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Demons (1985)

'Demons' (also know as 'Dèmoni') is my first entry into the beloved world of Italian director Dario Argento and the vast world of Italian horror. Although not taking the director chair here and only being credited with a producers role, I am lead to believe that he had more of a heavy influence upon on 'Demons' than given credit for and was a big driving force behind the entire production.

The plot revolves around a group of people mysteriously invited to a screening of a horror movie in a freshly renovated movie theatre. As the events of the film play out on screen, things take a sinister turn for the unsuspecting audience members. I found this to be a rather unique premise that held my interest much more than I anticipated it doing when I read the brief synopsis before going in. 'Demons' introduces clever plot exposition by having the events that unfold in the movie they are watching become the events of situation the audience members have found themselves in. This eliminates the usual need for any long drawn out character interactions to set up the story.

When it comes to watching foreign movies, I tend to find it difficult to really judge the cast and their performances. Whether it be subtitled or dubbed in English audio, I don't feel it gives a true depiction of the actors capabilities, due to the language barrier. The overly eccentric American dubbing used in 'Demons' is a prime example of that. The terrible voice actors here certainly have a negative effect on the what seems to be a rather talented Italian cast. This never really hindered my experience with the movie, it was just something upon reflection that I felt damaged the overall authenticity of the casts performances.

The makeup and practical effects are outstanding. They have an amateur charm about them not dissimilar to the original 'Evil Dead', combining latex prosthetics and stop motion animation beautifully. This practical style and overall general standard of 'Demons' cements it firmly in the B-movie horror category, whether that was intentional or not. There are a few transformation scenes earlier on in the movie that look truly fantastic. I think the decision to have these scenes play out in quick succession early on helped keep intrigue as to what would follow such a creative display of effects. It's safe to say it certainly didn't disapoint from then on.

The soundtrack to this is outstanding. It is wall to wall metal centric and features artists such as Billy Idol, Mötley Crüe, Scorpions, Saxon and Go West. Every single song of theirs that is used accompanies the constant eractic scene changes perfectly. I was genuinely impressed with the collection of music that accompanied 'Demons'. The soundtrack and score is collected and composed by artist Claudio Simonetti, who is more famously known as the keyboardist for the progressive Italian rock band Goblin. Goblin are frequent collaborators of Argento, creating some of the more notable scores across the Giallo subgenre. The work Simonetti produced here is no different, containing some of the best guitar driven scores I've heard alongside any movie in horror.

I love the ending to 'Demons'. Perfectly teeing up a sequel on a much bigger scale and at the same time still managing to wrap up all sub plots that are developed here in a nice neat bow. I think if I wasn't already aware that there was a sequel to follow this film I would have probably had a different feelings towards its conclusion. Overall, 'Demons' feels like a movie very much catered to my taste within this genre, it's by no means perfect but it is certainly an entertaining ride from start to finish.



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