature before a main. Regardless, it is an attention-grabbing effort and worth a view, especially since it is change-up in the genre, with committed con artists weaving convincing stories.

3 out of 5 Zombie Heads

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