From time to time, I like to take breaks from watching traditional films and focus more on documentaries. I watched and reviewed one last week and I have been checking some out on Netflix as well. Luckily, I also happened to have another one, unwatched, right on my shelf with tons of other still sealed flicks. There was not better time than tonight to watch Fabian Delage’s Fury of the Demon.
It is said that there is a short film from the 19th century that, when viewed, causes its audience to behave in erratic and violent ways. This documentary is an investigation into the history of this film and the truth behind it.
Like most films that cross my path, Fury of the Demon is one that I knew nothing about before pressing play. The back cover claimed it was a documentary and seeing that word was all that I needed to know for me to willingly dive right in.
I say “claimed” because Fury of the Demon is in fact a faux documentary, or a mockumentary. I didn’t quite realize this, however, until about 20 minutes into its one hour long runtime.
Fury of the Demon is expertly designed and filmed as a 100% true documentary. Sure, this can be said about all mockumentaries, but never before now have I been so utterly fooled into actually believing the material at hand.
Writer and director, Fabian Delage, is brilliant. Having recently watched his film Cold Ground, and thoroughly enjoying it, I was convinced that he was a filmmaker to keep an eye on. Now, after my viewing of this film, I am even more convinced that this is the case.
Delage’s Fury of the Demon is comprised of interviews from various professionals from all sorts of areas of expertise. We are meticulously informed by film historians, directors, producers, occultists, psychologists, cinephiles, and more about the history of French film and its impact over the centuries.
The authenticity of the interviews and the individuals supplying them is second to none in this particular horror sub-genre. I literally sat, staring at my screen, for a full hour, going back and forth on whether or not this story is 100% true or not.
The fact of the matter is it is not. There is no possible way for a silent motion picture to cause mass hysteria and violent outrage amongst hundreds of people are various times in history… or is there?
Fury of the Demon delves into the history of revolutionary French filmmaker, Georges Méliès, and how he changed film as we know it. A real life film director and illusionist, Méliès was a master of special effects, using illustrations, puppets, and sleight of hand to wow audiences for years.
Fascinated by magic, this pioneer began studying spiritism — the firm belief in God, spirits, reincarnation, and the like — and started tying what he learned into his performances.
His journey into the black arts lead to a friendship with photographer Victor Sicarius, who presented a darkness in contrast to all of lighthearted entertainment and good intentions brought forward by Méliès.
Was it in fact Sicarius who directed this cursed film, La rage du Démon, or was Méliès truly responsible for this horrifying short that once viewed by audiences miraculously disappears once more?
Fury of the Demon at Home
This 2016 film is now available on DVD from Wild Eye Releasing.
The film is presented in a Widescreen format with a French/English Stereo audio track and English subtitles.
The only bonus material present are trailers for other films in Wild Eye’s catalog.
I’m not going to lie. I am still somewhat convinced that this is all a true story. Delage and his cast of experts do a fantastic job of making viewers flip flop in their own beliefs more than once during Fury of the Demon‘s entirety.
If you are at all interested in the supernatural, myths, or a history of cinema, this film is one you do not want to miss. Whether true or not, Fury of the Demon is a must watch from a fantastic filmmaker.
Be sure to pick up a copy of Fury of the Demon for yourself, as I give it 4 murderous riots out of 5.