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One of the best nights of my life.

  • Oct 2, 2011
**** out of ****

Lamberto Bava's "Demons", also known as "Demoni" in its native land, is pure cinematic fun. To most, it isn't a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but to me, it's one of the most entertaining and epic horror films ever filmed. I recognize the fact that it doesn't have an incredible story or a vast amount of scares ranging from gore effects to atmospheric chills; but as an 80's horror flick, that's alright. I practically live for this genre; I love it. And that's exactly why I loved "Demons". It' s stupid, it's trashy, and it's a landmark for its genre. There's no denying it; this is the ultimate midnight movie. It's escapist entertainment that I can admire because it goes over-the-top and beyond. It has no limits and no chains restrain it. It's the kind of flick that can never be remade, not only for its reputation, but also for its stylistic choices. Today's horror films are usually just "fun" at best, but not in the sense that this one is. No, there's something more going on here; some really inventive and good ideas at work. I can understand why some people dislike it immensely, and why some people find it preposterous, but I think the overall ridiculousness of the subject matter adds to the fun. It's so silly that it's surreal; and that surely says something, doesn't it?

Lamberto is, of course, the son of Italian Giallo horror legend Mario Bava; a superior filmmaker by all means. Don't get me wrong; his son is still good, if only for this little movie here, but unlike his father, the kid didn't exactly re-invent, or better yet, invent all-together a sub-genre of horror that is loved by many and misunderstood by others. "Demons" can be classified as Giallo cinema; and at that, it's a favorite of mine. Many of you reading will find it distasteful and just-plain-stupid to the point where you can't find anything believable, but try your hardest to think of it as a sick, nasty, but satisfyingly violent dream. This was clearly made back in the day where gore could be used as entertainment for those who enjoyed shock value. I don't like films that are repulsive, and I loved "Demons" because it was disgusting, but not in the sense that it was offensive or repulsive. Oh, how I adored it.

"They will make cemeteries their cathedrals and the cities will be your tombs". Lamberto's film is pretty basic in terms of plot; so I won't be spoiling too much if I go a little more "in depth" than normal. I suppose I'll start off with the premise. It involves an audience of young men and women; some older than the majority of the crowd, who are given a ticket by a mysterious man with a steel mask, which grants them admission to a movie theater that's just now opening its doors to the public again for the first time in years. The name of the theater is the "Metropol".

The audience is seated. The lights are dimmed. The people present are assuming that they have been invited to take part in a test screening of a film that has never been viewed, or reviewed, by anyone inside or outside of the general public. In a sense, they are right. The film ends up falling into the horror genre; beginning with the typical curious kids and soon becoming what Roger Ebert calls a "dead teenager movie", but with a bit of a twist. This movie-within-a-movie contains a plot element which involves a demonic mask-like artifact, which turns all those who wear it for even a second into a bloodthirsty demon bent on destruction. The first demon can attack the living and turn them into fellow slaves of Satan himself.

At the moment in which we learn of these things; we know it's all going to go downhill from there. If you recall, a woman put on a mask similar to the one present in the movie-within-a-movie whilst entering the theater, and in both the in-movie-movie and the actual movie (that is "Demons"), a scratch on the cheek is the price you pay for goofing off. This very woman soon turns into a demon, and chaos ensues. The others try to survive in every way possible, as more people are turned into demons, and more trouble (in the form of a biker-esque gang) comes their way.

I liked "Demons" as much as I did because it was insane. And some movies need to be. I've no doubt seen some outstanding films, ones better than even this one, but as far as escapist entertainment in cinema goes, this is an undeniable master-work. A lot of craft goes into fun, so I have to applaud Lamberto Bava for his work here. "Demons" has quite the body count, and boasts some impressive and down-right disgusting gore effects; which make it fun. It will be hard to stomach for a lot of people, even given it's original release (somewhere in the early 80's), but those who enjoy this genre should warm right up to it. This movie doesn't care much about characters, inspired dialogue, or great storytelling. It gets along fine with just a competent and creative visual presentation, entertaining blood-and-gore, and of course, a classic soundtrack consisting of original music from Goblin (the same awesome bastards who scored "Suspiria") and liscensed tracks from various American rock bands. There's plenty to remember here. And plenty to despise as well, so if you disagree with me and find this film not to your liking, then I still respect you. But I had such a great time watching "Demons"; such a great time, in fact, that I can't even begin to understand why I didn't like it upon first viewing. Maybe I wasn't paying attention; maybe I wasn't appreciative of films like this one at the time. No matter; I now can say that I love it. Any film that has a scene as awesome as the one involving a guy going down the rows of a movie theater on a motorcycle, katana in hand, slicing up zombie-like demons, has my vote for sheer badassery. Even if this isn't your kind of thing, I'd still suggest seeing it. It's a great party movie, a great midnight movie, and just a lot of fun all-in-all. What more could you ask for?

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October 06, 2011
great movie indeed!! :)
More Demons (Demoni) reviews
review by . May 01, 2009
Demons is a movie that has to be seen with a nice stereo sound system because the music rocks. It's a gooey and bloody. It's also nicely accompanied by an awesome soundtrack. Argento wanted to produce a movie that was a mindless and brainless exercise of absurdity, an instant popcorn movie that was going to make him and his investors a lot of money. Well, with the aid of Lamberto Bava he accomplished what he set out to do. The results are what you see on the screen. An action packed thrill ride …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie


First film of the Demons series.

Soundtrack includes music from Accept, Saxon, Motley Crue, Billy Idol and Claudio Simonetti.

Filmed in Germany.
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Director: Lamberto Bava
Genre: Horror
Release Date: October 4, 1985
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava
Runtime: 1hr 28min
Studio: DACFILM Rome
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