Saturday, 18 December 2010

Double Bill Mini Musings: A load of old Italian cobblers...

Demons & Demons 2:
The Italians, when it comes to the horror genre at least, aren't especially known for particularly great plots. The Italians love the look of something, and that's their primary focus - and so it is with this Dario Argento presented twosome, directed by Lamberto Bava (son of Mario "Bay of Blood" Bava).

The first has a bunch of randomly dated characters (including a pimp-like dude who looks like he got lost somewhere between Saturday Night Fever and a dialogue-light bad guy for Pam Grier to pummel) all attending a secret movie premiere. So begins the movie-within-a-movie, featuring some random mask that cuts you when you put it on and turns you into a demon, who can spread the demon disease through their fingernails. Inexplicably, in the lobby, there is a similar mask (for some reason dangling off the handlebar of a motorbike ... what random movie was this display supposed to be advertising anyway?) that, you guessed it, cuts the cheek of one of the pimp dude's floozies.

She goes all demon on everyone's arse and soon enough the good stuff in the flick finally gets on the go - that being the gore and nonsense violence. Grandiose shots, agonising shots to boot, of demons having their human teeth slowly pushed out by their devilish gnashers (similiar with their fingernails) ... and then constant shots of them wandering around aimlessly screaming ... ... the cast of dated stereotypes and useless fodder, led by the white-suited pimp, barricade themselves and fend off the back-lit, glowing eyed, titular antagonists - and get picked off one-by-one.

Fast forward to a helicopter - for utterly no reason at all - crashing through the ceiling, as well as endlessly dull sequences of coke-headed punks driving interminably around a not-at-all-good-to-look-at Italian city from the 1980s, to simply become yet more fodder, and it's all a bit insufferable, I've got to be honest.

I was rather looking forward to seeing Demons and Demons 2, but neither have the grandiose, painterly vision of Argento's technically superior eye, nor the unmitigated sleaze of Fulci's grindhouse grot. These flicks sit somewhere, uneasily, between, and while Argento's flicks sometimes aren't the strongest when it comes to plot, at least they have one that makes a lick of sense. Demons, and particularly the inferior sequel, is just a bunch of random crap happening.

Speaking of which, the second movie is exactly the same - but in a building - not 'the same like Die Hard 2 is the first one in an airport', no, it's pretty much exactly the same. It again features a movie-within-a-movie, that's supposed to be important, but isn't really, it again features the pimp-in-the-white-suit (this time as a tough-talking gym instructor), it again features a useless rabble of punks insufferably driving around a naff-looking Italian city, it again features gruesomely detailed shots of demon-dental-restructuring, and doesn't make a scrap of sense.

Most of the characters, more so than in the first, are literally nameless, and it's all set in an exceptionally ugly apartment complex filled wall-to-wall with cannon fodder. A bunch of random nonsense happens scene-after-scene in this 'swish' prison, all loosely cobbled together under 'various people need to survive the siege' - and the overacting, just like in the first, is heinous. It's not just naff acting, it's stupendously bad acting, performed by apparently good looking people.

What's worse though is how long it takes for the monsters to transform for most of the movie, until the third act when - for, again, no good reason at all - every remaining side character (in a cast of side characters) instantaneously mutates for 'a scare' (and that's at the same time as being able to impersonate their former selves, which was never flagged up to be an actual ability ... especially as, again, they spend half the movie lumbering around, back-lit, eyes glowing, and screaming endlessly at nothing).

I was really quite interested to see these flicks - the trailers made them look rather enjoyable - but the horrendous scripts, overacting, and general lack of sensible pacing or interest - threw all that out of the window for me. Perhaps if I'd seen them as a young teenager, but there are countless 'lesser' horror movies with far better scripts, acting, and pacing. It wouldn't be so bad if they were 'so bad they're good' (like Zombie Lake, for example), but they're clearly supposed to be something spectacular and they just aren't by any stretch of the imagination. I usually enjoy movies like this, and to each their own, but blimey I really didn't get on with these flicks at all.

No comments: