Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Film Review: Demons(1985)

Director: Lamberto Bava
Writers: Dardano Sacchetti (story)and Dario Argento (screenplay)

Review by: Chris Ward

'Demons' is one of those cracking movies that crops up once in a while ---A movie that throws in (or should that be up?) everything that's great about the genre, and a few things that aren't so great, and is completely unashamed in its gory glory.

The plot goes something like this - a mysterious man in a metal mask is giving out free tickets to a cinema screening of a movie called Demons. As the patrons all gather in the lobby of the cinema, one of the lucky participants - a prostitute who has gone to the showing with a colleague and her pimp - puts on a metal demon mask hanging in the foyer. As she removes it,she cuts her cheek. Thinking no more about it, all the audience settle down to watch the movie, which, ironically is about a group of youngsters searching for evidence of demons, who come across a metal mask (like the one in the foyer) that turns whoever wears it into a demon, a bloodthirsty zombie-like creature who infects everyone it touches. As the events of the movie unfold, the prostitute goes to the bathroom, where the cut on her cheek explodes in a shower of blood and pus. Now a demon, she runs riot in the cinema, which somebody has inexplicably locked, infecting everybody with the demonic poison, until just George and Cheryl are left to battle a whole cinema full of rampaging monsters.

Oh, and did I mention that the movie was directed by Lamberto Bava (son of legendary horror filmmaker Mario Bava) and produced and co-written by Dario Argento? Having such a pedigree does lend 'Demons' an edge that a lot of similarly styled movies lacked, although anybody expecting full-on Argento-style flair are in for a disappointment. Clearly aimed at the American teen market, 'Demons' is both brilliantly throwaway and essential viewing at the same time. Any movie that has the hero racing through a cinema full of drooling demons on a motorbike, whilst wielding a ninja sword and hacking at anything that moves, all played out over German power metallers Accepts 'Fast as a Shark', will instantly appeal to anybody looking for no-holds-barred gory action. If, however, you question why the motorbike was there, why were the keys in it and the petrol tank full, how were the exits blocked so quickly and wasn't the heroes escape route convenient (unbelievably so!), then this may not be quite the movie for you.

As you can probably tell, this is no Oscar winner. It is, however, exceptionally gory, overly violent and breathtakingly pacey, with some scary visuals and an overwhelmingly creepy tone throughout. The soundtrack is suitably thumping (Saxon, Accept, Billy Idol), the effects pretty gruesome and the action non-stop. If modern zombie/infected movies such as '28 Days Later' and the 'Dawn of the Dead' remake are your sort of thing, you could do a lot worse than check out this underrated eighties gem.


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