Monday, 4 November 2013

Review - Demons (1985 - Dir. Lamberto Bava)

This had to be one of my favourite rentals from Creepy's Video Emporium in the late eighties. It was gory and really stupid. What more could a teenage evlkeith want? Since my first viewings, I've bought it on VHS and then upgraded to DVD. It isn't on my list of films to upgrade to Blu-ray though. Watching it again proves that there are some childhood favourites that aren't up there with the best now (unlike The Dark Crystal which is still great).

Cheryl decides to have a night out at the pictures with her buddy Hannah, after receiving some free tickets from a mysterious masked man who she thought was a mad stalker. (In fact, it's that cheeky director Michele Soavi.) When they get into the cinema they meet up with a couple of likely fellows, George (Urbano Barberini - Opera) and Ken. Things all go to pot when the horror film they've gone to see spills out into the cinema. 

Since the late eighties the censors have been a lot more lenient on gore so Demons is pretty tame now. There's still a lot of blood and green slime thrown around and some attempts at gore set pieces. One killing is a direct homage to the eyeball piercing in Zombie Flesh Eaters. It's not exactly edited very well, doesn't really work and shows how good the Fulci scene is.

If it's not gory, is it still stupid? Yep, it's still really stupid. It has got one of the most random deus ex machinas going. Everything seems to have gone severely pear shaped for our two main characters and they have no hope of escape. Then something happens to save them that has only been referenced in the audio. No scene to set it up, nothing. I recall a similar bit in a Dean Koontz book. Can't remember which one, but it was rubbish there too. The dialogue is equally ridiculous. At one point, a character is on her hands and knees, and a demon starts to appear out of a hole in her back. Helpfully George tells us to, "Look at her back!". Thanks for that mate, I'd been looking at her backside up until then.

Some of the dialogue is great. In fact everything that comes out of the pimp Tony's (Bobby Rhodes) mouth is classic. It's possibly helped along by some quality dubbing. I always find myself repeating his lines straight after he's said them. Great costume too.

The end shots showing what's happened to the world outside the cinema are undoubtably my favourites. Bleak and full of atmosphere, just how I like it. Shame they had to tack on a silly ending. I suppose it fits the tone of what's gone before though.

I'm going to use this as my zombie review for the week - hence the multitude of pics at the top - because I was going to get to it soon anyway. (Plus I'm getting a bit tired, writing all of these lovely reviews.) Still a few zombie classics left before we reach the end of the year...

If you like this you could also try:
The Church, Demons 2.

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