Thursday, January 28, 2010

Demons (1985)

There's not much to say about Lamberto Bavas Demons, except it's extremely stupid - and extremely entertaining. The idea is just to get a bunch piece of meat inside a big cinema and unleash the demons on them. Nothing more. There's not side stories (if you don't count the ugly gang of punks that enters the cinema a little bit later), and the characters are flat and shallow. It took four screenwriters to come up with this story, and they didn't focus on characters or story.

The gore is plenty, colorful, graphic and slimy. It's also a very cryptic story, with no explanations to what's happening - which is okey for me - but it would be fun to get some clue who started it all, and why it's all connected to the movie within the movie (a movie that are even more retarded than the main feature!). Michele Soavi shows up in the beginning, in the movie they're watching - and in the end, dying a terrible death. He's obviously connected to everything (and so seem that freaky woman that works in the cinema), but nothing more is said about their connection.

But it's all about action and gore anyway, so why care about story. I've heard Lamberto Bava said many times that he don't like gore, but that's not visible in Demons. Every time I watch it I forget how gory it is, with throat-rippings, decapitations, limb-chopping, slime-spurting, stabbings, stranglings and everything else under the pale moonlight. It's a bit plastic, but still made with energy and a lot of blood. There's a couple of shots during the end when one of the characters are driving around on a motorcross and shopping demons to pieces with his sword that somehow echoes more modern Japanese splatter-cinema.

I think the final twist underlines the whole movies stupidity, when they are stuck in the cinema with no way to get out... and suddenly a helicopter crashes down the ceiling and they can climb up through the hole. No warning, from nowhere. A helicopter. I guess the screenwriters gave up there and just used the first idea that they could come up with.

No, don't misunderstand me now. I love Demons, it's fantastic gory fun splatter-flick from the eighties. It's creative, visual, gory and never boring. Bava directs with flair and style, the sets and lightning are superb - and you sit there with a big smile all over you face, hopefully with a beer in your hand and with good company.


Nigel M said...

Its been a while since I watched demons 1 and 2 but if I remember it well it didnt feel Italian. I thought it felt like an american movie- and this is a criticism.

I like a lot of american films but I felt that if demons was trying to emulate a style then it was losing what italian film had been bringing to the world for the recent decades- a different pacing, narrative style and visuals from a distinct cinematic tradition.

Criticisms aside I remember the film being great fun and I am determined now to watch this one again in the coming days and the sequel too- I think there are a few more in the series (unofficial?) but not seen any of those.

Jack J said...

Here's the rest of the "series":

The Church was originally meant to be Demons 3 but the Demons connection was chucked out when it was released. However that didn't keep the Japanese from putting it out as Demons 3.

To confuse things there is a Demoni 3 that isn't called Demons 3 anywhere! It's out on reg. 1 dvd as Black Demons!

La Setta was released as The Sect in Europe and The Devil's Daughter in the US, but again, the Japanese put it out as Demons 4.

Lamberto Bava's La maschera del demonio came out in Japan as Demons 5: The Devil's Veil.
PS: Forget IMDB's crappy info about it being aka "Black Sunday"! Somebody apparently couldn't distinguish beteween this and Mario Bava's film!

Luigi Cozzi's Il Gatto Nero is out in Japan as Demons 6: De Profundis (and again, don't believe IMDb's fucked up info!)

Ehhh, I don't think there is one but who knows what is hiding in the depths that is the Japanese vhs hell, LOL.