666: The Demon Child (2004)

NOTE: Sci-Fi Channel original movies were not considered eligible for this countdown out of fairness to the competition)

Starring Jennifer Jackson, Jennie E. Epstein, Jose Rosete

Directed by Cary Howe

Do you enjoy monster movies where people stand around or sit around or walk around or drive around and talk about what is supposed to be going on for lengthy periods of time?

If you answer yes, then you will enjoy this movie.

Do you enjoy monster movies where the monster’s P.O.V. is constantly shown as it scurries about stalking its victims, not because the filmmakers are trying to build any sort of suspense, but because the monster itself is actually an inanimate prop?

If you answer yes, then you will enjoy this movie.

Do you enjoy movies in general where the audio was recorded so low that even after cranking the volume almost all the way up it is still hard to understand what is being said in many scenes?

If you answer yes, then you will enjoy this movie.

Do you enjoy movies in general that feature overly long establishing shots that seem to be have been done so in such a manner only to help pad out the run time of a movie already overloaded with filler material?

If you answer yes, then you will enjoy this movie.

That movie for you is 666: The Demon Child, which is pretty much nothing more than a bunch of seemingly bored people spewing forth really banal dialogue while being stalked by seemingly endless monster P.O.V. shots. Maybe there’s some noteworthy dialogue in this movie and I missed it. I can’t be sure if I missed anything relevant because half the time I couldn’t make out most of what was being said because the audio kept fluctuating from scene to scene. I thought it might be a problem with the DVD, but considering the sheer amount of ineptness displayed throughout this film I can’t help but to get the sneaking suspicion that this problem was caused by someone doing an extremely shoddy sound job when filming the movie. It probably didn’t make that much of a difference anyway when you consider how awful the scripting and acting was to begin with. The occasional audio problems probably spared me the full brunt of this film’s awfulness.

666: The Demon Child appears to have been inspired by the early Seventies made-for-television creature feature Gargoyles. Much like that film, the plot here centers on the discovery of evidence proving the existence of some sort of ancient race that once lived in the American Southwest. Once again, the local Native Americans know the truth. Once again, there are secret caves up in the mountains. Once again, there’s an anthropologist looking for the truth. Once again, there’s a local with physical evidence of the existence of these creatures on display in a dilapidated shack. Once again, everyone’s life is in danger and the possibility of the ultimate destruction of mankind proves to be at stake. But unlike that classic television creature feature, this movie really, really, really, sucks.

The movie opens with the Native American doppleganger of Greg “The Hammer” Valentine wandering through the desert to an ancient ceremonial ground where he chants some stuff while being spooked by a demonic skeletal buffalo. After some more chanting, it goes away and he crawls through an opening into a cave where he appears to unlock some sort of supernatural padlock. This whole prologue where very little happens takes 8 friggin’ minutes!

We’re then introduced to our main characters traveling down the darkened roads of the desert inside their RV. About 90% of the movie will be set either inside of or just outside of this RV. We meet an old anthropologist that looks like Ralph Nader if he were a cooky mad scientist. He has a crazy theory about an ancient race of 12-foot giants that once roamed the American Southwest. His only real evidence supporting this nutty theory is a sword he discovered in this area. He theorizes that only 12-foot giants could have wielded it because of the way it was constructed. The only problem with that theory is that later on in the movie that sword will be wielded without any noticeable trouble by a skinny, under 6’ woman. Joining him on his quest to unearth more evidence of this race of mystery giants are the Mighty Boring Archaeology Rangers, a small group of young and late 20-somethings, each with less personality than the next.

Faster than you can say, “let’s do another bad horror movie cliché,” that old blonde indian from the beginning of the movie, carrying two large eggs that look suspiciously like disguised volleyballs, walks out in front of the RV and gets killed. And of course, one of the students decides to take one of the eggs with them, not telling the others and not knowing it’s about to hatch unleashing a killer demonic baby monster that looks like the It’s Alive baby only with satanic ram horns.

From there, boredom ensues. Actually, that’s not true. Boredom had already kicked in, but from here all we get are the typical array of cliched horror movie scenes. You get the scene where they try to drive away to escape from the creature and after only driving a few short miles they decide to stop and take a break only to get attacked by the monster again. You get the scene where they discover the monster has used it’s vast knowledge of automotive mechanics to disable the RV and so now they’re stuck out in the middle of nowhere and they have no way to notify anyone they need rescuing. You get the scene where someone tries to go hiking through the desert back to civilization to get help only to get killed by the monster. And then there’s my personal favorite, the scene where everyone decides to go stand outside the RV in the dark so that the really traumatized girl can be left all alone inside to take a relaxing shower. Gee, I wonder what’s going to happen to her?

It’s an hour into the movie before anyone finally picks up a weapon and decides to actually try and fight back. More importantly, it’s an hour into the movie before anyone in the group thinks that maybe that old wooden sword of the ancient giants might come in handy.

There isn’t an ounce of suspense in this film and that is a fatal flaw because it plays itself as a straightforward horror movie. Even as unintentionally funny schlock, it fails to entertain and for this film to fail to deliver on the cheese factor is almost hard to believe. The freaking demon baby is just a stationary prop that the actors are forced to hold up to whatever part of the body it’s supposedly biting or clawing at and then scream, squirm and, shake as much as possible to make it seem this inanimate object is mauling them. That’s amusing for about the first five seconds, but once you’ve seen five seconds of someone screaming their head off while clutching a bobble-headed demon baby doll close to themselves, the novelty wears off.

Just to put the exclamation mark on how utterly terrible this entire production is, let me describe the (allegedly) surprise ending to the movie, which they also managed to completely bungle.

The last remaining survivor of the group forces the last surviving Native American to take her to the super secret temple ruins of the ancient giants complete with two giant skeletons, all of which are sitting out in plain sight, yet have never been discovered by anyone prior. They crawl inside that mountain cave from the movie’s open and immediately the girl freaks out. Why? Because the cave is actually a giant egg chamber filled with countless demon baby eggs. As she screams hysterically, the Native tells her that all the nearby mountains are filled with these egg-filled chambers and they are just about ready to hatch meaning there will an infinite number of demon babies that will grow to be unstoppable 12-foot demon giants that will destroy mankind. This causes her to start having a mental breakdown as the film fades to black.

Unfortunately, there’s just one little problem with this twist ending. When it cuts to the matte painting of the egg-filled cave that is causing her to completely lose it, the matte painting they show us appears to be nothing more than a small, ordinary-looking cave without a single egg in it, at least none that I could see. We’re supposed to be horrified right alongside this poor woman as she’s just glimpsed that which will bring about the end of the world but there’s nothing there. Nothing! Nothing! Nothing! There’s absolutely nothing to see here and that goes doubly for the film as a whole!

The best tagline the distributors could come up with for the box art was “It’s not human.” They should have added, “It’s not much of a movie either.” In fact, 666: The Demon Child is the epitome of everything that is wrong with low budget monster movie making today, a complete waste of perfectly fine digital film.

Avoid at all costs.

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Jon Condit

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