Demons and Demons 2 – Arrow Boxset ★★★★ 1/2

Demons and Demons 2 – Arrow Boxset ★★★★ 1/2

Anyone who crosses their path around this website will know we have a love for horror films, and with Arrow Videos upcoming release of Demons 1 & 2, we have an essential set that needs immediate purchase. Lamberto Bava and Dardano Sacchetti made two fantastic genre films, with the sequel not getting nearly as much love as it deserves. Let’s get into it, shall we?

In 1985’s Demons, a motley assortment of unwitting filmgoers accepts invitations to a screening at the mysterious Metropol theatre in Berlin. However, as the brutal slasher film unspools, the horror breaks free from the screen’s constraints, unleashing a swarm of slathering demons intent on spreading their evil plague across the globe.

If you are fancying an over the top horror that isn’t full of satire, then Demons is the film for you. There is so much carnage throughout the movie that you struggle to keep on top of it all. This is such a joy for anyone who loves horror films and in a world where horror is almost firmly set in a serious tone. To venture back and enjoy the madness of splatter gore everywhere is a wonderful palette cleanser.

Once Demons gets going, it is nonstop horror action from there on in. This is not a film that felt the need to take its time and build up strong connections with its characters. Demons want to shock you, and boy does it with these practical effects. There is so much work put in here due to the number of characters requiring various prosthetics that you can only marvel at the screen.

As expected, bold colour choices are made with the lighting, almost as if they were taken directly from Suspiria, or as if this is in the same world, so having these colours also help create that feel. Like Bava, cinematographer Gianlorenzo Battaglia has influenced other films around him and ran with them. We get some striking shots here that even though this is more of a Braindead style film, the direction and shot choices are inspired and help elevate the picture into something more. This is a film that could have fallen quickly to the wayside, but when a character rides his motorbike over cinema seats, you can’t help but take notice and find enjoyment in it.

With an utterly incomprehensible ending that has our survivors join others in the fight with the demon horde (why does it feel as if time forgot those inside the theatre?). Right when the film almost tempts the audience into more scenes of this post-apocalyptic world, we finish.

Demons have many wonderful moments, but with some standard Italian horror acting choices, we can have an enjoyable time that perhaps wasn’t originally meant, however, despite the fun that we have here. Bava takes the audience on a thrilling ride in the cinema as we witness each audience member get taken out in a wonderfully gruesome fashion.


Then, in 1986’s Demons 2, Hell comes directly to the living room as bloodthirsty demons descend on a luxury apartment block, devouring the residents and propagating their deadly plague.

Instead of as expectedly continuing straight on where we left off with Demons, Demons 2 decides t use the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ idea and venture to utilising television screens instead of the cinema screen. It is a clever idea that showcases how television was showing more and more horror films, and at worst, it could be a video nasty that they were watching. If a remake is ever done, you know it will happen with TV’s because of streaming and then tablets and computers. It writes itself!

The idea that making a film about the first incident that sets off this one is quite interesting. Who doesn’t want to see a zombie style film set in an apartment block and who hasn’t lived in such a building and envisioned what they would do if it happened? Just me? Damn. Anyway, what we have here is a great sequel that isn’t nearly spoken enough about.

By keeping a hold of the majority of the production team, we can see where they have improved since the year previous. Dardano Sacchetti’s make up on these demons has considerably enhanced in our estimation. As much as it is tempting to compare the two films, you are better off not doing so.

Poltergeist may have a child in the TV, but here we have a demon coming out of the television to get to our poor birthday girl. We have a pregnant woman kicking ass as she tries to keep her and her baby safe. We are also given a tonne of action in this film, and our filmmakers have lost none of their touches when it could to give the audience what they wanted in a splatterfest.

While the acting is less than desired (though what would we expect in a film such as this), there is still a lot of fun to be had, and the cast seems to be revelling in the film’s idea. Bobby Rhodes returns as a different character here and is particularly strong. Soon of the cast do annoy a tad with their overacting yet slip into their demon roles far better than their portraying ones.

Instead of the heavy metal of the first film, we venture more towards some stand 80s fare, which is an utter laugh when you see some of the scenes the music is put against. Overall, this is another excellent midnight movie to watch, and with Demons, Demons 2 is sure to delight.

★★★ 1/2

Arrow Video is proud to present brand new 4K restorations of both classic films, more vivid and terrifying than ever before, alongside a wealth of bonus features old and new, making this the ultimate experience in celluloid terror.


• Brand new 4K restoration of both films by Arrow Films from the original camera negatives

• High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray™ presentations of both films

Limited edition packaging featuring newly commissioned artwork by Adam Rabalais

Limited edition 60-page booklet featuring new writing by Roberto Curti, Rachael Nisbet and Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

• Double-sided fold-out poster • Exclusive mystery sneak preview movie ticket (admits one to the Metropol Theatre).


• 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


• 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

As expected with Arrow Video, they have taken advantage of the colours utilised in Bava’s films to offer us a rich picture quality. With Bava always being so bold with his choice of colours, you expect and get these bouncing off the screen, restored to look just as intended.

Several commentaries are on these discs across both films, with the best being the two newer ones with critics Kat Ellinger and Heather Drain for Demons and Travis Crawford for Demons 2. Both of these commentaries offer great insight not only into the films but also into the history of the production. They gleefully show their love for the sub-genre, and it will cause you to look for as many of these types of films as possible to devour.

The archival commentaries are decent and informative, but as they merely cover each film’s production. They are more centralised to those wanting to know more about what was done to make the film. It is still very much worth your time, though, as there are tidbits in there that will enlighten you into how they created what they did.

We are given a mixture of shorter interviews with those who crave Dario Argento time getting more than their monies worth here. The best interviews are, in fact, on the Demons 2 disc as we are giving ample time with Sergio Stivaletti as he goes through his work with all of the Italian horror greats. However, his separate piece is essential to watch after you have caught the films. Looking through Argento’s career as a producer, you forget how much of a hand he had on the Italian horror and with a bunch of clips through in; it is a true joy for the genre fan.

With a 4k version (we only reviewed the Blu-Ray), it is pretty easy to guess that you should get this set if you are a Bava, Italian horror, or just a horror fan. There is a tonne of extras that make it worth your while, and it is one not to be missed, so get it while you can.

★★★★ 1/2

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