(A double dose of cheap splatter to get things underway! There will be DOUBLE FEATURE reviews like this from time to time, when the flicks in question call for it!)
Directed by Lamberto Bava and produced by some bloke called Dario Argento, DEMONS is one of those films that divides opinions. If you can stand the atrocious acting and the infantile script, then you'll find an entertaining slab of nastiness that, by the third act, straddles a line between horror flick and post-apocalyptic action film.
While it may be a terrible film in many ways, it is also fabulously entertaining. If you're not familiar with the plot, the basic premise (which is a ton of fun) is that of demonic creatures getting through into our world via a cinema, erupting forth from the frames of a horror film. Chaos ensues, as does gore galore.
There are moments when you wonder just how they could fit so much wood into one cast, but the ludicrous special effects used for the possessed 'Demons', and the chaos they bring about, are fantastic. This 1985 film is very much of its time, with some awesome examples of bad hair and odd clothes, along with a screaming old-school metal soundtrack which makes it even more fun.
The splatter is just about gripping enough to sustain your interest, but it may well be the amateurish acting that lives on in your memory more than the green-slime spewing beasties. The whole idea behind the making of the film was to create something that was just big dumb entertainment, and in that regard it succeeds to a great extent. DEMONS is perfect for some entertainment that won't tax your brain but will engage you in some good laughs and a few genuine shocks. Bava's direction is snappy and keeps things moving along nicely, but beyond the gore, it's a bit empty.
The 1987 sequel was was once again directed by Lamberto Bava and produced by Dario Argento, who also had a hand in the script. DEMONS 2 is a better made film all round, but that's not to say it's great. I love it myself, but I'm trying to give you an honest critique. The crew seemed to hire some better actors for this outing, but it feels more like a remake than a direct sequel to that iconic first film.
In this film, the plot centres around similar demons from the first flick turning up in an 80s yuppy apartment block. They find their way into our world via a TV at a party this time, and before you know it there are people being 'turned' all over the place, my favourites being the party host herself, the kid and the dog, all of whom have passed into horror folklore for their messy transformations.
Again, there is nothing particularly deep here. After all, it's called DEMONS 2 for crying out loud. It's gory and violent, and oh look, there's a group of misfits involved. It does retread some of the same ground as the first film, but it has a great climax, albeit one shot in the most 80's music video style you could imagine. Al it's missing is Bonnie Tyler screaming about THE PASSION IN THE NIGHT or something.
DEMONS 2 is an entertaining bit of sticky, bloody fluff that, when viewed with a pinch of salt, is almost as fun as the original. Almost.