Wednesday, June 2, 2010


(Lamberto Bava, 1985)
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A must-see for horror fans in general. Demons is a fast-paced, candy-colored nightmare with a good dose of action, cheese, and gore.
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From a stranger in a mask Cheryl (Natasha Hovey) receives two tickets to the Metropol, a gloomy church-like movie theater with walled-off rooms and perpetually leaky ceilings. She and pal Kathy decide to be naughty and go, a decision they soon regret. In the lobby we are introduced to an odd assortment of characters. First there's George and Ken (who picks these names??), who hook up with Cheryl and Kathy. We also have a bickering middle-aged couple, a young couple who mostly make out (the female half being Fiore Argento), the usher (a grown-up Nicoletta Elmi), and a blind man and his unfaithful daughter. Plus fodder. Lots of fodder. There's also switchblade-wielding pimp Tony (Bobby Rhodes) and his two favorite gals, one of whom (Rosemary) is unfortunate enough to scratch her face while trying to scare her coworker with a silver demon mask in the lobby.
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The audience settles in to watch the film - a horror film, surprisingly. In it a guy tries on a demon mask found in the grave of Nostradamus(?), then becomes possessed and starts killing off his friends. Rosemary freaks out about the similar cut on her face and runs to the bathroom to check it out. There we are treated to the sloppy, gruesome sight of a giant lump bursting out of her cheek. Tony gets worried when she doesn't come back, so he sends her friend to check on her. This is where it starts to get good. Long story short, the theater is soon overrun with demons, and all of the exits have been mysteriously walled-over. I won't give the rest away, as it only gets zanier and gorier as it progresses.
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The combined effort of Lamberto Bava, Dario Argento, and Dardano Sacchetti produced something truly unique and special. True, the dialogue is horrible, but that's to be expected. Also true is the complete lack of realism, but I feel this adds to the funhouse feel of the film. Once the two hookers become demons, the action never lets up. Throats are ripped open, eyes are gouged, hair is ripped out. Towards the end the motorcycle and samurai sword from the lobby are put to good use in a sequence one must see to believe. And our protagonists are saved by a VERY unlikely event that will make you skip back just to verify that they actually put it in the film!
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The Verdict

Misplaced subplot concerning a bunch of cokeheads cruising in a stolen car
Far too many pointless random occurrences: the demon bursting out of someone's back, the walled-off room, the women all standing in a circle screaming, and the highly unlikely savior at the end
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Non-stop action and energy; extremely graphic latex effects (slightly dated, but still good)
Oodles of style - it's obvious Dario had a hand in the lighting and set design
Loads of blood and bile
A fun story that's clever at times and has sympathetic lead characters
Rockin' soundtrack and original score by Claudio Simonetti
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Buy It!

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