Sunday, 12 February 2012

Demons 2

Year:  1987
Director:  Lamberto Bava
Screenplay:  Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava and Franco Ferrini, from a story by Dardano Sacchetti
Starring:  David Edwin Knight, Nancy Brilli, Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni, Asia Argento
Running Time:  91 minutes
Genre:  Horror, supernatural, zombies

In the original Demons film, the audience at a preview screening of a horror movie are attacked by toothy monsters.  This time round, the events are set largely within the confines of a luxury high-rise apartment complex in an unnamed German city over the course of a single night.  As the residents prepare for their various evening activities, a horror movie plays on TV, apparently set in the aftermath of the original film, about a group of dim-witted teenagers investigating a walled off section of the city for remnants of "demons" (kind of zombie-like creatures), and accidentally reanimate one.  The reanimated creature then literally emerges from the TV set of spolit rich birthday girl Sally (Cataldi-Tassoni), and attacks her.  Of course anyone who is injured by a demon in any way, sooner or later becomes one themselves.  Sally turns all of her party guests into blood-crazed zombies, and they soon turn their attention to killing or infecting the rest of the building's population.

The film was co-written and produced by horror legend Dario Argento and features his then ten year old daughter, Asia Argento (who has since gone on to become an acclaimed actress and director), in her film debut.  The movie starts off well, but falls apart once the demons are really on the rampage, when it basically becomes a typical zombie monster mash full of increasingly shoddy special effects.  The film within a film provides an interesting dimension but it's not really explored, and becomes one of  a number of sub-plots which are raised only to be completely forgotten.  The acting is pretty dire (although this is an Italian film, and it is fairly obvious at least in the version that I saw, that most of the dialogue was dubbed - badly - into English) throughout and the film lacks any real conclusion, it is also full of plot holes large enough for you to throw a flesh eating zombie demon through.  Also the zombies with their green faces, bad teeth, long fingernails and wildly bulging, glowing eyes (who can not only run but turn somersaults) are more funny than anything, and when a more conventional demonic creature bursts out of someone's chest, it looks more like the puppet monster sidekick from a kid's TV show. 

However the film does have it's plus points.  There are plenty of creepy moments, when the characters are picking their way through the deserted, ruined apartments, and the opening, with it's slow character development is strong.  The soundtrack, which features mainly British New Wave bands such as The Smiths and The Cult, is good (although sometimes the pounding music coupled with the frequent billowing smoke and backlighting makes the film look like a music video).  Also the sequence where the demon initially emerges from the television set, which seems to be a homage to the David Cronenberg film Videodrome (1983), is very effective with some good special effects.  Speaking of David Cronenberg, the film with it's high-rise setting is reminiscent of Cronenberg's Shivers (1976).   

Full of unintentional humour and buckets of gloopy gore there is some fun to be had with this film, but there is plenty of better stuff out there.  It's probably best viewed late at night, when you've got your friends around, and you're all drunk and fancy a bad, gruesome movie to laugh at.

Revealed:  What TV show hosts look like without their make-up in Demons 2