Blu Review – Demons 1 and 2 (Synapse Films)

Blu Release – 4/5

Director – Lamberto Bava (Midnight Killer, Demons 2)
Starring – Urbano Barberini (Opera), Natasha Hovey (Stay Lucky), and Karl Zinny (The Final Executioner)
Release Date – 1985
Rating – 4/5

Tagline – “They will make cemeteries their cathedrals and the cities will be your tombs.”

When it comes to horror none are as relentless and brutal as the horror flicks that came out of Italy in the late 70s and 80s. So many horror classics came from Italy around that time with films like Zombi, Suspiria, Inferno,The Beyond, City of the Living Dead, and Deep Red. These films became hits among the horror crowd upon their release earning them all a huge and overflowing fan base. However, one of the most popular Italian horror flicks was not always a hit among Italian horror fans. That film is Lamberto Bava’s Demons.

The film was released in 1985 and was produced by giallo master Dario Argento. The film did not fair so well among horror fans upon it’s release but has since went on to become one of the best examples of Italian horror and one of my personal favorites. I had seen the film several times in my teenage years and was recently sent a review copy of Synapse’s release on blu. I decided that it was time to actually review the film after checking the blu out.

**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a young girl who is given a ticket by a weird man wearing a chrome mask reminiscent of the mask worn by the phantom of the opera. The ticket is to a new theater in town that shows art house films. The girl becomes curious and invites her friend to go with her. The two arrive and meet two young men there and decide to watch the movie together. The movie they watch involves a group of treasure hunters as they explore some ruins. It is here that they unleash demons that possess those they come in contact with after scratching or biting them. However, the theater they are in has a supernatural presence and makes the events in the film become real unleashing demons on the unsuspecting crowd forcing everyone to work together and survive or become possessed by something dark and sinister.**Spoiler Alert**

When I watch an Italian horror film I expect to see buckets of blood and gallons of gore. However, Demons is something a little different. Demons is about story and character interaction more than it is about covering the viewer in gore. That may be why the film was met with such reluctance. However, the film may rely on story and character development to reach their desired effect it still houses some great blood and gore to make it an authentic Italian horror flick.

The acting in this one is Italian grade “A.” For an Italian film it is top notch but if I was to compare it to a film from the same time period made somewhere else it would fall short. The Italians make their roles way too serious which sometimes leads to the characters being over the top but not in the same way we love the Japanese counterparts. This lead to several characters becoming a nuisance while others become fan favorites. The pimp from the film has went on to become a cult hero and inspiration for characters in other films, comics, and his own line of t-shirts.

The story for this one is a bit unusual but fun as hell. The story is suspenseful from the very beginning and culminates perfectly at the end leaving the viewer with no dry spots. I also like how the demons are similar to zombies but with way more personality and a lot more menacing.

Finally, the film has some very impressive on screen kills and special effects. Demons offers some great kills but the film is home to some of the greatest special effects I have seen in 80s horror. They truly have to be seen to be believed. Overall, Demons is a triumph of Italian horror. It has amazing special effects that should be seen by any and all fans of horror. Check it out because you will not be disappointed.

Demons 2
Director – Lamberto Bava (Demons, Devil Fish)
Starring – David Edwin Knight (Dark Friday), Nancy Brilli (Madame), and Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni (Evil Clutch)
Release Date – 1986
Rating – 4/5

Tagline – “The nightmare returns…”

The Italians know how to make a good horror flick. They tend to give us films that have a great amount of suspense, gore, and a story that is usually worth following. However, they are also known for having weak sequels. Case in point is their lackluster follow ups to Zombi. Anyway, when I was in middle school and high school I watched the film Demons for the first time and really enjoyed it. However, I never had the chance to see the film’s first sequel. I have seen The Church which is considered the third film in the series. I thought The Church was a decent film so I was curious to see what the actual follow up film to Demons was like. I reached out to Synapse and they were nice enough to send me the film on blu along with the first one.

**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a community of people living in a high rise apartment as they all attend a party for one of the young ladies. However she is a pissy party goer and goes back to her room to cry it out. After shedding a few tears she turns on the t.v. to watch a movie about a group of explorers going through the ruins of a building presumably the ruins of the theater from the first film. Inside they find the skeleton of a demon and it re-animates. It then attacks the explorers before finding the t.v. screen and enters the real world and attacks the young girl. She then turns into a demon and attacks all the people that attended her party before leaving the room and attacking everyone in the apartment building. **Spoiler Alert**

What most people hate about sequels is that they never follow the original story set forth in the first film. I love sequels. They take me on a journey with characters I know and love but we do sometimes get films that forget about the first film and try to retell the story. Demons 2 does that to some extent but it does that in a way that we can truly enjoy.

That acting in this film is a step down from the first. One of the things that made the first film so enjoyable is the few characters that was so over the top that they stuck out like the pimp. Sadly, this film made the characters more traditional and straight forward. That makes this film feel like a more traditional horror film but that is one of the few things that set the original film out from the others.

The story for this one is more of the first film but in a whole new setting. The first film took place in a theater where those watching a film about demons when they come out of the film to attack and kill. This is more of that but this time they come out of a t.v. set and infect everyone in a high rise apartment building. This works very well as a sequel and also renders it. I love when a sequel takes a story I already know and expands upon it. However, this film just took the same story and put it in a different place.

Finally, this film does give us some nice on screen kills but nothing new. We get the same, recycled kills from the first film but how this film sets itself apart from the first is even more impressive special effects. The first film has some of the best practical effects I have ever seen in an 80s film but this film takes what that one had to offer and builds upon it. Overall, Demons 2 is a great sequel that deserves to be seen especially by fans of 80s horror. Check it out.

Special Features:

Two versions of the film: the full-length original cut in English and Italian, and the shorter U.S. version featuring alternate dubbing and sound effects
Uncompressed DTS-HD MA English & Italian 5.1/2.0 audio mixes on the original cut derived from the archival audio masters
Uncompressed DTS-HD MA English 2.0 U.S. theatrical mono audio newly remastered in 2021 by Synapse Films
New audio commentary by critics Kat Ellinger and Heather Drain, co-hosts of the Hell’s Belles podcast
Audio commentary with director Lamberto Bava, SPFX artist Sergio Stivaletti, composer Claudio Simonetti and actress Geretta Geretta
Produced by Dario Argento: a new visual essay by author and critic Michael Mackenzie exploring the legendary filmmaker’s career as a producer
Dario’s Demon Days: interview with writer/producer Dario Argento
Defining an Era in Music: interview with Claudio Simonetti
Dario and Demons: Producing Monster Mayhem
Splatter Stunt Rock: interview with Ottaviano Dell’Acqua
Original Italian and English international theatrical trailers
U.S. theatrical trailer
Newly translated optional English SDH subtitles for the English version
Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian version

Uncompressed DTS-HD MA English 5.1 & Italian 5.1/2.0 audio mixes derived from the original archival audio masters
Uncompressed DTS-HD MA English 2.0 true stereo theatrical mix remastered in 2021 by Synapse Films
New audio commentary by film critic Travis Crawford
Creating Creature Carnage: interview with Sergio Stivaletti
The ‘Demons’ Generation: Roy Bava discusses a legacy in lacerations
Screaming for a Sequel: The Delirious Legacy of DEMONS 2 with Lamberto Bava
A Soundtrack for Splatter: interview with composer Simon Boswell
Together and Apart: a new visual essay on the space and technology in DEMONS and DEMONS 2 by author and critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
Original Italian and English theatrical trailers
Newly translated optional English SDH subtitles for the English version
Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian version

Written by Blacktooth

(Staff Writer) Lover of all things horror and metal. Also likes boobs and booze.

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