I know I’m probably going to catch heat for this, but overall, I have been disappointed by my past experiences watching old-school Italian horror films. I would always go in expecting some amazing and entertaining stuff, but for the most part, always felt entirely underwhelmed. Fortunately, I have now found a piece of Italian horror cinema that I actually thoroughly enjoy — Lamberto Bava’s Demons.
After receiving complimentary tickets to a new movie screening from a masked stranger, a group of people gather at the newly renovated Metropol theater. The mystery film is about a strange mask that turns anyone who wears it into a demon. Strangely enough, that same mask was in the theater, scratching the face of one of the patrons. Soon after, she turns into a demon herself and attacks the rest of the innocent people, spreading the curse violently and rapidly across the entire audience of the locked up auditorium.
Presented by another legend of Italian horror, Dario Argento, Demons is a rather fast-paced fun time. The setting of an isolated movie theater is a perfect place for a demonic outbreak and for the creatures to run amok. The acting was pretty good, which is more than I can say about some other foreign horror flicks I’ve seen recently from that same era. The best part of this entire production, however, is most certainly the special effects and makeup. The creatures looked fantastic as well as every other slimy, gory detail… and this film has a lot! Gore fans from all around will be able to appreciate the scalping, eye gouging, sword slashing, and impressive looking transformation scenes.
The soundtrack for this film was also a standout feature, in my opinion. With a mix of heavy metal and hard rock songs from the likes of Motley Crue, Accept, and Saxon and compositions from maestro, Claudio Simonetti, the original rock score was perfect for the frantic pacing of a horde of moviegoers running around in a locked up theater filled with demons. Billy Idol’s “White Wedding” was a perfect choice for a cocaine filled ride-along with the film’s characters, Ripper, Baby Pig, Hot Dog, and Nina, a group of punks in the vein of another one of our favorite group of misfits from The Return of the Living Dead.
If you like Italian horror or enjoy some good old-fashioned zombie/creature films, you’ll definitely have fun with Bava’s Demons. Synapse Films has done an amazing job restoring this cult classic with beautiful visual and audio remastering. Be sure to pick up a copy on DVD or Blu-ray today with your choice of a movie-only version or a bonus feature heavy Limited Edition Steelbook.
I give Demons 4 sword blades out of 5.