By Al Kratina
Oct 15, 2007 - 8:00
Director: Lamberto Bava
Writers: Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava, Franco Ferrini, Dardano Saccheti (story)
Producers: Dario Argento
Starring: Urbano Barberini, Natasha Hovey, Karl Zinny, Fiore Argento
DVD Distributor: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Running Time: 88 minutes
I love the Demons films. Not because they’re good. No, that would make me a crazy person. I love them because they perfectly crystallize why Italian horror films make no sense. Generally speaking, Italian horror has the narrative structure of a random number generator, breaking down into several key categories of nonsense:
1) The world ends at the end of every movie. Then they make a sequel.
2) Instead of acts, they have coloured lights. The more red you see, the closer you are to the end.
3) As Italian films are invariably dubbed in post-production, nobody in the cast speaks the same language, and it shows.
Demons features all of these elements, plus a helicopter falls through the ceiling at one point, with no explanation. Considering that the film is set in a movie theatre, this is an astonishingly crazy plot point, made all the more confusing by the fact that no one in the film seems to question it. It’s this complete and total acceptance of the plot’s insanity that pushes the film into greatness, making you question whether the film actually makes perfect sense, and you’re the one who’s a gibbering lunatic. Not a lot of movies can make you question your own mental state, making you double check your grocery list to make sure it’s written in pen and not smeared on the wall in your own excrement.
Anchor Bay’s release features trailers, behind the scenes footage, and a relatively un-inspired commentary track from director Lamberto Bava, son of the great Mario Bava, special effects artists Sergio Stivaletti, and journalist Loris Curei. Bava doesn’t seem to remember the film very well, so his contributions to the discussion are somewhat limited. The transfer is clear and sharp, and the Dolby soundtrack sounds great, though it appears to have different dubbing than my old VHS version in some of the scenes.
Rating: 7 on 10