‘Deh-monz’ – Demons (1985) + Demons 2 (1986) come to Blu

January 2, 2015 | By

Demons_pic2Happy New Year! Hope the swing-over to 2015 was smooth, and put everyone into a positive mindset.

The voice is back to normal, so expect the first podcast to be live this coming Monday, with a few changes to the format. In the meantime, here are reviews of Synapse’s Demons (1985) and Demons 2 (1986) Blu-rays, featuring very nice HD transfers of Lamberto Bava’s classic demon (zombie) diptych in which the world is overrun by ravenous demons (zombies) bent on conquering humanity and turning modern civilization into a wasteland (as in zombie movies).

Synapse has given the films a different release strategy: movie-only editions in separate DVD and Blu-ray editions, and loaded steelbooks limited to 3000 copies with special features on BR and DVD. The kicker? The steelbooks are an extra $20 more than the bare bones BRs, which might have some fans feeling a little left out.

The two-tiered release strategy may be the result of licensing of the HD transfers from the Italian source, but as far back as October of 2013, Synapse’s Don May posted:

It was a long process, and, outside of my original work on NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, DEMONS and DEMONS 2 were the most expensive undertakings of my career so far. I am extremely proud of the work done, and am grateful for everyone involved (and dealing with my sudden bouts of impatience and screaming sessions to make these the best releases I could).

I guess the parallel to Synapse’s release strategy is Criterion’s Essential Art House  series, which offered rare classics like The Life & Death of Colonel Blimp in bare bones EAH DVDs and on loaded special editions with a sometimes substantive price gap. Criterion eventually dropped the line when Blu-ray became they’re focus, and was soon occupied in figuring out whether people wanted just DVD, just Blu-ray, or combo sets; the EAH line just became obsolete.

One could argue that while Criterion’s consumer base may be willing to drop $35+ on a single title, this is something new to Synapse, and Demons may be an experiment to see both how financially viable the tiered releases are in the end, and whether it was able to meet the needs of the films’ basic fan, and the hardcore fan.

I’m still not a fan of multiple formats-multiple editions – I think if you go to the trouble of making a special edition in the first place, that should be the lone, definitive edition until the next reissue years later by yourself, or another label.

It also pushes a title deeper into that realm where it’s a limited collectible object than a movie; something to be enjoyed by a select few rather than many over a longer time span. Either way, it’ll be interesting to see if the Demons strategy will be duplicated for a forthcoming title, or it’s an occasional thing.

Note: at the time of writing, I didn’t have access to the prior Anchor Bay DVDs which reportedly contain special features, including audio commentaries. The reviews of Demons and Demons 2 will be amended when I’ve gotten my grubby paws on those discs.

Coming this weekend: reviews of the many Twilight Time films I watched while sick with the flu, which might yield coherent thoughts, or tangents about giant blue eggplant creatures and tiny blinking orange lights.




Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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