Movies / Home Theatre

Demons: Special Edition


By Al Kratina
Oct 15, 2007 - 8:00

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Demons: Special Edition

1985, Italy

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

Genre: Horror

Rating: Unrated

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.


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Demons takes place in West Berlin. A man in a weird silver mask hands out free tickets to a screening of a horror movie. At the film, people start turning into demons and killing each other, and that’s pretty much that. It’s important for the gore factor to stress that these people are possessed, not zombies. Essentially, the key difference is that zombies ooze blood, whereas demons gout pastel slime at every opportunity, like a hateful version of You Can’t Do That On Television. Demons is truly an enjoyable film, for all the wrong reasons, unless I am actually insane, in which case it’s great for all the right ones.

 

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

 

alkratina@comicbookbin.com


Last Updated: Jun 26, 2018 - 9:28

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