In regards to Ryan Daley’s (bloody-disgusting.com) comment about how everyone experiences Italian horror for the first time with one particular director, Dario Argento holds a special place in my heart for being the first glimmer of magic that I noticed when opening my eyes to this wonderful world of terrible acting, stunning visuals, and a style like no other. As much of a fan as I am of Argento’s films, I have to admit that seeing Lamberto Bava’s, Demons, for the very first time was like stepping out of a dark corner into the luminescence that is Italian horror. Think of Demons as the Italian love child of Kevin Tenney’s, Night of the Demons and Peter Jackson’s popular 90s splatter film, Dead Alive—only with a stronger, more mature plot and a cast of colorful, “can’t help but love ’em” characters.
Bava’s Demons follows a group of strangers to the grand reopening of an old gothic theatre, The Metropol, upon having all received invitations from a mysterious masked man. We are introduced to the main character, Cheryl (and her best friend who decide to skip class), as well as a blind man and his sexually promiscuous daughter, and a pimp with two rather quirky hoes at his sides. One of the â€˜hoes’ cuts her face on a metallic mask that she puts on before the screening of the film (kind of a “reversed foreshadowing” of the events to come). Further on into the film we are introduced to a pack of coke-sniffing, punk rock street vagrants who soon get chased down by the cops and end up seeking refuge in the worst place possible: The Metropol theatre. Well, if the cops can’t catch them, the demons certainly will!
Sergio Stavelleti’s special effects work in, Demons, is some of the finest and downright most disgusting in the genre. The explosive green slime and oozing facial lesions are similar to the effects featured in some of Peter Jackson’s early work, reminiscent of the days of Bad Taste and Dead Alive aka Braindead. However, the pungent stench of distinguished Italian-direction is, without a doubt, prominent in all aspects of the film. The juxtaposition between ancient Italian gothic structure and a vibrant color palette of splatter creates a kaleidoscopic magnification of the characters and their surroundings. Bava has a way of seducing the audience with his ability to build tension and maintain an ominous atmosphere, leaving the viewers frightened, repulsed, and essentially, entertained. This film is a giant jar of succulent eye candy just waiting to be devoured by horror hounds.
One of the most notable aspects of the film is how Bava doubled the entertainment value by combining two solid, fairly simple sub-plots into 104 minutes of blood churning, head banging, vomit inducing 80s fun. The soundtrack alone—featuring tracks by artists such as Billy Idol, Motorhead, and The Scorpions—deserves two enthusiastic thumbs up. There’s nothing like a kick ass line up of 80s rock to really set the mood for a gruesomely ghoulish rollercoaster ride into hell, a film sure to enlighten the hearts of those who grew up in the decade of big hair, tight pants, and testosterone defying vocals. Demons, is definitely among the top ten greatest Italian horror films of all time, not to mention a praiseworthy addition to the demonic possession sub-genre.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZT7jOmxqBQI