BR: Demons 2 / Dèmoni 2… l’incubo ritorna (1986)

January 2, 2015 | By

 

Demons2_BRFilm: Good

Transfer:  Excellent

Extras: Standard

Label: Synapse Films

Region: A

Released:  November 11, 2014

Genre:  Horror / Supernatural

Synopsis: The demon from a movie breaks from a TV set and infects a birthday girl, transforming her into a plague doll who spawns and controls a mass of demons bent on restarting a new apocalypse.

Special Features:  Theatrical Trailer

 


 

Review:

If Demons (1985) could be viewed as a zombie riff in which normal citizens are overwhelmed by plague-like demons, transforming all of Europe into an apocalyptic world, then its sequel is part pastiche of other genres, goosed with a bit of Gremlins (1985) humour, and the plot nonsense of a 1990s Amityville TV movie.

Rather than pick up where the prior film had ended – lone survivor George rides with a gun-packing family towards safer territory after Berlin’s been smothered by demons into an apocalyptic Hell – Lamberto Bava and the same team of co-writers have the demons emerge not when a cursed object pricks a human in the real world, but when a TV demon come to life.

Inhabitants of a new apartment complex (shades of Poltergeist III) happen to have their TV sets turned to a horror movie in which dumb youths scale a wall and enter the locked-off wasteland where the demons presumably ate everything in sight, and eventually withered away into desiccated corpses among ruined streets and buildings.

When a skin-prick oozes a droplet of blood into the maw of a dead demon, it soon regains its fervour, infects the group and restarts the apocalypse, but unlike the possessed characters of the film-within-a-film of Demons, the lead demon in the sequel is alive, and perhaps unlike other airings of the film, this one happens to make it more proactive, pushing through the TV screen like Deborah Harry in David Cronenberg’s Videodrome (1983) and emerging in a whiny party hostess’ bedroom.

Not only does poor Sally (Opera’s Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni) she become the lead demon, she also infects enough guests to send demons into every floor, transforming a child into a munching monster, infecting a dog, and then members of the in-house fitness club who scurry into the basement parking garage where major trauma is inflicted upon various vintages of BMW automobiles.

Naturally there’s a pregnant mother, Hannah (Nancy Brilli), and naturally the hero must escape along emergency staircases, elevator shafts, air shafts, and eventually take his beloved from the roof using a fire hose in the film’s last and most overt Die Hard (1988) riff before Bava scales down the tension and has Hannah give birth to what we hope isn’t an invulnerable demon-human hybrid. Efforts to ‘open up’ the story once again has a group of youths travelling by car towards the complex, except it’s a cinematic non-sequitur: once they arrive, they all die, making all that cross-cutting irrelevant, except perhaps to sell the songs that appeared on the official soundtrack album.

The garage fight is inarguably the film’s highlight – it’s beautifully cut, filled with action and a special attention towards suffering (Asia Argento, in her film debut, plays a daughter who watches the demon mob tear into her poppa), and has Demons actor Bobby Rhodes recast as the gym instructor who leads the group to attempt various defensive measures when they quickly realize (as in Die Hard) the garage doors won’t open, and they’re trapped in the bowels of the building as demons keep piling up behind the fire doors.

Also recast in more of a cameo is snarly-faced Lino Salemme, the lead punk in Demons now refaced as the building’s doomed security guard, and Bava himself appears as Sally’s dad, out celebrating with friends, and unaware his daughter has infected the entire building with her demon fangs and drool.

Boasting a steady amount of demons, effects, and sequences, Demons 2 is a lesser work, but its nuttiness and action scenes transcend the script’s idiocies, and perhaps what’s really missing is a variation on Simonetti’s “Demons” theme; Simon Boswell sticks with more threadbare electronic material, lacking the tongue-in-cheek quality and energy which made Simonetti’s score such a gem.

On the other hand, this is one seriously eighties film: the aerodynamic hairstyles, triangular clothes, geometric lamps and poster designs, and colours which, strangely, have aged better than expected due to the production designer’s use of more muted and off-white colours than garish primaries.

Like Demons, Synapse has issued bare bones Blu-ray and DVD  editions, and a BR + DVD steelbook edition (limited to 3000 copies) loaded with extras, and priced at $19.95, $24.95, and $45.95 respectively. The extra $20 for Demons 2 steelbook includes featurettes and other swag, but unlike Demons, there’s no commentary. Arrow Films’ U.K. edition comes with different extras, and is similarly priced for the collector market.

Transfer-wise, Synapse’s affordable edition sports a really nice transfer with fine details and colours. (There’s a note about specific film grain issues related to the film’s stock, but the movie looks perfectly fine.) The stereo mix is cleaner than Demons, and none of the source songs have distortion. That said, it’s a less robust Dolby mix, and Boswell’s music lacks the rhythmic pulses and bass which gave Demons more aural oomph.

 

 

© 2014 Mark R. Hasan

 


 

External References:
Editor’s BlogIMDB  —  Soundtrack Album — Composer Filmography
 
Vendor Search Links:
Amazon.ca —  Amazon.com —  Amazon.co.uk

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Category: Blu-ray / DVD Film Review

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