View Full Version : Demonia review

04-30-2003, 05:40 AM
Let's face it, Lucio Fulci has had an influence on almost all Euro horror films. Some of his films are highly regarded as being the best in the genre. ZOMBIE, CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE BEYOND, and HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY are titles that all come to mind when we think of his work. But being popular among horror fans also has a downside-- almost all of their careers slide downhill in one way or another. The same is true for Fulci, no matter how much we hate to admit it. DEMONIA is one of the maestro's last films, and a while ago Shriek Show introduced this film on the DVD format. Let's take a look at how the film and DVD turns out...

The Plot

A woman named Liza is on her first archaeological dig in Toronto, Canada with a group of explorers. The head of the group, Paul (Brett Halsey), warns her not to go venturing off into the monastery nearby as it is supposed to be dangerous. She keeps having these horrible images of being crucified, and is fascinated with the concept that within the monastery their may be something important. It turns out that a group of nuns were killed by the villagers for having intense orgies in the basement of the monastery. Soon, people living in the village are dying by an unseen force, and the police are at wit's end trying to solve the murders.

Does this make sense to you? Well, it's about all there is to the plot, and a lot of it doesn't make sense. There are huge holes in the plot and a lot of it just doesn't tie together. Another bad thing about DEMONIA is the fact that the first 50 minutes are really boring. It isn't until at about the hour mark when things really start picking up.

But since this IS a Fulci film, plot doesn't really matter. What does matter is the visual and audio stuff-- special effects, music, etc. Are the effects on par with Fulci's earlier efforts? No, not even close. They are really quite mediocre and not well done at all. There is really only two deaths that stand out, and even then they aren't that great.

What about the music? No, I'm sorry to say, but the music isn't that good either... it's very amateur. Music is one of the main bonuses with Fulci films, usually, the music is quite good-- just listen to ZOMBIE or THE BEYOND and you'll see what I mean. But the music in DEMONIA is almost horrible... it's not unbearable, but it gets irritating after a while.

The acting isn't all that great either, except for Meg Register, who does well with what she is given. But of course, you can't judge the acting in Italian films, since the dubbing usually makes it worse. Is the dubbing in DEMONIA any good? Definitely not! Even though dubbing in foreign films is usually bad, this is even worse! The worst and most irritating thing about the dubbing for DEMONIA is the false accents the people doing the dubbing try to pull off. It's simply ridiculous... watch the film and you'll see what I'm talking about. And, for some strange reason, the dubbing for Brett Halsey sounds a lot like Anthony Perkins! :eek2:

Do I recommend DEMONIA? Only for die-hard fans such as myself. Even though the first half of the film wasn't all that good, the film definitely picks up during the second half, which left me satisfied for the most part. I liked the film a whole lot better once I saw the conclusion, and a second viewing might help me to like it even more, which is usually the case with Fulci films-- they are certainly an acquired taste. The film is good for the most part, so I'll give it a 3/5 just because the second half made up the for the first.

Rating: 3/5

Video Quality

Usually, I am impressed with the quality transfers Shriek Show has been releasing. This one is good, although not their best. It's in widescreen, but not anamorphic. There was quite a bit of grain in most scenes and I also noticed a few scratches throughout the film. There was also a major problem in two or three outdoor scenes, which I can't really describe. There were a lot of blemishes, all in a pattern, throughout the screen. It doesn't stay on for that long, but it is distracting. But the colors were bright in most scenes (except for a couple where they are rather dull). Overall, a fairly good transfer and probably the best DEMONIA will ever look.

Rating: 3/5

Sound Quality

I have never really liked Dolby Digital Mono tracks, and this one is no exception. There was a lot of hissing and popping noises in the background, and the music was too quiet. The spoken word was clear, but could have sounded better. A bit worse than the transfer, but not too much.

Rating: 2.5/5

Special Features

While not loaded with extras, this disc has a few that are somewhat interesting. The highlight of the disc is Fulci Lives, a five minute long videotaped segment featuring a behind-the-scenes look at the making of one of the coolest effects in the movie (which isn't saying too much as the effects weren't all that great) and a short but sweet interview with Fulci himself. The behind-the-scenes footage was alright, but not very interesting since you don't see much. The interview is definitely the highlight of the segment, although Fulci's accent is very thick and sometimes hard to make out. But, if you listen carefully, you can make out most of it, and it is interesting (although one wishes it were longer). Fulci comes off as a kind-hearted man who really enjoys what he does. Overall, a nice addition to the disc, but I think it could have done without the behind-the-scenes stuff.

Also on the disc is an interview with star Brett Halsey. Unfortunately, it's written in text, but there are some good tidbits of information thrown out for lovers of the film. There is also a nice Fulci biography that is well-written and shows plenty of insight into the Godfather of Gore. Included on the back of the DVD insert is a Fulci filmography, which, in my opinion, shouldn't be counted as an extra but hey-- whatever floats your boat! :D

An interesting thing on this disc which was also done on the Nightmare on Elm Street DVDs is Scream Access... which allows you to access any murder from the film by just selecting the scene. I don't know how often I'll use this, but it's comforting to know it's there. Along with this is the regular Scene Selection.

Not quite as packed as some fans would like it, but Shriek Show has done probably the best they could taking into consideration the low-budget origins of the film.

Rating: 3/5


Overall, this is another good disc from Shriek Show, although I wouldn't recommend it as much as some of their others. I'm not quite sure about the film... I might need to give it a second viewing to see if it gets any better. As for the picture, sound, and extras, if you like this film, it is well worth your money.

Overall Rating: 3/5

The Chaostar
04-30-2003, 05:54 AM
I am not a Fulci fan and I don't know why I like this film. :D

04-30-2003, 05:57 AM
I don't know... it must just be one of those films! :D

04-30-2003, 06:30 AM
i totally thought this movie blew .. but there was a few decent gore shots if i remember correctly

i got it in a trade here and couldnt wait to get rid of it

04-30-2003, 10:16 AM
I'm going to pick this one up as soon as I see it again. I expect nothing, but I'm turning into a bit of a Fulci nut.

04-30-2003, 01:43 PM
I got it here from a trade too, but I'm not going to get rid of it... I might like it after repeated viewings! :eek2: :lol:

04-30-2003, 02:50 PM
Fulci is win or lose. This one is a LOSER!! I hate this film. Boring as hell. I barely got through it. I think I got it from Defjeff, then traded it myself, so it's making its way around the forum.

04-30-2003, 02:54 PM
I know I'm in the minority here, but I've always liked Demonia. It's not great, but I think it's a hell of a lot better that most of Fulci's "lesser" works.

04-30-2003, 04:14 PM
I got mine from Lone Wolf. I'm actually kind of glad I made the trade... the film was a bit disappointing in the first half, but made up for it with the change of pace in the second.

05-06-2003, 12:05 AM
Even though i'm a fulci fan i've never seen this film. I've been hearing a lot of bad reviews though.:fire:

05-06-2003, 12:15 AM
It's OK... it may not be your kind of movie depending on what you like! :(