Non Canon Review: Demons (1985)

JANUARY 13, 2008


I like that I have now gone to see revival screenings of Demons twice at the same theater, and both times I have slept through more or less the exact same parts. In fact, along with falling asleep watching it at home about two years ago, it's been so long since I've seen the whole thing that I can no longer remember how the 4 cokehead characters die. I miss it every single time.

That is not a blight on the film though. Midnight = BC goes to sleep. I actually saw more of it than I expected this time, since I was pretty close to nodding off before the damn thing even started. Being the New Beverly, the film was almost an hour late starting. In fact, they are currently remodeling the theater, and my friend commented "Maybe they will buy a new clock." Since I was half asleep and a tad buzzed, this was the funniest thing I've ever heard.

Anyway, like I was saying, it's not that I don't like the movie. Quite the contrary, it is one of my favorite Italian horror movies. Seeing it in a theater only adds to the fun. The character of Tony (aka the black pimp dude) is one of the most delightful assholes ever put into a film. There's a scene where he's just yelling at everyone to stop being lazy, and it looks like he's about to have a heart attack. The fact that he's not really doing anything makes it breathtaking. And then he gets eaten (though this doesn't stop him from being in Demons 2 as a guy with a different name but who is otherwise the exact same guy). My other favorite character is the middle aged guy who's such a cheapskate that he takes his wife to a free movie screening for their anniversary. I'm sure I'll eventually do the same goddamn thing, but I doubt I'll randomly yell out "WHORES! You can tell them a mile away!" during the evening.

Of course, one of the most baffling moments in cinematic history occurs in this film, when a helicopter suddenly falls through the ceiling of the theater, allowing our heroes to escape. There's Deus Ex Machinas, and then there's this helicopter, somewhere above it. On the commentary track, someone asks Lamberto Bava what is going on, and he's like "I don't know". Hahahaha, oh man. Love.

I also like that the movie features the first (and, as far as you know, last) villainous free movie pass guy in a film. Anyone familiar with these folks (in LA you see them more often than you see your own friends) can appreciate the notion that any one of them are one "no thanks!" away from going apeshit and trying to kill you on a roof while wearing a Phantom of the Opera mask.

You may have noticed that I have labeled this movie a zombie film. What else would you call it? The "demons" become that way when they are bitten by another demon, and they gather in groups and attack folks in a gory fashion. That's a zombie movie, as far as Horror Movie A Day genre labeling is concerned.

The fact that I don't own this (or the sequel, which I like almost as much) on DVD sort of upsets me. I need to fix that. But if you have never seen it, I strongly urge you to do so as soon as possible, and if you ever get the chance to see it in a theater, then there should be no reason for you not to attend. It's not often you find yourself in a theater watching a movie about people going to see a movie, and even less often you see that movie with some terrible dubbing and a strangely American soundtrack.

What say you?


  1. Nice to see that you like the sequel too. I'm always baffled when people say they love the first but can't stand the the original was some monumental cinematic achievement or something.

    The commentary for the second one is funny too. When the baby demon is onscreen, Lamberto says that he shot it a particular way so that it wouldn't look silly.

    Bobby Rhodes (Tony) is incredible in both movies. The redhead usher can be seen as a small child in Who Saw Her Die.

    I want to watch this one again. I would love to see it on the big screen.

  2. I'm so jealous. I need to get myself to a city with more midnight movies.

    Demons was my introduction to Italian horror and it always makes my heart a bit gushy. Although I'm still a little bummed that The Church didn't get into the series. It probably didn't need any help though. It stood beautifully on its own.

    The sequel is also a pleasant spectacle.

  3. i just love the pimp, and how he's always yelling, "ROSEMARY!!!!!"

  4. This film taught me that throwing a shitload of chairs in front of potential predators isn't exactly the most efficient survival method.

    P.S. You have to love a theater with a dirt bike in the lobby.


Movie & TV Show Preview Widget