You may never truly be able to “smash everything” as Bobby Rhodes’s character Tony so vehemently demands, but watch 1985’s Demons and you’ll certainly want to smash somethin‘. This classic from director Lamberto Bava was one of the first flicks I watched when I was getting obsessed with Italian horror some 15 or so years ago, and it’s one worth owning and putting on an annual rotation to this day.
Demons is, from the opening seconds, what I would consider a pretty “rowdy” movie. That doesn’t mean there’s something going on in every single frame, but there’s always madness right around the corner. I mean, if this jam doesn’t get your blood pumping, you might wanna head to the ER.
Most of Demons takes place in a theater, where people throughout the city have gathered for an invite-only movie premiere. When a morose man in a silver phantom mask hands you a shiny ticket, you go to that showing! The movie in question gets through at least a reel before the shit hits the fan and everyone inside discovers they’re locked in… with DEMONS!
Highlights include some nasty demon FX, all the moronic cokehead punks who wind up fleeing from the cops right into the theater as the aforementioned shit hits, and everything Bobby Rhodes does. Lamberto Bava—son of genre legend Mario Bava—doesn’t get the same level of attention as his contemporaries, but he scared up a few grimy good’uns as director. His résumé as assistant director prior to that is even more impressive, but for my money Demons is his masterpiece.
If you want to see Demons in all its glory, pick up the Blu-ray Synapse Films put out. It has virtually nothing in the way of extras, but the high-def transfer from the original vault materials and Synapse’s new color correction mean it looks better than ever. Thankfully, this version also has the same bitchin’ soundtrack—which includes the likes of Billy Idol, Scorpions, and Motley Crue—so CRANK. IT. UP.