My Demon Lover (1987)

[3.5]

Scott Valentine, most well known for his recurring role on Family Ties, stars as a homeless New Yorker who turns into a demon whenever he gets horny. Lucky for him, there’s a young gal (Michele Little) with dreadful taste in men. The two hit it off and try to work Valentine’s predicament into their love life. But before they can work it out, the two encounter a real menace — a serial ‘mangler’ who kidnaps Little’s character, giving Valentine an opportunity to rescue her and possibly break his demonic curse.

My Demon Lover was probably aiming at a Ghostbusters-like tone, but it’s not as funny or fantastic as that carefully crafted horror comedy. It’s critically marred by a messy screenplay. The first act botches Valentine’s introduction, presenting him into a despicable character unworthy of our empathy, and then proceeds to make an improbable mess out of his and Little’s acquaintance and subsequent romance. There’s no emotional integrity to their personalities or relationship — we’re essentially supposed to buy into them through a quick ‘falling in love’ montage. Exposition is curiously withheld and then glossed over, and the third act tries to surprise us with things we probably should have known much sooner.

Valentine and Little do the best they can, but neither have any memorable moments. Co-star Gina Gallego fares slightly better as a friend who tries to rouse Valentine’s inner beast during a critical moment. The make-up effects are hit and miss, but David Newman’s score is commendable for trying to bring verisimilitude to the hijinks. I love the core idea of My Demon Lover, and I admire that it tries to pull off an ambitious third act, but few movies can overcome a script this bungled.

With Robert Trebor and Arnold Johnson.