A man hands you a golden ticket. No singing, this isn’t goddamn Willy Wonka! This is a different golden ticket. It’s an invitation to see a brand new horror film in a relatively new and expansive theater. You're curious, and you do like horror films. You look at the ticket for the place and time and start heading that direction.
When you get to the theater you mix around with a colorful cast of characters (not racist), including a blind man whose wife screws around with other men behind his back, there’s the pimp with his two best earners. Then you get the college jocks sort that instantly think they’re hot enough for you to not resist and stalk you around the theater. Then, when they sit, the two college guys take the seats next to you. I smell a movie about date rape.
Oh…no…wait. Ho Down! HO DOWN!!! One of the ladies of the night, before the show starts, was dicking around with the art installation which included a shiny demon mask. She puts it on and scares Ho #2, but when she takes it off a jut in the mask cuts her slightly on the cheek.
The film within the film is about a group of college kids trying to find the gravesite of Nostradamus. During their search, one finds a demon mask similar to the one the prostitute wore and got a little cut from minutes earlier. She feels the cut, it hasn’t stopped bleeding. She excuses herself (well, she asks ‘daddy’ if she can go) and got to the bathroom. Her touching it just pisses it off, a gigantic ball of puss explodes all over the bathroom and she cries out.
Back to the film within a film, one of the kids puts the mask on himself, in order to scare one of the girls, and when he removes the mask, he also gets a small cut. As this is going on Prostitute #2 asks permission to check on Prostitute #1. Pimp could care less.
These next events parallel, as the character in the film within a film is filled with a demon and starts killing off his friend, Prostitute #2 finds Prostitute #1, her face all messed up and then…ATTACK!
The rules are if you get scratched by a demon, you become a demon. You get bitten, same thing. Those are the only two rules.
As the people try to escape the theater, they discover that all the entrances and exits are bricked up. They’re trapped, and more, and more of those demons keep overtaking people’s bodies.
We’re introduced to the final girl pretty quickly, and her new man (a little slutty) is obviously the final guy. Every once and a while you cut to scenes of other characters trying to kill the demons, or remain safe. But the majority of screen time go to the two protagonists.
This film is pure, unbridled, fun…and terror, can’t forget terror. The Demons are incredibly nasty, in their physicality, and their actions. It’s a bit schlocky, but in that good, necessary way. No way an audience would be able to take this shit seriously. So if the film had not been made with its tongue firmly in cheek, I think this would have been a total bomb, and wouldn’t exist today on blu-ray. There is a sequel that we’ll be talking about next (I own them both on blu-ray), but for now, just DEMONS.
Once most of the people meet their grisly fate, it becomes a handful of survivors that are still trying to find a way out, meanwhile killing demons left and right. An interesting thing occurs towards the end of the film. One of the demons dies face down on the floor and then from his midsection a gigantic hand reaches out, after a big of tugging we see a new demon, one we haven’t really seen before. It’s more classical demon than the others because it has horns and…well that’s where the similarities end.
What the demons didn’t plan for, was for someone to take the katana blade and motorcycle from the display case and use it to drive around killing demons as it goes. This is a pretty cool sequence, but doesn’t have enough of the gore you’d come to expect. I mean, there is gore, but this is when you’re supposed to really gore it up. Oh well, at least we get to see a few demons sliced up by helicopter blades. That was pretty awesome. Oh, yeah, a helicopter crashed in through the roof of the theater. This becomes the escape point for the only two left, you guessed it, the protagonists. When they get to the roof, the creepy guy with the face mask who was handing out the theater tickets is there, and he’s pissed. There’s a fight, the girl helps out a big. They win in the end, but for what? Demons are running all over town. Some of them must have gotten loose. So it looks like their fight is just beginning.
This film was directed by Lamberto Bava (son of Mario Bava), and produced by Dario Argento (go read my article on him back at the main page). There isn’t a score so much as there is a soundtrack, Billy Idol among them, hard rock music that always plays when a demon appears or the civilians are being chased around. It’s an experiment, but I think it worked to cue up a song instead of an orchestra. It isn’t something wired in our brains, quite the opposite. We expect a zinger of some sort, but not hard rock. I award many points for trying this out and succeeding. Not to say it’s the first film to try this, but it’s one of the first, and as far as my collection is concerned, the only to do that.
I’m not sure how they worked together, but Bava and Argento pulled off a huge win with this one. It was surprisingly successful and, as always, the people clamored for a sequel, which they released the next year. But is DEMONS 2 really any good? Is it the same ol’ movie in a different location? Not to spoil the next review, but it is. In fact, it might even be bett…nevermind, I can’t lie like that. I don’t want to build your expectations too high. Let’s meet again tomorrow for the review of DEMONS 2.