Once again, Anchor
Bay salvages the darkest depths of 1980s video store fare to recover
a classic. Funny, but they very seldom seem to dredge the turkeys
out of the lake, rather sticking to fantastic treasure ships.
And this one will be no different--welcome to Lamberto Bava and
Dario Argento's great Italian nightmare, "Demons".
In a move that displays
why the video store is your greatest and safest entertainment
value, "Demons" offers a special treat--a free screening
of a horror film at the local theatre, the Metropol, courtesy
of a guy in a truly freaky metal half-mask. Those expecting a
simple night at the movies couldn't be more wrong, as in short
order, people abruptly start turning into insane monstrousities
bent on murder and destruction. Okay, the premise is pretty flimsy,
but we're not here for a deep and involved storyline--we're here
to watch people try and survive the theatre of horrors!
And best believe, there
will be lots and lots and LOTS of bloodthirsty subhumans tearassing
around this old movie house, and a steadily dwindling number of
humans trying desperately to survive their monstrous new counterparts.
Perhaps the simplest
kind of horror--let's lock a whole bunch of people in with some
cannibalistic nightmares!--and yet one of the most effective,
"Demons" proves to be supremely effective. Wavering
back and forth, semi-randomly, between balls-out slash-and-burn
horror and nail-biting suspense ratchets up the tension to surprising
I used to watch this
every so often back in the dim days of my youth, but I could only
get it on VHS. And trust me, watching it on DVD is wildly, WILDLY
superior to that raggedy old VHS copy I watched. They really improved
the audio AND the picture quality--I used to think the horror
movie showing at the Metropol was wreathed in fog. Watching it
now, all I can say now is...well...there was no fog involved.
A big shock, sure enough, and at the same time, a fantastic testament
to the great improvement DVD can offer when it comes to the classics
of our era.
Okay, maybe I'm overstating
things. Maybe "Demons" isn't really classic to anybody
but horror buffs enjoying the twenty-second anniversary edition.
It may not be a classic, but it's still pretty hair-raising.
The ending involves
the best use of motocross I've seen to date, and when you see
it, you'll understand how I could say that without looking like
a complete loon. The phrase "over the top" is not without
merit here. Bonus points for extensive cheese, and killing by
The special features
include audio options, English closed captions, a commentary track,
a behind the scenes featurette, and trailers for "Demons",
"Demons 2", "Phenomena", "Tenebre",
"Re-Animator", and "Phantasm".
All in all, another
magnificently overpowered win for Anchor Bay! I can only wonder
what half-forgotten treasure of the horror industry's dim, dark
youth they'll dredge up next.
Directed by Lamberto Bava
Written by Dardano Sacchetti, Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava, Franco
Starring Urbano Barberini, Natasha Hovey, Karl Zinny, Fiore Argento
Produced by Dario Argento
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