When I first watched Demons I was so surprised, I had this idea in my head of what kind of film it was going to be and it was nothing like what I ended up watching. To my shame, I tend to stay away from Italian horror because so much of the stuff I have seen, though a technical marvel, is just Not For Me. However, I always heard SUCH good things about Demons, like the hype around it wasn't what you normally hear when fans are talking about Italian horror, so I thought I would give it a whirl and boy, was there egg on my face by the end because it absolutely shot into my favourite horror films of all time. I've been dying on seeing it again since my first watch so Halloween seemed like a perfect time to bring this baby back out!
Is there ever a more perfect setting for a horror film than in a cinema where the audience are watching a horror film on screen? It's so meta and has been replicated in some of the sharpest modern horror films (Scream!). I don't know about you, but a dark cinema screen is my safe place and seeing that being ripped literally apart is totally enthralling, if not a little heartbreaking!
Demons harks back to a different era, when you could light up in a cinema screen and all the seats were made of wood and dusty red velvet. When going to the cinema was still top of to-do lists, no matter what was billed. There is a great nostalgic feel to this film that is pushed along by the extremely 80s soundtrack of heavy synths and grinding heavy metal. Even Billy Idol!
You could definitely describe Demons as a slow burner, as you watch the horror within a horror and are introduced to every character individually. Once the action gets going it does not let up until the final second, as fast paced as the soundtrack and twice as meaty. The film is totally self aware, as the film onscreen plays out my preconceptions of Italian genre films and then the actual film itself subverts them. It's a multilayered masterpiece disguised as a schlocky, haphazard B-Movie.
The fact that this film deals in DEMONS and not zombies is a nice touch too, Italians are kind of zombie masters, so the whole demons thing seems like a very purposeful choice. I've definitely mentioned before how I am no fan of zombies but for some reason I am always here for a good demonic film, maybe it's the occult element that draws me in? Let's face it, zombies and demons are essentially the same thing, but demons have an appetite for destruction, zombies just eat to survive.
Remember when I said no film with green slime in it could ever be bad? Well this film has green slime by the bucket load. The vat full. This film BATHES in green slime and is awash with neon red lighting and deep blood red decor. It's a strange and distinctive colour pallette that gives this film a unique look, though I must admit I am much more of a fan of Demons 2's steely greys, blues and neon purples.(because I am nothing except predictable).
I'll be talking about Demons 2 in the coming weeks, but in the meantime check out Demons if you love uh, Night of the Demons or Ava's Possession or anything a bit gruesome because you will NOT be disappointed!