Demons 2 (Dèmoni 2) (1986)

demons1Playing October 29th in a double screening with “Demons,” at the Anthology Film Archives, NYC [Tel: (212) 505-5181]. “Demons 2” star Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni is set to appear and present both films. Check theater times and ticket prices here.

Lamberto Bava and Dario Argento bring us quite an interesting universe where all elements of their narrative and concept tend to transcend reality and common sense and the realities kind of intercept one another. In either case, “Demons 2” much like the original, is a film where you basically buckle up and take the ride without picking apart too much of the ideas. When dissected nothing makes much sense, but it’s at least a fun tour through some genuinely fun shocks and creative moments of horror cinema. Unlike the first film, “Demons 2” lacks the novelty of the movie theater setting. Wherein the original had demonic forces infiltrating a safe haven for movie lovers, director Bava and producer-writer Dario Argento confine their victims to a locked down apartment complex.

True we’ve seen this kind of movie before, but “Demons 2” succeeds in being genuinely entertaining, and occasionally creepy despite some moments of sheer absurdity. There’s even a demonic creature that terrorizes on of the female characters that’s so obviously a puppet, that it kind of ruins the horrific momentum of the movie, altogether. “Demons 2” is set in a high security apartment building that’s locked down from the outside. And yes, on the inside. Upon watching “Demons 2,” it’s pretty confusing and jarring to see that the original film was a movie, and that it resolves as a movie on television within this sequel. The medium upon which the demons are transferred in to this reality is, ironically, through the original “Demons,” and before long a birthday party transforms in to a virtual blood bath.

I applaud Bava and Argento for wanting to expand the mythology, but some concepts that should work, just fall flat. For one there’s the small demon, and the demonic dog, as well as the climax which just feels kind of tacked on, over all. While “Demons 2” has its flaws and some stifled performances here and there, I like the concept that these are just characters within various universes experiencing their own realities being destroyed by rabid, murderous demons prone to corrupting everyone they know and love. The movie makes the intimation in the climax that the media itself is something of a portal. When the final two characters that survive find themselves stuck in an empty television studio, they inexplicably find cameras and television monitors. There’s also the creepy final stand off with the demonic woman who is about to cross over once again through a screen.

Maybe the first and second films aren’t reality as much as “reality” until they finally get to ours. It’s never explained, but it’s a unique concept set to a generally chaotic and gory horror film. Not everyone loves “Demons 2” but I enjoy it as a companion to the first film. It has some great ideas, fun carnage, excellent make up, and some brutally intense moments, one of which is set in a parking garage. It’s too bad we never officially had a third “Demons” movie since Lamberto Bava and Dario Argento could have taken this premise to new more surreal dimensions.