Demons (1985)
By: J.R. McNamara on August 11, 2012  | 
DVD
Arrow | Region B | 1.66:1, 1080p | English LPCM 2.0 | 88 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Lamberto Bava
Starring: Urbano Barberini, Natasha Hovey, Karl Zinny, Fiore Argento, Bobby Rhodes
Screenplay: Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava, Dardano Sacchetti, Franco Ferrini
Country: Italy
External Links
IMDB Purchase YouTube
As those who read my reviews regularly will know, for this horror fan the 80s was the best time for horror. All my favourite genre films come from this time: Re-Animator, Burial Ground, Dead and Buried, A Nightmare on Elm Street... really, I could just do a list of films I dig from this time, and one of those is this film: Demons.

I first discovered this film in a small video shop in the southern suburbs of Sydney, and immediately loved it: the gore, the hot European girls, and just the general tone of the film blew my mind. I had a DVD release and enjoyed it, but this Arrow Blu-ray release has taken the love affair even further.

Demons starts with a young girl being approached on a train by a strange looking man who appears to be wearing a mask, and is handing out free tickets to a cinema screening. She manages to score two of them so she can bring her constantly whining friend along, and they skip a lecture at university to go.

The cinema is an old one, and there are several people there to see the film, including a young couple; a cranky old bastard and his long suffering wife; a pair of horny young men who start sniffing around our heroine; and a classic 70s pimp-styled character along with two of his 'employees', one of who mucks around with a metal mask on display in the foyer and accidently cuts her face with it.

They sit down to watch the film, which is all about four people looking for the tomb of Nostradamus, and the four find a mask much like the one in the foyer, and when one of the characters cuts his face, he turns into a demon.

Not surprisingly, the prostitute who cut her face in the cinema becomes one as well and starts terrorising the patrons, and everyone who is attacked becomes a demon. They try to escape, but discover that they are trapped inside with the creatures, which are constantly increasing in number.

What happens next is good old fashioned, gory, unholy fun!!

This film is directed by Lamberto Bava, son of Italian cinema legend Mario Bava and written by him, Dario Argento, Franco Ferinni and Dardano Sarchetti. Gorehounds will get a gargantuan sense of satisfaction as it relishes in the gore, all of which are good ol' fashioned practical effects: messy and non-CGI! Italian film fans will have fun as well, spotting some Italian horror cinema regulars like Nicoletta Elmi, who was also in A Bay of Blood and Deep Red, and a cameo from Giovanni Frezza, best known as Bob from The House by the Cemetary.

I loved this film in the 80s, and nothing has changed since then. The story in engaging and moves along at a cracking pace, the characters are memorably wacky, and the gore effects are top shelf practical ones: CGI haters could use this film as evidence that practical is better, and CGI proponents like me would have nothing to retort. Plus it features a three and a half minute sequence where a guy wielding a samurai sword hoons around the theatre on a motorcycle while cutting a path through hordes of demons to the tune of Accept's "Fast as a Shark". If you need more than that from an 80's horror movie you're too fussy!
Video
I honestly expected this to look like an absolute crap sandwich but was pleasantly surprised. The image, presented in its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio, is sharp and vibrant, giving new life to the heavily backlit scenes of rampaging demon mayhem. A seriously impressive transfer from Arrow.
Audio
It's only in mono 2.0 but there is nothing wrong with this audio presentation. It is presented in both Italian or English tracks, which should both be given a listen as they have different musical cues, and the opportunity to hear Simonetti's soundtrack is much greater on the Italian as the music track is a little more prominent.
Extra Features
As usual with most Arrow releases, there are a pretty cool bunch of extra bits and pieces for fans to absorb, though with a film that is now 30 years old, it is difficult to find new information, but having it in all together on one disc is grand.

First I must compliment the excellent packaging. It has the usual 'poster' styled packaging that Arrow offer on their Blu-rays, with the option of 4 different covers, a double sided poster, a booklet essay by Calum Waddell and part 1 of a Demons 3 comic by writers Stefan Hutchinson and Barry Keating with art by horror artist extraordinaire Jeff Zornow. This is a new story, not Ogre or any other of the cinematic 'sequels' and, as a horror comic fan, I think it is a cool comic. The story is continued in Arrow's Blu-ray release of Demons 2.

Dario's Demon Origins sees Mr. Argento discuss the origins of the film, most of which your average horror fan would have heard before.

Defining An Era In Music is a discussion with Claudio Simonetti about the soundtrack to the film.

Whilst the other two pieces are mildly interesting, Luigi Cozzi's Top Horror Films (it's called Splatter Spaghetti Style on the feature) is really interesting, as he talks about Italian horror and his favourite/most important films of the genre.

We also have a Director's commentary with Lamberto Bava and Sergio Stivaletti. It is in both Italian and English and whilst informative, it is at times a trial to listen to due to the language swapping.

Cast and Crew Commentary is by Mike Burness, Art Ettinger from Ultra Violent magazine, Mark Murray from Cult Collectables, soundtrack writer Claudio Simonetti, director Lamberto Bava, Geretta Geretta who played 'Rosemary' and SPFX guy Sergio Stivaletti. This is a much better commentary as it discusses many aspects of the film. It is still in a mixture of Italian and English (with subtitles) though.
The Verdict
What's the best way to give a film collector what they want? How about a favourite film, presented cleanly, in great packaging with great extras? It's that easy! Well played, Arrow.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

comments powered by Disqus

>SHARK WEEK (2012) DVD Review

>DANGEROUS MEN (2005) Blu-ray Review

>UNIVERSAL SOLDIER (1992) Blu-ray Review

>THE LAST WARRIOR (2000) Blu-ray Review

>DIAMOND DOGS (2007) DVD Review

>BONE TOMAHAWK (2015) Blu-ray Review

>LET US PREY (2014) Blu-ray Review

>MACHETE (2010) Blu-ray Review

>THE MECHANIK (2005) Blu-ray Review

>DIRECT ACTION (2004) DVD Review

>NIGHTCRAWLER (2014) Blu-ray Review

>MOSQUITOMAN (2005) DVD Review

>CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980) Blu-ray Review

>POLTERGEIST (2015) Blu-ray Review

>DRIVEN TO KILL (2009) Blu-ray Review

Post Apocalypse Discussion Forum
Waxwork Records by MaxTheSilent
Phantasm V??? by McSTIFF
Inside (└ l'intÚrieur) by MaxTheSilent
Red Christmas - new local horror by brett garten
Zack Snyder's JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017) by Rip
BLAIR WITCH (2016) by Dr. Obrero
LOCK-OUT by McSTIFF
26 Guests, 0 Users
Latest Comments
Last 20 Comments
Most Read Articles
CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980) Blu-ray Review 1. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980) Blu-ray Review
POLTERGEIST (2015) Blu-ray Review 2. POLTERGEIST (2015) Blu-ray Review
MOSQUITOMAN (2005) DVD Review 3. MOSQUITOMAN (2005) DVD Review
DRIVEN TO KILL (2009) Blu-ray Review 4. DRIVEN TO KILL (2009) Blu-ray Review
NIGHTCRAWLER (2014) Blu-ray Review 5. NIGHTCRAWLER (2014) Blu-ray Review
Contact Us
Australian Horror News and Reviews
Digital Retribution aims to bring you the latest news and reviews from the local genre scene. If you see or hear something that might be of interest to our readers, please get in touch!

For promotional and advertising inquiries, feedback, requests, threats or anything else, visit our Contact Page.