Tuesday, March 4, 2008


This horrific masterpiece comes from the masterminds of Italian horror cinema, Dario Argento and Lanberto Bava. Argento has been repeatedly labeled as the Italian George Romero, which is a huge compliment as far as I'm concerned. The movie opens with a strange man with a sort of "futuristic phantom of the opera" kind of mask, handing out free movie tickets, evidently for opening of a new movie theater. As the customers arrive, they notice that this movie theater is a little odd, but assume it's just promotion for the movie. In the auditorium there's a mask hanging from the statue, a woman tries it on and accidentally scratches herself on the cheek. Meanwhile people are watching the movie, which seems to be a story about the excavation of a cemetery that supposedly houses demons of some kind. People start to notice similarities between the film and reality. There's a man in the movie joking with a "demon mask", much like the woman who tried the exact one she tried on in the auditorium. He scratches himself as well and starts to become a demon. The woman in the audience notices that her scratch is starting to fester and eventually explodes in a burst of pus, deforming her face. Her friend eventually goes to the bathroom to see what's taking so long and upon finding her friend, drooling green slime and has big red eyes, freaks out and runs, but not before being scratched by her demonic friends long claws. Within minutes, her friend begins to transform into a demon too. Since merely being scratched by a demon can turn you into one, the masses of demons grows incredibly fast. The remaining humans find that despite all their efforts to get out, all the entrances have been bricked up and they are walled into the theater by forces yet unknown. A gang of coke snorting punks running from the police find a back way into the theater hoping to ditch and hide from the cops and ultimately become demons themselves (no big loss, but they did make for some creepy looking demons). Out of nowhere, a helicopter falls through the roof. The last two humans alive crawl inside and manage to figure out how to make the blades turn, resulting in the mass decapitation of dozens of demons. You'd think real demons wouldn't be so susceptible to such human mortal coils, but I guess not. Anyway, after getting a few dozen demons off their back, they use the hole in the roof to escape, but not without having to kill another demon along the way (the man wearing the futuristic looking mask from the beginning of the movie). The happy couple having escaped the demon infested movie theater only to find that the "demon plague" has already overrun most of the town. They hitch a ride with a well armed family that's headed out of town to start a new life and all seems well until the girl starts to grow claws and fangs. A kid in the front seat turns around and blows her away with some kind of M-16 or something. The ending credits just show the shock on the guys face as he sees his girlfriend lying dead in the road. Not really a happy ending, but a satisfactory one. Great italian flick (the dubbed voices are actually decipherable). Non-typically, this movie actually spawned a pretty good sequel too, one that we'll discuss soon. A side note worth mentioning is that this movie has a very surprisingly cool soundtrack, featuring artists like Billy Idol, Motley Crue, Rick Springfield, and Go West. This is very uncommon with foreign made films.

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