Again another film very much a product of the 1980’s horror filmmaking, both in terms of its gory latex make-up effects and its synthesised John Carpenter-esque score. And like Society this euro flavoured horror gem is also a cult favourite of mine, so in honour of this cult gem (which is yet to have a decent DVD release…..what the hell is going on!! Do it justice already!!) as well as the fact that Covent Garden have (or if I post this before Thursday) doing a re-mastered screening of “Demons” which a friend has been lucky enough to get tickets too, I have decided to do a little blog on this Italian monster mash. So sit back, relax, grab a couple of cool cold beers, turn the lights out and read on. But make sure a Demon is not lurking, as they have terrible eating habits.
Directed by Lamberto Bava, son of the “Master of the Macabre” himself Mario Bava, Demons is a cult classic film beast destined for late night screening status, with its over the top gore and grue, bad dubbing and virtually no existent plot. This is late night movie screening at its best. The story (for what little there is) concerns a special preview screening of a new film about Demons at a newly opened cinema, the heroine gets handed a gleaming preview ticket by a mysteriously masked stranger. When her and her friend (who has a striking resemblance to Megan Fox, but if she was Italian) go to the screening things take a turn for the worse and people start to die or turn into Demons running amok in the auditorium.
What follows is a dizzying blend of 80’s horror and action films, with the non-existent plot doing a runner soon after the first demon appears. There is a helicopter crash, still fantastic looking make-up effects by Sergio Stivaletti (the Italian Stan Winston), an adrenaline fuelled motorbike chase through the cinema with the hero brandishing a samurai sword. A demon erupting from the back of one woman before doing a runner, a gang of punks rampaging through the cinema before being attacked by the demons also and a final sudden twist which makes you scream “WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED”. Yes this film is that good, it really does assault the senses in terms of what is seen visually, that to this day still puts a giant grin on my fancy that all modern horrors seem unable to do, and still able to turn my stomach with its gut churning special effects. Who needs CGI when a film is this fowl and disgusting just with what a skilled make-up artist can do, that is what a good horror can do, grab you and make you feel uneasy.
Annoyingly this film is made for cinemas, which makes me pine a little for the fact it is not shown nearly enough as a late night double bill with “Demons 2” or even better released on a decent DVD which showcases its fantastic gore effects and atmospheric lighting. “Demons” is ideal as either late night entertainment for a large group of friends during Halloween or a drunken film for a horror marathon.
Back in the 1980’s of you wanted good and violent zombie/demonic horror that truly chilled you too the bone and made you physically sick at the same time, “Demons” was one of those classic b-movies. Make no mistake this really has to be seen to be believed and it is just a shame that after all these horror film remakes along with big budget studio made mass produced horror films, that are being churned out onto the home entertainment market, this cult film gem (along with its follow up) have not been given a decent release.
If you can get hold of “Demons” sit down with a group of mates and marvel at its downright ridiculousness, and still impressive effects. You might well have a good time and how could that not be possible with the gloriously un-pc nature of the demons rampage such as: Gouging a blind mans eyes out and strangling a couple mid foreplay. This is the very definition of a rollercoaster ride, if the pace does not make you feel a bit queasy, the effects will definitely leave a vomit inducing feeling among even the strongest of stomachs.