Another Nine Nights of Argento #2 – “Demons 2” (1986)

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Here we go again! For my third annual Halloween trek through horror master Dario Argento‘s frightful filmography, I’m glopping through a gory grab bag of the Giallo madman’s screenplays, TV work, and other obscure treats.

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It’s my party and I can DIE if I want to!”

Alternate theme to Demons 2.

It’s bratty Sally’s birthday party and all she wants to do is throw a very 80’s dance party with her very 80’s friends to some very 80’s New Wave music. Unfortunately, a horde of Italian demons have other plans for Sally, her guests, and everyone else in her high-rise apartment building.

In the realm of sequels, Demons 2 is a close relative of Joe Dante‘s Gremlins 2: The New Batch. In both films, the director of the original film tries to mix things up by relocating his claustrophobic story to a skyscraper, loading up on tons of new characters, and injecting 10,000 CC’s of crazy juice.

Did you like the demons in the last film? Well, here’s demon dogs! Demon children! Demon muppets! Demons coming out of TVs! Demons coming out of demons! As in Gremlins 2, director Lamberto Bava ensures that everything is bigger and nuttier this time around, but alas, it’s not quite as memorable as the first joint.

Co-writer Dario Argento‘s influence can be felt stronger this time around, ultimately to the film’s detriment. I’m going to go out on a limb and blame our man Dario for the numerous half-ideas that needlessly complicate an otherwise simple story of demons run amok. Take, for example, the meta film-within-the-film that apparently is being broadcast from a remote television station by the demons. Why do the demons own a TV station? How can these drooling monsters operate such advanced technology? Couldn’t the demons’ presence be explained more simply? Or, better yet, not at all?

Nevertheless, there’s still a lot to enjoy in Demons 2. Bobby Rhodes, who played the badass pimp in the original film, is back with even more screentime and one-liners as a badass gym instructor who leads a gang of brainless hardbodies into the parking garage for a last stand against the demons. Also, Bava cements his solid reputation for directing action with dizzying sequences set in an elevator shaft and repelling down the side of the building, years before Die Hard did both. Did John McClane learn a thing or two from watching Giallo horror movies? Your guess is as good as mine.

Next Up: THE CHURCH (1989)

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Categories: Dario Argento, Director Spotlight, Features

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