Grimm up North – Demons Double Bill
For the latest Grimm up North event Tom attended the Demons double bill, was it as terrifying as the title might suggest? Read on to find out…
Having never seen Demons or Demons 2 I was pretty psyched to see both of the films in a location which is very similar to the setting of Lamberto Bava’s first instalment of the series. I settled down in to my theatre seat accompanied by a bustling crowd of horror fans who had taken advantage of the drinks at the bar to make sure they were in the right frame of mind to enjoy these two cult classics, and I was eagerly anticipating copious amounts of gore and loud music. I was not disappointed.
One of the first meta-horror films to be made, Demons takes place in a mysterious theatre where all hell breaks loose when the cinema becomes over-run with vicious creatures intent on killing everyone they come across. Before this carnage takes place the motley crew of characters that have assembled in the strange theatre are watching a screening of a very similar horror film and the events they witness on screen soon spill over into real life.
Full of loud music, occasional nudity and lots of gore, Demons is one hell of a fun film even though it is almost impossible to take seriously. The idea behind the story is a very clever plot device and part of me does think that it’s a shame that it was not followed up with a more serious script as it could have been made into a terrifying film. Despite this, it is still highly engrossing and amusing, with various one-liner’s greeted with howls of laughter from the audience as their favourite characters proceed to fight off the demons in a comical style that works well with Bava’s over the top approach to the film.
A key scene involving a helicopter was my personal highlight of Demons, with Bava showing know restraint in his madness when creating this slice of cult horror that combines incredible visual effects with elements of humour that aid comparisons to films such as The Evil Dead and Return of the Living Dead. Although it is not as impressive as either of these horrors, it will definitely appeal to people who enjoyed them, and the impressive Blu-Ray transfer deserves to be seen by a wider audience.
Demons is an essential film for a horror fan, it combines all the successful ingredients needed to deliver a far-fetched but incredibly entertaining picture, and as soon as the Demons are unleashed it does not let up until the credits are over. Don’t expect to be scared, but expect to be grinning from ear to ear at the insanity that Bava somehow managed to commit to celluloid.
Sequels don’t come more ludicrously over the top than Demons 2, with a handful of memorable characters from the original reappearing in completely different roles much to the amusement of myself and the audience. The story retreads most of the original although this time the events take place in a high-rise tower block and the Demons enter our world through a tv programme in such a way that directly references the infamous scene in Videodrome.
Although the story and the script verges on the ridiculous far too often it is clear that the director was aiming to entertain with laughs rather than scares. There are a number of scenes that appeared to have influenced modern day horrors such as REC and La Horde, with fantastic sequences in a stairwell and carpark respectively, and these showcase that Bava did have a great creative ability as a director but his approach to both films wasted the potential of what could have been terrifying moments.
I would argue that the special effects in Demons 2 surpass those in the first film apart from a rubber monster that would struggle to scare a five year old. I was dumbstruck to see such a ridiculous creation on screen but was soon swept away in the derisive laughter that followed its appearance, the Bava fans clearly relishing the ridiculousness of the situation.
It is difficult to compare the two films in terms of which one is better due to the similarities between them but I definitely had more fun watching the sequel even if this was due to the groundwork Bava laid in his first film. I would definitely recommend watching the films in succession as the change of a certain character into a Gym instructor for the sequel is up there as one of the best transitions I have ever seen and without the fantastic performances of Bobby Rhodes, both films would be far less enjoyable. Still, grab a couple of beers and gather your friends round for Demons and Demons 2 and you will be in for a very fun ride.
The next Grimm up North Event will be a supernatural double bill featuring previews of Grave Encounters and Seance which takes place on Friday 13th April at the Anthony Burgess Foundation. Tickets and more information about the evening can be found here
About The Author – Tom Bielby
Long time film fan and aspiring film writer, Tom is a horror fanatic who wasted far too much time at University sitting through every film in the IMDB Top 250. He is partial to foreign films and cult cinema and would love to rid the world of people who rustle their popcorn during important scenes. He can be found on Twitter under the alias @filmbantha
Have you seen any of Bava’s demented horror films? Let us know your thoughts below.