Demons 2

Demons is one of the best "party" movies ever.  Halloween parties would provide the most appropriate backdrop, though I find baby showers to be just as conducive.  For years, I neglected the 1986 sequel.  It glared at me from the shelf at my local rental joint, but I was an impressionable teenager at the time.  I heard that it was an emaciated retread of the original, so I didn't think twice about cantering by it in a thoughtless scuttle to rent the latest direct-to-video sequel (it was probably Candyman 3: Day of the Dead...puke).  It was as simple as that.  Now I know that I made the wrong decision.  Demons 2 doesn't top its unchaste antecessor, but it does deliver frantic action and slick visuals.

On some levels, director Lamberto Bava is able to augment his original.  It's clear that he had more money to play with.  Maybe he saw this as an opportunity to renovate Demons and amend its conspicuous foibles.  I say that because the plot is damn near identical, the only difference being the setting.  Everyone in an apartment complex just happens to be watching the same channel.  What's on?  A fictionalized account of disquisitive people excavating the ruins left behind by the events of the first film.  Needless to say, they stumble upon the anhydrous corpse of a demon.  The dastardly imp jolts to life and squirms out of the television.  Oh no!

Even this film's derogators have to admit that once the ordure hits the industrial-strength humidifier (???), the bedlam doesn't let up.  Bava has a steady grip on the pace.  In spite of the script's cheeseball nature, he manages to work in a few eerie shots (the titular rogues circling down a stairwell, for example).  The characters are...well, I don't need to finish that sentence.  This is spaghetti horror, after all.  However, the gorgeous pregnant woman deserves an honorable mention.  Her acting ability is a mystery thanks to the picayune dubbing, but she's hot.  Ergo, I wanted her to survive.  Demons 2 marks the screen debut of Asia Argento.  I'm surprised her father didn't force her to shed her clothing.

The special effects are gnarly, but the kills are relatively bloodless.  Chalk up a point for Demons.  Actually, chalk up two points, for the sequel's soundtrack doesn't kick nearly enough ass.  Where is the fun-loving bonehead metal from the original?  Granted, the featured bands are cool (The Smiths, Dead Can Dance), but b-movies and heavy metal belong together.  Demons 2 doesn't possess the inexplicable charm of its forebear.  No one can argue with that.  Still, I had a blast absorbing its inanity (sic) through osmosis.  How can you dismiss Bobby Rhodes as a no-bullshit gym instructor?

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