A movie written by Dario Argento, directed by Lamberto Bava (son of Mario), music by Claudio Simonetti, Billy Idol, Motley Crue AND Rick Springfield?!?! Is it possible a film SO awesome could exist? Yup…Demoni aka Demons, aka the best film within a film movie you will ever see.

The film starts off innocently enough; a dude who looks like a member of Team Cobra (you know G.I. Joe’s nemesis) is handing out passes to a screening of an untitled movie at a subway station. He hands over a couple of passes to Cheryl (cutie Natasha Hovey), so her and her equally cute friend, Kathy (Paola Cozzo) can attend what they think will be a premier and/or a test screening of some new movie. Once they get to the theater we meet all the wacky locals who have been given passes to the test screening: a couple of dudes who want to bang the girls, some random business folk, a blind man (!!!) and the coolest pimp in all of Italy, Tony (Bobby Rhodes). When one of Tony’s prostitutes, Rosemary (Geretta Geretta) puts on a mask she finds in the lobby she accidentally cuts herself on it, no one thinks anything of it, and they all cram into the theater to watch a movie about Nostradamus. In the movie, within our movie, the people on the screen find a mask not unlike the one that cut Rosemary earlier in the lobby AND when they cut themselves in the movie (on the mask), THEY become demons. Well…after Rosemary hits the bathroom, her cut begins to bubble, and now SHE becomes a demon…JUST LIKE THE MOVIE! Rosemary then begins her onslaught on the theater, spreading her DEMONI disease to anyone she scratches, bites, etc. What happens next is total fucking chaos as everyone who is in the theater are all turned into and (hunted by) hideous-bubbling-vomiting-exploding-imploding-crazy tongued-fingernails-falling-out monsters. …Oh and I forgot to mention, the patrons are locked in the theater and squeally 80’s metal plays as large as a role as the gore does in this Argento/Bava wet dream of a movie. It’s gross, it’s funny, and surprisingly it’s highly original.

“Demons” is the quintessential monster movie. It’s like Dawn of the Dead, except in a theater, and Demons instead of zombies. The concept is obviously simple, but it works, and it works well. The effects are fucking great, the demons, and their transformation scenes are brilliantly gory. Simonetti’s score is awesome—just as you would expect from any other Argento/Simonetti collaboration…that is until the weird inserts of Billy Idol and Accept interfere. I don’t know what the connection is between Argento and 80’s metal, but he seemed to REALLY be into randomly playing tracks like “White Wedding” really fucking loud in his 80’s period of filmmaking production. I am not complaining, I just wish I understood…just another enigma that is part of the Argento world I suppose.

Why is this movie great? Because the movie is so naïve about how great it is. It feels like some passionate teenagers made it, not horror heavyweights with names like Argento and Bava. This sense of naivety is what I love so much about Italian horror movies. In North America filmmakers always try so hard to be shocking, but in most cases end up with something that isn’t worthy of the poster and/or dvd box artwork. With classics like Demons, you get pretty minimal artwork, but something that still catches your eye…As I know you’ve seen this on the shelf… and you have wondered if you should pick it up or no…well… considering Stars/Anchor Bay have recently released a new version of this on DVD with a cheap price tag , the time has never been better…. Honestly, I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t like this movie…if you are a collector of Italian horror, or even if you are just looking for a good place to start, Demons is definitely worth your hard earned cash.

Asia Argento is not in the film-only my dreams.

Charlie “There’s snow in the valley” Brown


~ by exploitnation on April 21, 2008.

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