Tuesday, October 14, 2008

#92: Demons


Directed by Lamberto Bava
Written by Lamberto Bava, Dario Argento and Franco Ferrini (story by Dardano Sacchetti)
Released May 30, 1986

I couldn't go to bed with the taste of Cannibal Holocaust in my mouth.

The above sentence would be awesome in a toothpaste commercial.

Seriously though, I had to watch something entertaining after traveling down Ruggero Deodato's shit-paved path earlier this evening. And, I owed the Italians a chance at redemption.

An Evil Dead-level wacky demonic possession flick produced and co-written by Dario Argento, directed by the son of Italian film legend Mario Bava, featuring music from Billy Idol, Motley Crue and Rick Springfield (huh?). Pardon the play on words, but the Italians deliver! (Okay, I'd like to apologize to my Italian ancestors for making a racist pizza delivery joke right there...)

The plot is so simple it's almost ridiculous: a pair of friends, along with a bunch of other strangers, get handed some free golden passes for an early evening movie at a spooky theater named Metropol. The movie starts, shit gets crazy, and the blood starts to fly. It's like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory went smashing into a movie pile-up with Die Hard and Return of the Living Dead.

The idea of character development is so lacking here it's almost respectable. Along with our two female friends, there's The Blind Guy, The Three Black People, Guy Making Out With His Girlfriend, and Grumpy Older Couple. and Two Seemingly Gay Guys Who Are Trying to Mack on Our Female Leads.

Again, we're looking at a Horror film employing the movie-within-a-movie device, and in this case these poor people are suffering through some goofball Horror movie about people unearthing some sort of Nostradamus book of evil, with awesome dialogue like:

Guy 1 (yelling at Guy 2 for almost putting a mask on his face): "Don't do that! You'll become a demon!"
Guy 2: "How do you know?"
Guy 1: "It says here, "Whoever wears it becomes a demon.'"

As the movie on the screen goes violent, so do the patrons in the aisles. Demonic possession starts to spread like a nasty case of chlamydia, and Bava uses it as an excuse to drop the majority of his budget on coming up with a million ways to kill his film's victims. Scalpings, gougings, slashes, scratches and bites ensue.

It's mindless violence with a hair metal heart, and it plays like a nonstop version of the second act of the Tarantino/Rodriguez collaboration of From Dusk Til Dawn. It's not a great movie, but it's that perfect kind of movie to watch with a bunch of friends on Halloween night, laughing at the haircuts and poorly dubbed dialogue as you take turns shouting at the screen.

If you really want to have a good time, take bets on how everyone in the room thinks the movie will end (saying "They escape" does not count). If anyone at your party can even come remotely close to predicting the escape route for the survivors, you should just crown that person your god and give them the keys to your kingdom. It makes that little sense.

For more on Demons:
- Movie information at IMDB and Wikipedia.
- Buy the DVD.
- Trivia note: Bava worked as an assistant director on Cannibal Holocaust. Guess I had an unintentional double feature tonight.

The trailer for Demons:

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