A.J.’s Big ’80s Horrorthon #22: “Demons 2” (1986)
by A.J. Hakari
Well, it’s been a little while since we last visited that wonderland of absurd storytelling and gore known as Italian horror, so how about we check in and see what’s cooking? Not seeking to have my brain matter grind itself into paste trying to figure out what the hell’s going on, I settled on 1986’s Demons 2 as tonight’s selection. It follows in the same spirit as its cult predecessor from the previous year, featuring a fair dose of nonsensical plotting but, for the most part, casting more attention on employing its gooey practical effects as creatively as possible.
Having set legions of the drooling possessed on a movie theater in Demons, where does director Lamberto Bava head for Round 2? Why, television, of course. It’s odd enough that most of the people living in a high-rise apartment complex are watching the same cheesy horror flick on their sets, so that one of the demons in said movie proceeds to hop into our world is no stretch. The growling ghoul quickly feasts on a birthday shindig, transforming his victims into more mosnters that break out into a floor-by-floor feeding frenzy. But as the demonic horde begins to outnumber the living, two surviving tenants (David Knight and Nancy Brilli) struggle to escape and spare their unborn kid from having to face hell on earth.
Demons 2 zeroes in on the classic “zombie siege” formula and doesn’t stray an inch until the final credits have commenced. It’s basic and completely comfortable being so, although the ratio of scenes one regards with a repulsed awe and those that incite impatience is a bit too close for my liking. The unquestionable highlight here is the stomach-churning effects work, which ups the ante from the last film’s simple demon make-up to include possessed tykes, gremlin-like creatures, and a monstrous pooch that sports a Xenomorphic second mouth. It’s a gory good show, but the dire lack of anything resembling a plot comes back to haunt the movie in the worst way. Endless shots of roaring demons bloat the running time, superfluous characters are focused on to no end, and I’m pretty sure we don’t even catch the names of our protagonists until well over an hour into their ordeal.
Bloodhounds will get what they want out of Demons 2; there’s just a daunting amount of filler to sift through beforehand. I don’t take issue with it sticking so close to what’s worked for dozens of other “zombie/infected/etc. on the loose” pictures, but seeing it so often twiddle its thumbs while squeezing every last drop from its gallery of grotesque visuals gets to be a bore. Still, if narrative is of no consequence, then Demons 2 is the right revolting brew for you.