Demons

Demons in the best shot of the film

Demons is a horror tale, a veritable orgy of bad special effects and gore from director Lamberto Bava which was produced by horror maestro Dario Argento. A mystery screening at a cinema leads to an all out gore fest when one of the audience members becomes possessed by a demonic force and begins to eat her fellow viewers.

The plot is very basic, a girl is handed a flyer for a mystery screening at the newly re-opened Metropole cinema in West Berlin. She decides to cut her college class and attend the preview with a friend. The film turns out to be a horror story about demonic possession and things really hot up when a biker chick in the audience transforms into a demon and starts running around frantically attacking everyone. Each person she bites becomes infected in true zombie style and before long the theatre is a heaving mass of corpses, demons and panic stricken victims.

I was suckered into buying this by the inclusion of Argento´s name but he didn´t direct it, the considerably less able Lamberto Bava is actually the man responsible for this awful piece of trash. Bava has none of the skill or deftness that Argento possesses, the direction is fairly dull with the exception of a few shots, such as the demon hoard pouring down a corridor their eyes ablaze with murderous passion. For the most part he relies on badly done make-up and special effects, preferring to focus on the ridiculous gore rather than build any tension or hit you with scares. The editing is moronically random and several scenes make no sense as they lack any set-up, such as the surprising helicopter appearance when a helicopter crashes through the ceiling unexpectedly. There is no previous shot or mention of a helicopter in the action and the crash scene is really cheaply done so it just comes across as bizarre.

My what big teeth you have!

The main problem this movie has though is the shallow plot and the complete lack of any character development. After a brief set-up the whole farce just descends into set piece murder after set piece murder. The luminous gore is ineffective and the action gets really boring really quickly, it is only the blistering pace which stokes your meagre interest.

The acting is B-movie horror grade and the dubbing is hideous. The film was released in 1985 and the fashions and music reflect this nauseous period of human society quite accurately which isn´t a good thing. On the plus side you can snigger at how bad it all is especially the overly dramatic ending and you can relax safe in the knowledge that the torture only lasts for 88 minutes.

This is not a classic horror film no matter what the packaging says and the prominent inclusion of Argento´s name is a just a cheap marketing ploy by the advertising whores, hey I´m not bitter. The whole idea feels like a cheap rip-off of the zombie genre and there is no resolution or explanation for this unbelievable series of events. Bava is an awful director, the acting is terrible, the plot is non-existent and even the violence is badly done. Demons is a very bad film and sadly spawned a sequel, the imaginatively titled Demons 2, which is almost as bad so don´t be conned by the marketing drivel.


Reviewed by Simon Hill

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