Dario Argento produced and co-wrote this hyper-kinetic twist on the "evil dead" genre, in which a group of strangers are invited to a free screening of a mysterious movie at an equally mysterious movie theater called Metropolis. Once the movie begins, the onsrceen horror becomes real life for the audience as one by one they fall victim to, and subsequently become, demons!
As silly as this all sounds, Demons (aka: Demoni) is a terrifically entertaining monster movie that eschews the cerebral elements of most Argento films and places Lamberto (son of Mario) Bava at the helm to guide us through the action. Bava shows that he learned a thing or two from working with the maestro Mario, and gives Demons a very lush and vibrant atmosphere that belies the film's very low-budget. The make-up effects are not only convincing, but a few gave me the heebie-jeebies, which is a rare feat considering it takes a LOT to get me jumping!This being an Italian horror film, of course, means loads of gore, but Bava doesn'tdwell on it like many of his contemporaries. Instead, he gives us quick cut kills that are effective, scary, and brutal, and keeps the action rolling along at a very fast pace.
Demons main fault is also one of it's strongest virtues in that it makes no sense at all, yet offers no apologies for it either. For example, it seems to take some injured people the length of the film to get all "demony", while others change at the drop of a hat. There's also a bizarre metal faced dude who hands out the invitations to the movie at the beginning, disappears, and then resurfaces as though he were a major plot-point, but, alas, his presence is never explained, but, then again, neither is the reason people turn into demons in the first place. And you know what? Who gives a shit? It's just a damn fun zombie pizza, and Bava and Argento deliver it with EXTRA cheese!
Anchor Bay released this one as a part of the "Dario Argento Collection" which is apparently a masthead for anything for which he is involved with, be it as producer,writer, director, or if he was parked in the same lot as the caterers. It is available as a stand-alone disc, or as Volume 2 of the two-pack editions packaged along with the abysmal Demons 2 , but both versions have the same extras. We get a nice commentary by Lamberto Bava, Special Make-up Creations Artist Sergio Stivaletti and Journalist Loris Curci in which the three seem to have a blast revisiting the project while Curci waxes philosophical about the film's subtext ( which is funny in and of itself), as well as a short behind the scenes bit that could have been a little more informative, but the fact it exists at all is pretty keen.
Throw in the usual suspects, like trailers and cast and crew bios, and ya got yer' self one slam-bang euro-action shocker that kicks the crap out of any evil dead movie that doesn't involve Bruce Campbell!