11/13/2016

DEMONS (1985) (Synapse Films Blu-ray Review)

Title: Demons
Director: Lamberto Bava 
Writer: Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava, Dardano Saccehti, Franco Ferrini
Cast: Urbano Barberini, Natasha Hovey, Karl Zinny, Fiore Argento, Paola Cozzo, Fabiola Toledo  
Year: 1985
Min: 88


Blu-ray released by: Synapse Films 
Specs:  
Sound: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (Stereo)
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (Mono)
Image
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Plot- On the Berlin subway Cheryl (the lovely Natasha Hovey, below on the left) gets off her stop and is followed by a mysterious, and admit ably creepy masked man (Michele Soavi, who would go to direct some excellent Italian horror of his own). He does so to hand her tickets to a free screening at the Metropol, a newly opened movie theater. She goes to the movie with her pretty friend Kathy (Paola Cozzo). At their seats they are joined by too super preppy guys, who are attracted to both girls and flirt with them. They all sit down to watch the movie with the rest of the movie theater's audience, which include a bunch of different folk including a blind dude and his cheating wife and a pimp and two of his hookers. One of these said hookers, Rosemary (Geretta Geretta) earlier put on a demonic mask that was on display on a mannequin in the theater lobby. 
The movie soon starts, and it is an ultra-violent slasher flick. In this movie, a dude puts on a similar mask to one Rosemary cut herself with, earlier; and the movie character cuts himself, too. And, as he bleeds on camera, so does Rosemary in the theater. And, as he ends up becoming a demon in the movie, so does she. When the other hooker goes to check on her, she slashers her. Soon, others fall victim to this as they become demons themselves and turns others into demons, with the movie theater audience is trapped in the theater. There is no way out, and no way to stop the ever growing demon horde.
Review- Demons is an 80s Italian, headbanging, classic gorefest. A full throttle, non-stop assault on the senses, it's one of the most fast paced, unrelenting horror movies ever made. It's a cult classic, and a true heavy metal horror masterpiece. I first saw it when I was a kid and fell in love it from the first viewing I had renting it. It has everything I could ask for then and now: nonstop action, graphic gore, gorgeous European women, and, of course, kick ass metal music. A couple of years later, I would buy it on VHS and watch it ad nauseam, eventually getting the Anchor Bay DVD (one of my earliest DVD purchases due to my love of the movie).

Admit ably the movie isn't perfect. The acting ranges from OK to pretty bad. The plot is pretty straightforward and not the most complex. However, it is in its simplicity that the movie truly succeeds. Once it starts (which really doesn't take that long), it NEVER stops and is always exciting and fun. Bava keeps the momentum up and, somehow, it never tires you out. In fact, you are always involved and entertained, a true adrenaline rush, of which many actual action movies could only dream of being.
Being a righteously unrated gorefest, the bloodletting is awesome and truly graphic. Among the acts of mayhem are: eye gouging, throat ripping, hangings, slashings, stabbings, slicings, impaling, pulsating and oozing transformations, and lots more blood and slime spilled, sprayed, and splattered. This all handled excellently by Sergio Stivaletti who does some truly spectacular practical FX work. Aside from the amazing splatter, the demons, themselves, look awesome and frightening.
They add to appealing look of the movie. Bava makes a great use of colors, with reds and shadows playing a big part in adding some visual flair and style to the proceedings. But, with him and Dario Argento producing (as well as them both being involved in script, along with others), how can this movie not look great?
 
Speaking of looking great, holy crap, is there ever a bevy of beauties in this movie! Aside from Hovey and Cozzo as the two female friends, who we mainly follow through the course of the flick, there are quite a few stunners in small roles. Among them is the absolutely gorgeous Nicoletta Elmi as Ingrid the usherette (above). With her long legs and long, fiery, red, wavy hair she ranks among the most beautiful women in Italian genre cinema. There is some skin thrown in, as well. Memorably giving some very nice boobage is Bettina Ciampolini as punk/ rocker chick Nina (below). I recall the first I saw this as a kid, I got, as Beavis would say, a stiffee!
The heavy metal and rock music is fucking killer. Let's not kid here, the metal music is a big part as to why this gore loving headbanger loved this movie so much. Kick ass songs from Motley Crue, Accept, Saxon, Billy Idol and more drive this movie to the motherfucking stratosphere. That is conjunction with the thumping and driving musical score by Claudio Simonetti. In all, it is one of the finest horror soundtracks ever!

Picture- Holy fuck, does this Blu-ray look great!! This is a stunning transfer from a movie that is over two decades old. The colors are rich and vibrant, with deep blacks and constant and excellent flesh-tones. It ranks among the best looking 80s horror titles ever!

Sound- You can watch it either in the original mono or stereo. Both sound great, but unless you are a purist, stereo is the way to go. The action scenes and the thrilling and rocking soundtrack will have your system thumping and pumping along. This disc sounds as amazing as it looks and vice versa.

Extras- This is a budget version of Demons. There is a limited edition steelbook version of it, also from Synapse Films, packed with extras. It runs at a much higher price (of course). Anyways, this version only comes with the rather cool trailer. If you are OK with not spending a lot and forfeiting the extras, then go for this. There has a been a recent price drop, making it an even cheaper disc to own, hence (part of) the reason for me reviewing it, now.

Final Thoughts- One of the finest Italian horror flicks, and one of the best 80s horror movies from anywhere in the world, Demons is an essential splatterfest. Sure it is kind of empty headed, but it is so much fun and action packed that any normal fan won't give a flying fuck. Further fuel injected by graphic gore and kick ass heavy metal music this fucker just plain rocks! With a flawless looking picture and killer sound the disc's specs are simply phenomenal. If you are OK with not spending the dough on the limited edition steelbox, and thus not having the special features, then this is the absolute and inarguable way to go.
Movie: 4.5 out of 5
Picture: 5
Sound: 5
Extras: 1

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