Sunday, March 22, 2009

Demons (1985)

Filled with slimy, bloody, flesh-ripping, gratuitous gore, and over-the-top acting, Demons may just be the most entertaining movie I've ever seen. Although, when it finished, I felt like I had missed some things, so perhaps you can fill in the gaps for me. But regardless of the missing pieces, I'm marking this one down as my favorite 80's horror movie, bar none. I knew I was in for a real treat when I saw bands like Pretty Maids, Mötley Crüe, and Accept on the soundtrack!

Okay, like I said, I feel like I missed some things. I mean, I didn't fall asleep or anything, but for me there are four distinct loose ends. The first concerns the guy with the chrome Phantom of the Opera mask who appears in a reflection on the subway train, then in person to hand out tickets, then in a reflection at the movie theater, and finally on the roof at the end. Who is this guy? He never says anything that I can recall, though he does utter a sinister chuckle or two at the end, just before he is killed. What, specifically, does he have to do with anything that happened?

Similarly, my second question concerns the girl who works at the theater. When we first see her, she is suiting up in a green outfit that makes her look like one of Santa's helpers. I could be wrong, but the movie seemed to be alluding to something with all of the mischievous looks she gives. I expected her involvement with the demonic activity to be revealed at some point (was she in cahoots with Phantom of the Opera Guy?), but she ends up just running around clueless like everyone else until seized by a demon.

The third question I have concerns the movie played at the screening in correlation to the movie theater itself, The Metropol. I couldn't help but wonder if The Metropol was built around the church/graveyard featured in the screening, or something. Is the history of the church/graveyard ever explored further in any of the Demons sequels?

The fourth, and final, question about the movie concerns the scene where our last surviving hero and heroine are trapped in the theater, surrounded by demons and looking for a way out. Suddenly, we hear noises from above, and just as our heroine acknowledges the noises, a helicopter miraculously falls through the ceiling. I can just imagine the writer sitting there with a cup of coffee, tapping his notepad with the end of a pencil, trying to figure out how to get the survivors out of the building: Well, I've already shown that the demonic forces are keeping the doors barricaded, and it's a movie theater, so there aren't any windows. Hmmmm...oh! I've got it! A helicopter falls through the ceiling! Did I miss something, or is this the most random part of the movie?

Other than the helicopter scene, which blew my mind, my absolute favorite moment was when the hero somehow manages to drive a dirt bike over the tops of movie theater seats, slaying demons with a samurai sword, all to the pounding rhythm of Accept's Fast As a Shark (I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure it was Fast As a Shark)! This is priceless cinematography folks.

Demons defines a must-see horror flick. I can hardly wait for the arrival of Demons 2 and all of the movies that aim to be Demons 3: The Church, Black Demons, and Demons 3: The Ogre. Hopefully I'll get more exposition; if not, I'll check out the director commentary on each disc.

Review Soundtrack
Achilles - "The Dark Horse"
Behold... The Arctopus - "Canada"
The Red Chord - "Antman"

[ About Horror Dose ]
[ FAQ ]


  1. Glad you enjoyed this one. Demons 2 has a lot going for it, but the later entries are disappointing. As far as the best horror movie of the '80s, reserve judgment until you have seen both Re-animator and Night of the Creeps. Cheers!

  2. Hm. Maybe I need to rewatch this - I saw it a few years back, and remember it being so cheap and schlocky I had to turn it off. But after your glowing review (and huge statement: best horror of the 80s??? Man - a movie must be fucking outstanding to rival that decade of pure horror pleasures).

    Consider it on my "to re-watch" list.

  3. Glad you liked Demons and very happy to see you are expanding into Italian horror, that was a huge turning point in my horror fandom! The Church is awesome in its own respect, but is an entirely different approach to the demons theme. Demons 2 is the only true sequel, but I hate to say you wont be finding the answers you are looking for. The Italians are racist against answers. Films like City of the Living Dead and The Beyond will only serve to confuse and mystify even further, but I highly recommend them. The Church is the only good film of the three mislabeled Demons sequels, Michele Soavi is one of my favorite Italian directors so once you see The Church be SURE to pick up Cemetery Man, his masterwork. Black Demons is terrible, but damned if the repeated eye gouging isnt awesome lol.. Now get out there and rent more Italian movies!!

  4. Bo: I'm seeing Re-animator on a lot of "Best 80's Horror Movies" lists. Plus, it's based on a Lovecraft tale--I'm obsessed with Lovecraft's writing. Thanks for the tip! It's in the queue.

    Gore-Gore Girl: A bold statement, indeed! Despite my having seen movies such as The Thing, The Shining, the Halloweens, the Nightmare on Elm Streets, the Friday the 13ths, and so on, I'm still marking Demons as my favorite 80's movie, and for very different reasons than "it scared me," or "the cinematography is unsurpassed." Demons is cheesy, bloody, and completely random, as you can see from my review, but I loved every minute of it. Be aware, however, that I am always looking to replace my favorite with something better. Any suggestions?

    Dragonmanes: About the exposition I was looking for: Oh, well. I'm looking forward to finishing up all the "Demons" movies and then knocking out some good giallos; Deep Red, Opera, Inferno, et cetera. Cemetery Man has been added to the queue!