too deep here: A Pastaland eighties classic with movie theater patrons getting
turned into flesh eating demons. If
you like that concept (as I do), you’ll doubtless enjoy this movie.
night in Rome, a bunch of strangers are lured into seeing a movie via free
tickets given out by creepy mask-wearing guys.
The nameless film turns out to be a trashy horror flick featuring young
airheads wandering around a crypt at night, where they inadvertently unleash a
plague of flesh eating demons after desecrating Nostradamus’ grave (among the
latter’s predictions was apparently the “Coming of the Demons”).
Meanwhile, the movie theater’s patrons are undergoing their own
all beings when a young woman discovers a cut on her cheek identical to a wound
sported by one of the film’s characters.
The woman finds the cut festering, and eventually growing into an ugly
boil that explodes in the theater bathroom to disgorge a load of pus.
From there the gal transforms into a bug-eyed, snaggle-toothed demon of
the type seen in the movie-within-the-movie.
there it’s an all-out slaughter fest as theater patrons are gored, scratched
or bitten by demons, causing the victims to become demons themselves.
Before long the demons outflank the non-demons, who are joined by four
street punks who stumble into the theater--and inadvertently let a demon out!
grow increasingly hairy in the auditorium, with the ever-dwindling contingent
of mortal humans unable to escape. They
find some novel ways to fight their tormentors, utilizing a samurai sword, a
motorbike and even a helicopter(!). What
nobody realizes, however, is that the environment outside is increasingly
coming to resemble the one within the movie house...
has an admirably simple, uncluttered narrative drive, nicely accentuated by the
compact movie theater setting. Location-wise
the film only really gets into trouble in the final ten minutes, when the
characters venture outside for a clumsy, dragged-out epilogue.
Otherwise, though, it looks great, with bold, lurid colors reminiscent
of Dario Argento’s self-directed films like DEEP RED and SUSPIRIA, and
copious gore FX that are generally impressive.
The soundtrack, taken up largely with eighties heavy metal, will seem
either annoying or charmingly nostalgic depending on one’s point of view
(I’m of the latter opinion).
film’s biggest problems in my view are what it doesn’t
contain rather than the other way around. The
movie-within-the-movie angle is intriguing, suggesting a tricky reality-vs.-cinema
psychodrama along the lines of TARGETS (1968) or ANGUISH (1987), but Lamberto
Bava abandons that conceit around the halfway point.
I also feel the proceedings would have benefited from a more overtly
surreal narrative of the type favored by Bava and Argento’s contemporary
Lucio Fulci. But still, taken as
is, DEMONS delivers.
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