Monday, September 26, 2016

Season of Horror: Legion of Demons (1973)

Tonight I'm watching an episode of Circle of Fear (formerly known as Ghost Story) called "Legion of Demons." The horror begins with a 70s motif intro with blaring horns and red spinning spiral. Whoever replaced the spooky and tasteful Ghost Story intro with this jarring assault may have been experimenting with pharmaceuticals.

"It's like the family you've never had."

We open with dedicated typist Beth pounding away on the keys while BFF Janet attempts to get her to go out with the office club. Beth declines the invitation and heads back to their shared apartment, only to have troubling dreams of Janet trapped in a bottle and crying out to Beth for help. When she awakens in the morning and sees that Janet's bed has not been slept in, she begins to worry.

Back at the office, all the ladies are bustling around, handing off papers to one another, talking on phones with cords and typing into keyboards without monitors. Beth calls up to Janet's executive office looking for her friend. The lady in charge suggests she come up and take her place to do some typing and filing until Janet gets there.

Beth enters the elevator and presses the button for the 12th floor, but suddenly finds the elevator has stopped at the 13th floor, which had not been there when she entered the elevator. She continues to press the button for the 12th floor, which finally lights up and the floor 13 button is gone.

Beth meets Janet's friendly office coworkers, who suggest that just because she didn't come home the night prior does not mean something bad happened to her (wink wink), but when they discover her car is still in the parking lot, they decide to call the police.

Beth is busy typing away when suave Keith swoops in and invites her to lunch. After he leaves, we see the words "HELP ME" typed out on the document she was working on. She looks confused and opens a desk drawer and peers down at a bejeweled severed hand that reaches out to her. She screams and faints which raises a ruckus as the office staff gather around her unconscious body and stare down at her strangely.

We see her next on a bed in a room while a dog with a spiked collar leaps over her. She opens her eyes and sees the staff from Janet's office, minus Keith, congregated around the bed, asking if she is alright. It's pretty creepy. They tell her that she passed out so they brought her home. Beth claims she is feeling tired and they all reassure her that she is safe and that they are all going to stay and keep on eye her, so she should just rest, relax and sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.

While she sleeps, the woman in charge takes a pair of scissors from her purse, the other woman takes a green bottle from her pocket and sprinkles the contents around the room, while one of the guys opens a bottle of instant coffee, pours some out and replaces it with the contents from a yellow bottle. A glass jar with a figure is placed in the cupboard with the teacups. Lights are turned off and a candle is lit and they begin chanting over her, while one of the guys has apparently slipped on the spiky dog collar. Kinky.

Beth awakens in her office attire and sees that Janet still has not returned. She puts water in the kettle while suspenseful music plays and the cupboard rattles. She returns to the office, which is empty, but a door opens abruptly and the whole group comes out of a room. She asks them if they've heard from the police and is worried about what's happened to Janet while they give each other knowing looks. They invite her to come to Dana's house at 315 Miller drive to join them for their meeting where they talk. And share things. Important things that interest all of them.

Keith shows up and everyone disperses back to their desks. He tells her she owes him a lunch and we next see them dining. She shares with him her concerns over Janet's disappearance and her strange dreams and he reassures her. She tells him she fears that whatever happened to Janet will happen to her.

While at home she hears pounding and the sound of Janet's voice crying out for help from the cupboard. She goes to open it but the pounding on it terrifies her and she runs out and jumps into her car. While driving, she envisions herself on a roller coaster, flying above mountains, riding a train trellis, out on the ocean, on a ferris wheel, on the river, and loads of other places, which makes it understandably difficult to drive, especially when she turns and sees a toad in a red velvet cape sitting on the passenger seat. Freaky!

She runs off the road, causing her cuts and abrasions and finds herself at 315 Miller Drive. She pounds on the door and lets herself into a dark house while calling out for the others to help her. She hears chanting behind a door and enters and sees the office buddies in red cloaks conducting a ritual. She watches for awhile but when they turn to stare at her, she runs out of the house into the arms of Keith, who carries her to his car. She tells him she crashed her car, but when he turns to look at it, he sees that it is undamaged. She claims she saw the office workers acting like witches.

Keith is not buying Beth's account of the evening's events and claims the office folks are perfectly normal people. She suggests he may be one of them. He goes into the kitchen to fix her some doctored coffee, but despite not trusting him she drinks the coffee he offers and then while the room goes druggy, she starts hearing the banging on the cupboard, but this time opens it and finds the jar with the figure, which changes to Janet trapped inside screaming. She drops the bottle and all sorts of woozy satanic craziness ensues. She finds her way back to Keith who suggests they go back to the office.

Next day at the office, everyone is cheerfully greeting her, but they revert back to menacing rather quickly. She runs away, falls into the elevator and finds herself on the 13th floor where she finds something unexpected and truly horrifying.

While this office club seems to go about achieving their goal in a very convoluted manner, it's a creepy episode that evokes thoughts of Rosemary's Baby. I forgive it for it's weak plot points and clich├ęs because it's got witches. It's one of the best episodes of Ghost Story/Circle of Fear. Watch it if you dare.

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