This film is about as good as it gets for 80’s Italian horror. It has everything, demon possession, spirits, mad men, murder, monsters and gore. Beautifully put together with a great cast of actors, a good script by Dario Argento (which even works well with Dubbing, even though it’s shot in English, although it looks as though Hugh Quarshie and Asia get their own voices) and some amazing direction, care of Michele Soavi, here at his finest.
The film is set in a Cathedral as a tomb is opened by archaeologists, releasing the demon spirits of devil worshipers from the middle ages, all inhabitants find themselves witness to strange happenings either in the form of hallucination, or possession but what makes this film stand out apart from the stunning cinematography and great vision achieved by Soavi, is that at no point do we really think evil will be overcome. We follow each character as they are taken to a dark place in their mind, and we accept the situation for what it is, unlike other offerings which would see a protagonist fighting evil and solving the crime and destroying Satan.
Barbara Cupisti offers a fine performance alongside Tomas Arana, Antonella Vitale, a young Asia Argento in what is probably her finest perfomance and the superb Giovanni Lombardo Radice as the old Reverend. Stivaletti knocks out most of the effects including an amazing goat headed demon and a good spiky iron gate through the neck of a woman is good too. Score by Goblin is the icing on the cake.
Lamberto Bava proves he can master the art of cinema, just like his father, Mario, with obvious high expectations. Until now, I’ve always though he was missing a little magic with his films, but Demons is full of charm. It’s a simple ,classic, crazy gorefest from ’85. Fast moving, colourful and high is blood, puss and over the top carnage.
A cinema offer’s free tickets to a secret screening of an undisclosed movie. Upon arrival, the guests find the story line of the horror film on the screen begins to mirror what is happening within the cinema itself as the audience are slowly infected and transform into blood thirsty Demons.
It’s beautifully shot, full of Italian charm and style, great looking actors (Nicoletta Elmi, Natasha Hovey, Fiore Argento and Italian hunk Urbana Barberini) and impressive gore effects (care of FX Master, Sergio Stivaletti) which really have stood the test of time. Eye gouges and trapped fingers in the door are achieved with pure realism and a stunning moment with a bloke getting his hand blown off, and a brutal stabbing scene, but these are just a few amongst a whole number of crazy cartoon gore moments. Music is also a great highlight for me with a stunning euro electro pop score, care of Claudio Simonetti, and balanced with some metal tracks from the 80’s.
The lighting of the film is pure Argento (here as Producer); blues and reds from his Suspira Inferno era. It’s smooth and glossy and faultless from a production point of view. The storyline can be seen as have some holes, but this needs to be overlooked as all great Italian magical viewing experiences. There are also issues with dubbing, which at times creates a slightly camp feel to the production. I can’t help but think this film would benefit from an Italian language release with English subs.