With cinemas closed, what better time to watch a film about being trapped in a movie theatre with blood-sucking demons on the loose. The 1985 cult classic Italian film Demons, directed by Lamberto Bava and produced by horror maestro Dario Argento, along with its 1986 sequel Demons 2 are getting a stunning new special edition 4K release from Arrow Video this month.

The first Demons film has a simple premise and largely just one location, but it manages to be really entertaining. The film sees a group of random people mysteriously invited to a special film screening that they know nothing about. They’re given a location- the mysterious Metropol Theatre- but that’s all. The film starts to play but soon the terrors are no longer just a film and just on the screen in front of them as they begin to find themselves trapped in the cinema with a swarm of predatory demons on the loose, out to get them.

It’s a fairly simple concept and it clearly takes some inspiration from George A. Romero’s zombie films but nonetheless, it’s still very engaging and exciting. There are lots of really good practical effects to be witnessed here and they look all the more terrifying in glorious 4K on the new restoration. As the flock of demons become fixed on spreading their evil curse across the world, they begin to take over the guests in the cinema and they’re not going to stop until they have them all.

If you’ve seen the film before you’ll know there’s plenty of excitement going on and some really cool moments including a really chilling opening scene and even a scene riding around the cinema on a motorcycle, killing hordes of demons with a samurai sword.

As for Demons 2, it’s not a bad film but it just feels very similar to its predecessor. They’ve both got a very similar premise. The first film follows a set of demons roaming around a cinema hunting down the remaining humans whereas the sequel sees a set of demons roaming around an apartment block hunting down the remaining humans. The tower block setting is quite a good backdrop for all the demon antics going on and much like the first film, there are lots of cool things going on and some nice practical effects. But otherwise, it does just feel very similar to the first film except in a different location.

Perhaps this is just me pining to be back at a cinema again and so even seeing demons taking over a cinema sounds like fun, but Demons is definitely a stronger film than the sequel although neither of them are bad. They’re both solid, entertaining horror films and the new 4K release is definitely a good piece to own if you like Italian cinema.

Arrow’s new 4K restoration looks really stunning and both films look crisp and sharp in the new format. In terms of special features and bonus content, there’s plenty, both new and old. You can find the full list of all the special features included down below but there are new audio commentaries by critics as well as a fascinating visual essay by Michael Mackenzie on Dario Argento’s legendary career as producer, taking an in-depth look at the film’s he’s produced including Demons and many others. As well as the bonus features included on the discs, the limited edition set also comes with a special 60-page booklet, a double-sided poster, and a mystery sneak preview movie ticket replica that admits one to the Metropol Theatre.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

DISC 1 (4K ULTRA-HD BLU-RAY) – DEMONS

•        Two versions of the film: the full-length original cut in Italian and English, and the slightly trimmed US cut, featuring alternate dubbing and sound effects
•        Brand new lossless English and Italian 5.1 audio tracks on the original cut
•        Original lossless English and Italian 2.0 stereo audio tracks on the original cut
•        Original lossless English 1.0 mono audio track on the US cut
•        Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
•        Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for both English soundtracks
•        New audio commentary by critics Kat Ellinger and Heather Drain, co-hosts of the Hell’s Bells podcast
•        Archival audio commentary by director Lamberto Bava and special makeup effects artist Sergio Stivaletti, moderated by journalist Loris Curci
•        Archival audio commentary by Lamberto Bava, Sergio Stivaletti, composer Claudio Simonetti and actress Geretta Geretta
•        Produced by Dario Argento, a new visual essay by author and critic Michael Mackenzie exploring the legendary filmmaker’s career as a producer
•        Dario’s Demon Days, an archival interview with writer/producer Dario Argento
•        Defining an Era in Music, an archival interview with Claudio Simonetti
•        Splatter Spaghetti Style, an archival interview with long-time Argento collaborator Luigi Cozzi
•        Italian theatrical trailer
•        International English theatrical trailer
•        US theatrical trailer

DISC 2 (4K ULTRA-HD BLU-RAY) – DEMONS 2

•        Brand new lossless English and Italian 5.1 audio tracks
•        Original lossless English and Italian 2.0 stereo audio tracks
•        Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
•        Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
•        New audio commentary by critic Travis Crawford
•        Archival audio commentary by director Lamberto Bava and special makeup effects artist Sergio Stivaletti, moderated by journalist Loris Curci
•        Together and Apart, a new visual essay on space and technology in Demons and Demons 2 by author and critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
•        Creating Creature Carnage, an archival interview with Sergio Stivaletti
•        Bava to Bava, an archival interview with Luigi Cozzi on the history of Italian horror
•        Italian theatrical trailer
•        English theatrical trailer”

 

Dir: Lamberto Bava

Scr: Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava, Franco Ferrini, Dardana Sacchetti

Cast: Urbana Barberini, Natasha Hovey, Karl Zinny, Fiore Argento, Nancy Brilli

Prd: Dario Argento, Ferdinando Caputo

Music: Claudio Simonetti, Simon Boswell

DOP: Gianlorenzo Battaglia

Year: 1985, 1986

Country: Italy

Run time: 88 mins, 92 mins

Demons and Demons 2 are being released by Arrow Video on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray on 22 February

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