Death and Contagion

There’s no danger!

-Joe

I’ve seen Lamberto Bava’s Demons (1985) a fair few times, but this year I decided to check out the 1986 sequel, the imaginatively titled Demons 2 for Day 20 of Fright Festival. Right off the bat, its as weird as the first one, albeit in an entirely different way.

It’s a sequel without being a sequel – the events of the first movie being part of a movie the characters in this film are watching. The demons erupt from the movie within a movie, slaughtering their way through an apartment building in an orgy of carnage. As far as the plot goes, that’s about it. As with its predecessor, there are a lot of unanswered questions, but the point of these movies isn’t the why but the what. It doesn’t matter why the demons are doing what they’re doing, or why they manifest as they do – all that matters is what they do when they arrive, i.e. kill people. Lots of people.

As with Demons, the sequel is a grim slice of nastiness. Once it gets started, there’s not a slow moment and the tension doesn’t let up. No one is safe, not cute dogs or children. Anyone can be possessed by the demons and turned into a drooling, mutilated monster. That anyone survives the film at all is a surprise. That sort of tension serves its purpose, though – it keeps you watching, if nothing else. The problem is, there’s no real story to it. It’s like an extended nightmare sequence – glowing eyed phantasms loping down smoky corridors towards you forever, their screams drowning out even the pounding of your own heart.

It’s a more impactful film than its predecessor, I think. It’s not that more is happening necessarily, but its the idea of the demons as a memetic pestilence – a contagion that can breach the barrier between fact and fiction, infecting the ‘real world’ as easily as it infected the world on the screen. It’s a powerful concept, though its not really explored to a satisfying extent. Then, as I said above, I don’t think that’s the point of the film. It’s not aiming for a satisfying experience – just a visceral one.

Nevertheless, of the two, I think I still prefer the first one, if only because I really like the instigating factor in that one – the mysterious silver mask that’s an artefact of some nameless esoteric cult. But that said, the scene where the first demon rips itself out of the television is hideously fantastic, and its worth watching the film just to see that bit.

I give it three bulgy eyed spittle-freaks out of five.