CERT: 18 | FORMAT: BLU-RAY, 4K UHD | RELEASE DATE: 22ND FEBRUARY
It's probably safe to say that most Starburst readers will be familiar with this pair of Lamberto Bava masterpieces, but just in case... Demons (1985) takes us to a cursed movie theatre where the movie on screen bleeds into real life, with the invite-only audience finding themselves at the mercy of marauding demonic entities. Non-stop mayhem, chaos, carnage and hysteria, gory practical effects, quotable dialogue, striking colours and a rip-roaring rock n' roll soundtrack make it one of the most perfect midnight movies ever made.
The sequel, 1986's Demons 2, sets the action in a fancy apartment building where the demons invade a young woman's birthday party. As their numbers increase, other residents find themselves in danger, including a bunch of lycra-clad ladies and musclebound hunks (in very short shorts) who provide massive amounts of entertainment. It's just as eye-catching and generally groovy as the first film, but the craziness is amped up even further, with children and pets getting in on the action this time. And it's not every day you get to see an upside down abseiling demon...
This latest reissue, of which there have been many over the years, features brand new 4K restorations of both films from the original negatives. It certainly looks great, although there's a bit of a wobble at one point during Demons 2 which lasts long enough to make you question whether your eyes are playing up a bit. Whether the 4K upgrade provides enough of an improvement over previous Blu-rays is questionable though, and there are some issues with audio levels that will have you fiddling with your TV settings for ages but ultimately settling for hovering over the volume button for the duration of both films.
Alongside a ton of archival extras, there are a couple of new “visual essays” which, while undoubtedly interesting, might have been better received if they were included in this set's booklet – they would've made for fascinating reading but come across a little dry when read aloud. A new audio commentary for both films – one by the Hell's Bells podcast ladies and the other by critic Travis Crawford – are more lively, although maybe not quite as interesting as the previously-released (and also included here) commentaries with the actual cast and crew.
Demons and Demons 2 are a pair of cracking films, no doubt about that, and absolutely deserve a place in any horror fan's collection. This set does a great job of rounding up as much content as possible and there are a few physical extras that collectors will enjoy, but overall there's still a slight question mark over whether or not it's an essential purchase for owners of previous releases.