Director: Lamberto Bava
Random folks get invited to a film screening at a new movie theatre. The picture that’s playing is about demons coming to life and before you can say “gore festival”, audience members turn into bloodthirsty demons and raise some gory hell of their own. Have a blast!
"They will make cemeteries their cathedrals and the cities your tombs"-- Nostradamus
This Dario Argento-produced flick (he also co-wrote it) is a keeper. It’s a perfect Friday night- bring the homies over and get fucked up- flick. The version I just checked out was uncut and was a visual roller-coaster ride of mood and plasma.
Premise-wise, the film hooked me early on and the build-up was awesome! I really dug how the flick intercut between the movie onscreen and the events that were taking place in the theatre. Eventually both reality and fiction became one and all hell broke loose. Think “Night Of The Living Dead” but with lots of ketchup and oozing creature effects. On a visual standpoint, Bava really gives us an eyeful. If it isn’t the “art deco” vibe the movie theatre set puts out, it’s gnarly shots, the play with lighting (lots of red and blue backlights) or the sharp editing. Slap a groovy soundtrack in the background with some Motley Crue hitting hard or a fun-but-tacky score, and you get a film that stimulates all the right “horror buff” senses.
Now this definitely a style-over-substance piece of candy and it won't win awards for best script, but for some reason I had no problem digesting this bad boy’s faults. Questions like “Why the fuck is this happening?”, "Who’s the dude in the mask?” or “Why do some people transform into demons faster than others?” popped into my head but were easily dismissed by the onslaught of gore, laughs and thrills that unfolded before my eyes. The characters are also interchangeable cardboard cutouts and apart from the no-bullshit pimp (Rhodes), I didn’t give a rat’s ass about any of them. But for some odd reason that didn’t bother me either! I mean, how can you go wrong with some dude hopping on a dirt bike, riding it inside the movie theatre, over the theatre seats and slicing all kinds of demons with a samurai sword? You just can’t! How can you go wrong with demons chewing into people as if it was a free-for-all at Burger King? You just fucking can’t! Who cares about the damn characters!?! The goodies easily made the faults inconsequential. That’s rare for me…
But even though I did let a lot of shit go, they were still a few things that managed to annoy me. The first being the hint that the movie theatre usher broad is “part of it all” and its eventual abandonment. Why put emphasis on a character to make her seem evil and then do nothing with it? I kept waiting for that hot chick to go hogwild and start killing…she didn’t. I also had mixed feelings about the “delinquents riding in the car” subplot. On one hand, it kind of upsets the rhythm of the film. I didn’t dig being taken away from the main action taking place in the theatre. Also, in the end, the subplot doesn’t really go anywhere! But on the other hand seeing Lino Salemme (Ripper) snorting cocaine out of a “Coke” can was hilarious and the Enrica Maria Scrivano (Nina) razor blade tit scene was a priceless smutty sequence. So I’m half/half on that boo-boo.
Overall, "Demoni" delighted the living shite out of me. Even its most inane plot turns served it well! What the fuck wuz up with that “helicopter” gag? I still don’t get it, but damn wuz it funny! Some movies are made to be appreciated on a more “serious” level and that’s all good, but film’s like "Demoni" are just fun times fluff and this one delivers gangbusters in that department. The abundant gore, the dumbass dialogue, the polished look and the absurd plot turns all come together to offer us one of the tastiest cheese sandwiches you’ll ever chow on. Put on your party hats and let's kill some demons!
If it's gore you crave my friends, check this un-rated disk out ya'll! We get very impressive demon transformations (all about the teeth growing out), lots of puss bubbles, ripped throats, a nasty eye-gouging, a ripped cranium (ouch!) and much more! All courtesy of effect wizard Sergio Stivaletti. This one goes heavy on the sauce and this a-hole loved it!
Since the characters are mostly un-involving and the dialogue is dubbed, I’ll rate the acting differently. Bobby Rhodes (Tony) is the only one that stood out for me. He’s hilarious as the take-charge pimp-daddy and the dubbing gave him priceless moments of silly dialogue for us to laugh at. I’d want this dude on my side if demons ever decided to run rampant. Urbano Barberini (George) looks like Dolph Lundgren and the more the movie moved forward, the more he showed off his biceps. Natasha Hovey (Sheryll) looks yummy…that’s it. Lino Salemme (Ripper) is hilariously tough as the coke-snorting badass, think Sylvester Stallone but angry all the time. Enrica Maria Scrivano (Nina) turned me on with her “hot and bothered” facial expressions when her friend was teasing her tit with a razor blade. Yum…
T & A
The Enrica Maria Scrivano (Nina) razor blade tit tease scene is one for the bloody books. First off, she has a nice tit and second of all, the horny faces she makes…DAMN GIRL! The ladies get Urbano Barberini (George) showing off his biceps.
Bava shows off his stuff by bombarding us with gnarly camera movements, creative shots, play with shadows and a relentless pace. Sure, the film takes a breather for the “delinquent riding in car” subplot, but apart from that, this beeyatch never stops. Good show!
The score by Claudio Simonetti is kind of corny (but still fun) at first but eventually fits the scenes like a glove by becoming darker. We also get some rocking tunes by Motley Crue, Billy Idol and Rick Springfield (who the fuck is that?)
Distributor: Anchor Bay Entertainment
I have to give props for the menu effect that has a demon head rushing to the screen after we select an option. It actually made me jump! I didn’t see it coming. Here’s how the rest of the DVD holds up.
IMAGE: We get a 1:66:1 Widescreen that that serves this stylish film well. The colors shine through (and so does the blood) and we hardly get any grain. The film looks great and I was delighted to finally see "Demoni" in such good condition.
SOUND: We get Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Surround 2.0. The 5.1 sounds is a new remix made especially for this DVD and it kicks ass! Since the film has a lot of music, it boomed through my speakers very clearly and made the film so much more enjoyable. The Dolby 2.0 is ok but stick to the 5.1 sounds, it’s way better.
EXTRAS: Seeing Demoni with good sound and image was enough for me, but the DVD also tosses in a few extras for good measure. Here they are.
Audio Commentary: Lamberto Bava, Sergio Stivaletti and journalist Loris Curci come in to talk about the movie. Since Bava speaks poor English you’ll have to really listen and sit through some “Italian” (for the Italian fans) but overall, it was really kool to hear the on-set stories, the creature effects info and info on how the film came to life. Bava hadn’t seen the film in 10 years when he did the commentary and it was pretty kool to get his perspective today. "Demoni" fans will love this extra.
Theatrical Trailer: They didn’t really know how to make trailers in those days and this one's a perfect example, going long, clocking in at over 2 minutes and kind of boring. Still interesting to check out though in a nostalgic kind of way. Gotta love the 80’s.
Behind The Scenes Segment: This extra takes a look at the effects of the film in Italian (it’s subtitled) but it only runs for 1 minute and 15 seconds! I think it’s an excerpt from a longer documentary. It’s still kool but just not long enough.
Talent Biographies: Here we get some short background info on Lamberto Bava (director), Dario Argento (producer/co-writer), Sergio Stivaletti (effects), Dardano Sacchetti (co-writer) and Michelle Soavi (actor/a.d). It’s a harmless extra.
"Demoni" is a non-stop assault of gore, atmosphere and cheese. When it’s good, it's great and when it's bad, it's better. If you’re looking for a thought-out horror flick, skip it...but if you just want to be immensely entertained, give this one a holler. It won't let you down.
Lamberto Bava is the son of famous Italian director Mario Bava.
The film was shot in Berlin/Germany.
Director Michelle Soavi played the dude in the mask. He directed the awesome “Stagefright” and “Cemetary Man”.