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Neill Blomkamp Reveals What Really Went Into Designing The Demons In Demonic - Exclusive

It's been 12 years since South African-Canadian director Neill Blomkamp blew us away with his Oscar-nominated film debut, "District 9." Now, the experimental writer-filmmaker, who is mostly known for dabbling with robots and extraterrestrials, is shifting his focus to a new genre with a more supernatural subject: in "Demonic," he introduces us to a new avian terror that inhabits human beings and uses them as puppets to commit ungodly acts. 

During an exclusive interview with Looper, Blomkamp let us in on what exactly inspired his feathered fiend. 

Unlike the traditional horned minions depicted in most demonology art and horror films, the titular beast of "Demonic" is a bipedal crow-like creature with an elongated beak. And when it came to designing this creature, Blomkamp said that, "It didn't take long. It wasn't a conscious negotiation where I was trying to figure out exactly between 20 different designs. When I wrote the script, for some reason, I just wrote this bird creature. And I don't know where it comes from. I was sort of interested in crows and ravens and stuff, and then I was also reading about the plague in the Middle Ages and those plague masks that they would wear, and I think that kind of looks like a beak, obviously, so that may have influenced things."

Throughout the past few decades, there have been many other directors who have presented their own unique spins on what exactly demons might be like. A few that spring to mind would be the stoic Pinhead from "Hellraiser," or the Super-8mm film-lurking Bughuul from "Sinister," as well as John Carpenter's extraterrestrial liquid-form Satan from "Prince of Darkness." 

However, when it came to laying down the look and rules of his own demon, did Blomkamp seek inspiration from any past demon films?

"I honestly wasn't trying to remix the demonic possession genre"

"This film is very strange," Blomkamp told Looper, regarding "Demonic" and its take on demons in general. "It feels like it was made in a vacuum [...] I loved 'Hellraiser' when I was younger, so it's totally possible that, on some subconscious level, it's in there. But I honestly wasn't trying to remix the demonic possession genre, I was trying to combine elements that I wanted to see together."

Those other elements Blomkamp refers to would be his use of technology, and his unusual depiction of priests in "Demonic." These aren't your usual robed old fogeys carrying bibles. These are modern-day exorcists who utilize science, technology, and advanced firepower. "When you talk about demonic possession and you talk about exorcisms and you talk about priests and the Vatican having classes on how to exorcize demons, which they actually do have, I started thinking like, 'Well, it would be interesting to just portray them in a much more 21st century way, where they're using all the capital that they have to sort of buy up corporations and do things that are more nefarious. So I had that idea on a shelf, and when the time was right to kind of make something like this at the budget level, I kind of just took that and then merged it with another concept. So I wasn't actively going like, 'I want to do a demon film in a way that is different.' It was more, 'I want this element and this element and this element, and whatever that is will be what the film is.'"

However, does Blomkamp believe in real demons? Not so much, it seems. "Unfortunately, I do think that they're manifestations of some deeper psyche," he told Looper. "I wish they existed, but I don't think they do. I mean, I don't believe in ghosts, I don't believe in demons, but it would be awesome if they were around."

Neill Blomkamp's "Demonic" is now in theaters.