Derek Warren

CULT CORNER: ’80s Italian horror classic ‘Demons’ is a gory good time at the movies

CULT CORNER: ’80s Italian horror classic ‘Demons’ is a gory good time at the movies
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The surname Bava is synonymous with horror, but more in reference to Italian director Mario Bava. However, his son Lamberto Bava has proven that he also possesses a keen eye for horror. Lamberto has a few great horror films under his belt, such as “Macabre” and “A Blade in the Dark.” His talent truly shines, though, in what many call his masterpiece – “Demons.”

Under the wing of producer and legendary Italian horror director Dario Argento, Lamberto created the visually stunning “Demons.” Dario also had a hand in the writing process for the film and certainly had an influence on the direction, but it is most definitely a Lamberto Bava film.

Originally released in 1985 in Italy, it gained a cult reputation when released on VHS in the United States soon after. Over the years, the film has become a favorite of Italian horror lovers due to its gore, soundtrack, and overall fun feeling that many ‘80s films possessed.

“Demons” is set in a movie theater and takes a somewhat meta approach. While invited guests are being ushered into the theater, they must walk through a display of set pieces. When one of the guests tries on a mask, they are cut and the true horror begins as demons are unleashed upon the theatergoers, who are unable to escape.

The gore present throughout “Demons” will be standard fare for any Italian horror lover, but it may be a bit over the top for casual horror fans. While the movie may lack some in the scare category, it is still an engrossing and highly entertaining ride. It also utilizes the standard logic – or lack thereof – that Italian horror often has, but those familiar with the sub-genre will barely even notice.

The film also carried on the Italian custom of many sequels that have nothing to do with the original. While “Demons” did spawn a direct sequel with “Demons 2,” there were seven films released as “sequels” with varying quality. This has long been a tradition with many films that were popular in Italy, or Europe for that matter, only to cash in on the name.

Is it worth seeing? Fans of Italian cinema will absolutely want to see “Demons,” and there is no better version to watch than Synapse Films’ beautiful Blu-ray with plenty of great extras. The fun factor alone makes this a movie destined for repeat viewings.

While it is certainly an Italian horror film, it does seem to make attempts towards pleasing an American audience with its storyline, soundtrack, and action sequences. This does not detract for the film and actually makes for a fun ‘80s horror experience.

Each week, Cult Corner shines a light on strange and obscure cult films you’ve never heard of but need to see for yourself… with the lights off and the doors and windows locked.