Demon Wind is a bald-faced Evil Dead 2 rip-off, let’s make that abundantly clear. It also manages to squeeze in a little Night of the Demons and some Nightmare on Elm Street 2, too, for good measure.

What set it apart back in the day (that day being in 1990, when it was released on video) was its VHS cover, featuring a hologram cover (like Jack Frost and Spawn). For those too young to remember, these ancient cinematic centers called “video stores” would often feature shelves and shelves of VHS cassettes to rent. Occasionally, to cover for a crappy film, filmmakers would gussy up the box to entice potential viewers.

For example, Frankenhooker featured a button to make the undead prostitute proposition you when pressed (“Wanna date?”), Dead Pit featured a zombie with light-up eyes, and Demon Wind featured a rather 80s-looking demon smashing through a window depending upon where you stood in the store.

And while the box art was most likely infinitely more expensive than the film’s budget, the film itself is never dull and has aged well since its release a quarter century ago.

Cory (played by Eric Larson, who surprisingly got two other brief acting roles after this) decides to take a group of friends up to his grandparents’ farm (which looks like it’s located in Ireland somewhere) to find out how they died decades ago. Pretty soon they are waist-deep in witchery and demonic possessions. There’s not much new that it adds to any genre (except maybe the lead transforms into a heroic alien-elf near the end), but it is filled to the brim with energy.

The cast also has energy to burn, as well, but not in ways that enhance their performances. Each character reads his or her lines as though they are trying to coax someone down from a suicide jump. This only heightens the hilarity for lovers of bargain-bin cinema such as myself. Writer-director Charles Phillip Moore had carved out his career toying with B-movie genres (from erotic thrillers to kickboxing actioners), and even though the story’s highly derivative, his emphasis on the super-slimy effects and go-for-broke attitude makes the entire proceeding imminently entertaining.

The majority of its budget must have been spent on exploding squibs and tapioca (which oozes out of every unplugged hole in this film) and Moore watched enough Sam Raimi flicks to know inventive angles at which to place his camera. By the last act, the film goes bonkers (in the best possible ways) with more yell-acting from the troupe and all sorts of puss-oozing zombies out to invade the small shack they are visiting. And, for good measure, Cory morphs into some mystical elf creature, random breasts are exposed, and Satan is felled by a shot to the nuts.

If you look briefly, you will spot a young Lou Diamond Phillips in a cameo that perhaps presaged his future career in B-flicks.

Sure, it reeks as much as its satanic flatulence-sounding title, but it’s hard to not stay engaged once Wind gets blowing.

by Rob Rector