Demons I & II: Special Limited Edition [Blu-ray]

Regarded by many horror fans as one of the greatest horror movies of the eighties, and one of the greatest Italian splatterfests, “Demons” has carved a larger than life reputation in horror cinema, even in spite of its messy sequel line up. Lamberto Bava’s “Demons” is the essence of punk rock horror, a movie so unabashedly chaotic, violent, and gruesome, but one also packing a sense of mysticism. Its sequel is a pretty awesome follow up that repeats the original’s formula, but brings it in to a new arena where humans are hopelessly trapped.

In 1985’s “Demons,” a young girl is given a golden ticket by a mysterious masked man to the Metropol theater for a screening of top secret horror movie. While there with friends, one of the attendees plays with a prop from the movie that happens to be cursed. Within almost an instant the packed theater is awash in chaos and carnage as a horde of rabid, cunning demons are unleashed, terrorizing and infecting the patrons, all of whom fight hoping to survive, and escape the death trap. As the hours draw on, though, situation becomes increasingly perilous. “Demons” is a genuinely great horror film; it’s briskly paced and brilliantly composed, filled with instances of pure terror and some truly iconic moments in horror cinema. The soundtrack is also fantastic.

1986’s “Demons II” takes place in a high security high rise, where a family is preparing a large party in hopes of celebrating their daughter Sally’s birthday. When a demon is mysteriously conjured from her television and infects her, she unleashes a flurry of demons that tear through and infect the apartment denizens. Now locked in their home, survivors scatter looking for a way to escape the hordes of demonic beasts. While not quite as good as “Demons,” the follow up is a damn fine second chapter to the end. There’s no real explanation for why it’s set in a different location, or what connection it holds to the first film, but the fact it’s so inexplicable in its existence in what tends to make it so attractive and entertaining.

It’s hard to find a one two horror movie punch better than Lamberto Bava’s riotous splatterfests; they’re worth re-visiting, especially with the treatment given to them by Synapse Films.

The new 6000 PIECE LIMITED EDITION comes on Blu-Ray and 4K UHD: The New 4K restorations of both Demons and Demons 2 comes from the original 35mm camera negatives, in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible). Included within the packaging is a Limited edition Card/Slipcover packaging, new artwork by Juan José Saldarriaga and Chris MacGibbon, reproductions of the original movie ticket from Demons, a special Demons 2 birthday party invitation, and a fold-out poster of Demons artwork from Wes Benscoter.

Disc One Includes two versions of the original film: the full-length original cut in English and Italian, and the shorter U.S. version featuring alternate dubbing and sound effects. The original film features Newly translated optional English SDH subtitles for the English version, and Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian version.

As for bells and whistles, there’s a new audio commentary by critics Kat Ellinger and Heather Drain, co-hosts of the Hell’s Belles podcast, audio commentary with director Lamberto Bava, SPFX artist Sergio Stivaletti, composer Claudio Simonetti and actress Geretta Geretta. Produced by Dario Argento is a new visual essay by author and critic Michael Mackenzie exploring the legendary filmmaker’s career as a producer, Dario’s Demon Days is an interview with writer/producer Dario Argento, while Defining an Era in Music is an interview with Claudio Simonetti.

Splatter Spaghetti Style is an interview with long-time Argento collaborator Luigi Cozzi with the chapters Carnage at the Cinema: Lamberto Bava and His Splatter Masterpiece, Dario and Demons: Producing Monster Mayhem, Monstrous Memories: Luigi Cozzi on Demons, and Profondo Jones: The Critical Perspective. Splatter Stunt Rock is an interview with Ottaviano Dell’Acqua, while we’re given the full Stivaletti Q & A at the 2019 UK ‘Festival of Fantastic Films.’ Finally there’s the original Italian and English International Theatrical Trailers, and the US Theatrical Trailer.

For Disc 2, “Demons 2” features Uncompressed DTS-HD MA English 5.1 & Italian 5.1/2.0 audio mixes derived from the original archival audio masters, and Uncompressed DTS-HD MA English 2.0 true stereo theatrical mix remastered in 2021 by Synapse Films. As well there’s Newly translated optional English SDH subtitles for the English version, and Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian version.

As for the bells and whistles, there’s new audio commentary by film critic Travis Crawford, Bava to Bava, an interview with Luigi Cozzi on the history of Italian horror, Creating Creature Carnage, an interview with Sergio Stivaletti, and Demonic Influences: Federico Zampaglione Speaks. Next there’s The ‘Demons’ Generation with Roy Bava who discusses a legacy in lacerations, The New Blood of Italian Horror featuring Sergio Stivaletti, Screaming for a Sequel: The Delirious Legacy of DEMONS 2 with Lamberto Bava, A Soundtrack for Splatter, an interview with composer Simon Boswell. Together and Apart is a new visual essay on the space and technology in DEMONS and DEMONS 2 by author and critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. Finally there’s the original Italian and English theatrical trailers.