Tuesday, June 4, 2013


DEMONS Directed By Lamberto Bava Starring Urbano Barberini (1985)
Reviewed By Goat Scrote
                If a scary guy in a creepy-looking metal mask (infamous director Michele Soavi) ever offers you a free ticket to a movie, here's what you do. You go home and cuddle up on the couch with your favorite fuzzy, feathery, or scaly domesticated critter(s) and/or your sweetie(s). Have a bag of microwave popcorn or some corn chips, watch some b-grade garbage on the internet or whatever, and have a normal, boring, apocalypse-free night. Forget you ever got that ticket. Free movie tickets are nothing more than bait for demon traps. People are suckers for free stuff. The demons know this.
              "Demons" primarily takes place in a movie theater, and during the first part, the action in the movie they're watching mirrors what's happening in the theater. This set-up would have really lent itself to some William-Castle-style gimmickry in theaters. You could send some people in demon masks running through the aisles at key moments to get everyone in the proper mood.
Did I do that? (In Urkle voice)

                One of the visitors is scratched by a metal demon mask that's on display in the lobby. The same thing happens to someone in the movie-within-the-movie later on, which triggers a demonic transformation both on screen and in the theater. The wound starts pulsing and swelling and I smile in fond remembrance of pre-CGI horror. Latex bladder effects rule! The big pus-blast about 22 minutes in marks the real start of the party. Yes, it's true: Acne is spawned from the depths of Hell. 
                The trapped theatergoers don't need very long to figure out something is going terribly wrong, but when they batter down the doors to escape, they find a wall of concrete has mysteriously appeared. What the...? Things just sort of happen in this movie, and there's really no payoff for thinking too hard about it. The point is that they are now sealed in. They scatter through the theater in utter panic, looking for a way out, and one by one they get gruesomely torn up. The demon plague is spread from person to person through scratches and bites, so each new victim becomes possessed by a demon.
Nevermind the Clearasil get a priest!
                Some of the theatergoers decide that the film must be making all this happen, so they break into the projection booth to put a stop to it and find computerized projectors. Once again, a warning to the modern world! This digital projector craze is a soul-corrupting ploy to put demons in our cineplexes. I'm sure there's something about this in the Bible! Stopping the movie doesn't slow down the rampage, however.
                There's a hilarious visual pun at 43:30... a quartet of "punkers" outside the theater snorting cocaine out of a Coca Cola can. Ha! Okay, I thought it was funny, but I'm easily amused. Didn’t I see that in Return of the Living Dead, or am I high? I’m way too lazy to go look it up. (it didn't happen in the film. Ed.) Also, I am craving junk food. Anyway, the punkers, now on the run from the cops, find a back door into the theater and hide inside. Meanwhile, one of the demons sneaks out and scratches up the police. Containment has been lost! The demons are free, free to spread havoc and hellish misery across the face of the world, mwahahahahaha!
                Right about here I almost feel sorry for the demons. They were having so much fun in the theater, but boy, are they in for a disappointment when they see that we have pretty much already done their job for them in the outside world. Desolation? Mutilation? Despair? Senseless mob violence? Bloody mayhem? Plague? Rivers of boiling feces? Welcome to planet Earth, ya jerks. You’ll fit right in.
Howdy Folks, I'm Murray the "bacne" demon
                There are some cool bits and pieces of imagery, like the demon transformation at 30 minutes in and the glow-eyed demons climbing backlit stairs at 1:01:00. There's a pretty nifty scene at 1:07:45 when a full-sized demon climbs its way out of the back of one of the infected like she's a living doorway to Hell. The slimy, gooey, bloody old-school special effects are definitely part of the fun, with blasts of yellow and green pus, demon puke, stretchy latex, and plenty of fake blood.
Don't worry bro, I'll take down your insurance info later!

                There's a dirt bike and a samurai sword displayed in the lobby so that later the "hero" can drive through the theater chopping up demons with an 80s metal soundtrack blasting in the background. Our hero is not a very charismatic guy, but he gets to live the dream here... until he gets scratched and then crashes the bike. Oh well.
Perfect there's that chopper I ordered

                Then, with no warning, a helicopter comes crashing through the roof of the theater. This is by far my favorite moment. It makes absolutely no sense, and no explanation is ever offered. Just go with it! The two survivors use the helicopter as a weapon against their unholy enemies. And would you look at that, the chopper is also equipped with a grapnel hook gun and a winch. I’m sure if they’d kept looking they would have found a jet pack or a flamethrower, too. Anyway, hey, presto, they make it up to the roof the theater to face off with the original metal-faced ticket distributor, who is presumably the bozo responsible for this whole mess. The heroes do a reversal of the standard Italian-horror eye impalement kill, and this time it’s the bad guy getting a piece of rebar shoved through his brain. The good guys emerge victorious... only to discover that the city has already plunged into anarchy and chaos, with demons running loose all over. They're rescued by an extremely well-armed family in a jeep.
part machine part movie usher
                Now, even though we know the male lead was scratched by demon claws and we're expecting him to turn at any moment, it's the female lead who becomes a demon and has to be put down. Luckily this family seems able to take care of themselves. When the demon apocalypse arrives -- which should be any minute now, according to my sources -- we're all going to be wishing for those high-capacity assault rifle magazines, mark my words!


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