JUNE 30, 2007
Next time I see my good friend Jeff, I am going to punch him right in his fucking cock. I was going to do that anyway, but now that I have seen Demons 2, at least I’ll have a justified reason.
Let me explain.
Unless you count the incoherent(er) American version of Phenomena (a.k.a. Creepers), Demons was the first Italian horror movie I ever saw, and I love it (it continues to be my favorite of the subgenre). When I inquired about the sequel, Jeff told me not to bother, that it was terrible. And like anyone would, I blindly accepted his opinion. But, as you know, I watch a Horror Mov- oh for Christ’s sake.
Anyway, after finally seeing it for myself, I know for sure he’s a damned fool. This movie is almost as good as the original. While we are given nothing as delightfully ridiculous as the helicopter scene from the original, it still holds true to the Italian horror credo: Lots of people with no skeletons, incoherent character decisions (after failing with a large pipe to break through a wall, a guy throws a plant at it?), a general lackadaisical approach to the way things actually work (people remove entire car seats with one hand), etc. But who cares? If I want to see a movie that makes total sense, I sure as hell wouldn’t watch one with the names Lamberto Bava or Dario Argento in the credits, let alone BOTH of them. If anything, we should be grateful that it’s possible to follow the movie at all.
Since the movie is basically a remake set in a different area (an apartment building instead of a movie theater), I think if you watch this one first you might end up liking it more. Once again, a movie about four kids investigating a spooky area comes to life and everyone turns into a demon. This time, the movie is on TV (and apparently everyone in the fucking place is watching it). Strangely, Bava occasionally cuts to the movie as if it were actually happening, without ever showing a character actually watching it. It's a bit disorienting, but then again so is Italy in general.
But I don't know what the hell Jeff's problem was. It accomplishes what every sequel should: there’s more carnage, a better pace, and most importantly, a total lack of Rick Springfield. However, it’s not perfect. For example, there’s some laziness in the makeup; at one point, a shirtless demon is seen with a green head but the rest of his body is still human colored. But I wouldn’t care if they didn’t bother with putting proper makeup on any of them if it meant more money put into the little gremlin-like demon that runs around an apartment for most of the film’s 3rd act. This thing is quite possibly the most beautiful creation in all animatronics/puppet makeup history. The scenes of it tearing through towels and such are likely the best things you’ll ever see on the day you watch Demons 2.
Likewise, the casting agent was also lazy, hiring Bobby Rhodes to play another character like the one he played in Demons (a “hero” who spends most of the time yelling at people while ordering them to do simple tasks – i.e. he’s amazing), but not the actual same character. He gets his groin ripped out this time though. And the credit creator was obviously phoning it in too, with the bizarre credit “And With” Virginia Bryant. Look, it’s WITH one guy who’s kind of famous and then AND another guy who’s more famous! You can’t combine them, especially when no one knows who the fuck Virginia Bryant is. But these are minor quibbles, and I am likely the only person in the world who gives a shit about that 2nd one.
As fun as the movie is, I advise you all to steer clear of the commentary track. In addition to hearing everything twice (in Italianish and then English), there are also long spells of silence. One scene in particular is quiet anyway, and the moderator suddenly says, after about 3-4 minutes where no one on the track or the film itself has said anything, goes “There isn’t any music in this scene.” Fuckin’ hypocrite! I should record a commentary on the commentary. However, it does reveal that Bava didn’t like the dude playing George, so there’s something. Hopefully a better one will be recorded for when the film is re-released on DVD (I believe the Anchor Bay version I rented, which isn’t even anamorphic, is now out of print).
UPDATE - In a remarkable coincidence, I just learned on Shock that AB has announced a re-release of the first two Demons films, due this September for the reasonable price of 15 bucks each. Yus!
What say you?