Director - Lamberto Bava (Midnight Killer, Demons 2)
Starring - Urbano Barberini (Opera), Natasha Hovey (Stay Lucky), and Karl Zinny (The Final Executioner)
Release Date - 1985
Genre - Horror
Tagline(s) - "They will make cemeteries their cathedrals and the cities will be your tombs." "Their Evil Becomes an Orgy of Bloodshed" and "You ain't worth shit - until you've seen...Demons"
Rating (out of 5):
When it comes to horror none are as relentless and brutal as the horror flicks that came out of Italy in the late 70s and 80s. So many horror classics came from Italy around that time with films like Zombi, Suspiria, Inferno,The Beyond, City of the Living Dead, and Deep Red. These films became hits among the horror crowd upon their release earning them all a huge and overflowing fan base. However, one of the most popular Italian horror flicks was not always a hit among Italian horror fans. That film is Lamberto Bava's Demons. The film was released in 1985 and was produced by giallo master Dario Argento. The film did not fair so well among horror fans upon it's release but has since went on to become one of the best examples of Italian horror and one of my personal favorites. I had seen the film several times in my teenage years and was recently sent a review copy of Synapse's release on blu. I decided that it was time to actually review the film after checking the blu out.
The film follows a young girl who is given a ticket by a weird man wearing a chrome mask reminiscent of the mask worn by the phantom of the opera. The ticket is to a new theater in town that shows art house films. The girl becomes curious and invites her friend to go with her. The two arrive and meet two young men there and decide to watch the movie together. The movie they watch involves a group of treasure hunters as they explore some ruins. It is here that they unleash demons that possess those they come in contact with after scratching or biting them. However, the theater they are in has a supernatural presence and makes the events in the film become real unleashing demons on the unsuspecting crowd forcing everyone to work together and survive or become possessed by something dark and sinister.
When I watch an Italian horror film I expect to see buckets of blood and gallons of gore. However, Demons is something a little different. Demons is about story and character interaction more than it is about covering the viewer in gore. That may be why the film was met with such reluctance. However, the film may rely on story and character development to reach their desired effect it still houses some great blood and gore to make it an authentic Italian horror flick. The acting in this one is Italian grade "A." For an Italian film it is top notch but if I was to compare it to a film from the same time period made somewhere else it would fall short. The Italians make their roles way too serious which sometimes leads to the characters being over the top but not in the same way we love the Japanese counterparts. This lead to several characters becoming a nuisance while others become fan favorites. The pimp from the film has went on to become a cult hero and inspiration for characters in other films, comics, and his own line of t-shirts. The story for this one is a bit unusual but fun as hell. The story is suspenseful from the very beginning and culminates perfectly at the end leaving the viewer with no dry spots. I also like how the demons are similar to zombies but with way more personality and a lot more menacing. Finally, the film has some very impressive on screen kills and special effects. Demons offers some great kills but the film is home to some of the greatest special effects I have seen in 80s horror. They truly have to be seen to be believed. Overall, Demons is a triumph of Italian horror. It has amazing special effects that should be seen by any and all fans of horror. Check it out because you will not be disappointed.