Demon Island, made more than 20 years ago, is not well-known, and rightfully so. It still has a connection to one of our faves from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Rifftrax (aka Son of Mystery Science Theater 3000) discovered it included some familiar TV faces. They’re Jamie Pressley of My Name is Earl and Mom, Garret Wang from Voyager and Nicholas Brendon from Buffy.
No doubt name recognition got this movie made, Too bad the producers didn’t think about a coherent script.
It was barely reviewed in Rotten Tomatoes, and was also known as Pinata: Survival Island (which implies horror in a birthday party). Its poster is from the Roger Corman School of Posters With A Scene That’s Not In The Movie.
The movie opens with the story of an ancient village in despair because of a drought and dwindling food supplies. The local pinata maker (yes, really) makes a special doll where the village’s evil would be stored along with a special jewel. It’s sent out into the ocean, and the village lives happily ever after (we think).
Cut to Cinco de Mayo 2001, where a bunch of college students head to an island for a scavenger hunt. Among the students are Kyle (Brendon) and Tina (Pressley), a couple who broke up for some reason. Everyone is supposed to gather underwear scattered all over the island (did someone get this idea from Animal House?) to win a prize. Wang plays one of the judges, mostly in an ATV.
Then everyone is paired off and handcuffed, including Kyle and Tina. They’re also the only ones not in the hunt.
So how does the pinata figure in all of this? One frat couple finds it and, of course, try to break it open.
It wakes up, and starts breaking open the students.
Most of the movie is the pinata chasing the hapless college students with skills Rambo would envy. The kills are pretty gruesome, including one where a tent seems to eat one of them. Maybe the movie should have added a “nerd” (who is still attractive) who does know something about it. At least it would have led to Spanish Chucky jokes.
Nicholas and Jamie try to be an interesting couple, but the writing just isn’t there. He’s not even 25% Xander, which would have helped get Buffy fans to this movie. Jamie is barely more interesting than she was in another Rifftrax target, Journey: The Absolution. The movie almost forgets to have a final scene where the frat guys are supposed to defeat the monster.
Of course, the reason to see movies like these is what Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett think about it. They make a big thing about how one of the girls think her boyfriend’s name is Bill, but rather Bob.
There’s also a scene where the pinata kills someone, followed by a peaceful scene then back to the violent pinata.
The main title emerges
Bill: I just got hit by movie shrapnel
The pinata is found
Kevin: The remains of an ancient Polynesian restaurant
Lisa tries to explain why Bob is dead
Mike: Your trauma is entertaining to us.
The pinata chases students riding ATV’s
Kevin: If you can’t outrun Teddy Ruxpin back there maybe get some faster ATV’s
Jamie: You guys don’t actually believe there’s a killer pinata out there, do you?
Bill: I couldn’t possibly be in a movie that stupid, right?
There’s also riffs on Star Trek TV, a movie Rifftrax saw that was even worse, Gilligan’s Island, several music acts, Treasure Island and the Donner Party.
The movie is available at the Rifftrax site, and on Prime Video or Freevee