Demons and Demons 2 are two of my 80s favorites. I can watch them over and over and over again and still get a thrill.
Then there are the “sequels.” In other words, slap the franchise name on a movie even though it has nothing to do with the other films so there will be a built-in audience. I’ve tried to get through all of them, but the incorrect chronology makes me think there are others out there I don’t even know about. Depending on what country you lived in or what day it was, you’d get a different sequel. So here goes.
The Ogre (1986) – DEMONS 3
Lamberto Bava, who brought us the first two films, directed this perfect piece of European horror weirdness and twisted fun! There’s this female horror writer who has had dreams of a castle since childhood, where an ogre comes oozing out of a cocoon along with a bunch of nasty green stuff. In the dream sequences, it looks more like a bug or Alien to me.
She, her husband, and their son go to stay in a vacation villa that looks just like the castle from her dreams! She even finds her old Teddy bear in the basement. But her husband thinks she’s going mad. As their marriage starts to fall apart, we are treated to a spooky house, creepy music, zombie-esque nightmares, boob-loving demon fantasies, a swim through a green muck graveyard, and finally, the actual hideous zombie-thing. Awesome creature feature, if a little slow in the middle.
The Church (1989) – DEMONS 3
The Church is all style, atmosphere, and substance over excitement. It’s co-written by Dario Argento, “presented by” Argento, and his daughter Asia appears in it. The opening takes place in medieval times, and while I hate period piece horror, this is gruesome goodness! These dudes in chainmail believe midwives are witches and demons, so they slaughter the be-otches and throw them in a pit, then decide to build a church over it to lock them in.
Cut to modern times, and some dude removes a stone from the church floor during renovation, providing us with the best jump scare of the movie. The Church definitely has that creepy 80s European horror vibe, and there are some cool segments. The horned beast first appears outside a woman’s house in an eerie scene and later has satanic ritual sex that rivals the moment when Rosemary got knocked up with the devil’s son. Someone rips out his own heart. There’s a big prehistoric lizard thing that latches on to some dude’s face.
The church setting could have been the perfect place for everyone to morph into demons and run rampant like in the first two films. But that doesn’t happen. The Church was intended to be serious and move away from the trashy horror of the first 2 Demons movies. It succeeded because it’s rather boring.
La Maschera Del Demonio (1989) – DEMONS 5
La Maschera Del Demonio, aka: The Devil’s Veil, aka: Demons 5, came out the same year as The Church (aka: Demons 3), and two years before The Sect (aka: Demons 4) and Black Demons (aka: Demons 4). WTF? Am I missing another Demons 4 somewhere that came out BEFORE Demons 5? Again, it’s a sequel directed by Lamberto Bava. Did he do a Demons 4 after The Ogre?
La Maschera Del Demonio definitely has good atmosphere, with eerie music, darkness, shadows, and some hints of gruesome creatures, but they’re not in your face enough to have that true Demons feel. Bava should have brought it back full force! The movie does, however, revisit the idea of being possessed by wearing an ancient mask.
In this one, a group of skiers falls through a ravine on a mountain, where they find the mask, a blind priest, and a church. This is a witch story, not a demon story. The skiers become like a cackling coven. Only one cute dude seems unaffected, and things get really trippy for him—which friends are normal, which aren’t? It starts to feel hugely reminiscent of Evil Dead.
Then his lady says she’s a virgin, he says he is as well, and we get the horror money shot. He goes to touch her boobs and they become more flaccid than me while watching this scene. She then turns into this hag monster and rides him!
Nothing else seems to matter after that awesome grossness. The mind games just go on and on for like a half hour. Love is hell! At the last minute, we get a tad more monster sex to leave a lasting impression.
Demons 6 (1989) – DEMONS 6
An unapologetic naming of a Demons sequel, but it’s everything else they should be apologizing for. This one is strictly about a witch, much like Demons 5. Not a demon in sight.
The really interesting thing about Demons 6 is that it seems to blatantly want to be the completion of Dario Argento’s witch trilogy two decades before he finally made Mother of Tears. See, filmmakers in the movie actually talk about Suspiria and Argento, and plan to make a new movie about the “mother of tears” (art imitating life).
The bad news is, if you so much as think about her, she comes back to life. And these dudes are writing a whole script about her!
So how does one make an homage to Dario Argento? Completely saturate the entire film in red and green lighting? Add some disgusting parts? Bombard us with nonsensical horror imagery? There’s a gross looking witch in a mirror, a bleeding fridge, a killer black cat with glowing eyes, a lot of goop oozing from a witch’s mouth, an exploding psychic, a TV that spills its guts, and an uncomfortable moment when a girl on TV asks the woman watching her to “Please, touch me.”
One of the men in the film is incredibly handsome (and shirtless at one point). Caroline Munro is in the movie, and she still looks like Laura Branigan as she did in Slaughter High, with a splash of bitchy Diana from the V mini-series thrown in. It seems like her whole role in Demons 6 is to occasionally make bitch face while talking on the phone, but she finally gets more screen time as the movie comes to an intergalactic mess of a conclusion, complete with laugh-out-loud dialogue.
The witch even goes all emperor and shoots lasers from her fingers.
Black Demons (1991) – DEMONS 3
Demons that look more like zombies? I’m so in! This movie is literally called Black Demons because the demons are black. But this isn’t a “horror from the hood” flick. The movie is set in the creepy voodoo world of Brazil, where three young people come to vacation—and one of the guys decides to take part in voodoo rituals. Before long he is raising zombie demons from the grave!
While the pacing is somewhat slow in Black Demons, it has the look and eerie feel of early 80s Italian zombie and cannibal films; it’s set in the tropics with icky makeup and grisly gore (mostly the eye gouging variety). The cemetery scene is a treat, but then the zombie-demons spend much of the movie in one place and we keep seeing what seems like the same footage of them. Lots of voodoo craziness ensues and the action is finally amped up near the end. Yet the film has a fairly tame and almost upbeat conclusion! Almost…. Bwah hah hah!
The Sect (1991) – DEMONS 4
The ultimate reason to watch The Sect (aka: La Setta, aka: Demons 4, aka: The Devil’s Daughter) is because the leading lady is none other than Jamie Lee Curtis’s older sister Kelly Curtis. It’s also presented by and co-written by Dario Argento. Unfortunately, there’s not a demon in sight. This is another bizarro, all atmosphere film like The Church.
It opens in 1970 South California, with a bunch of flower children at a trailer in the desert listening to America’s “A Horse with No Name” (used as an anachronism a couple of years before it was actually released…). There’s boob painting, a kid pisses on a snake, some dude shows up and talks about the Rolling Stones, and then a satanic cult slaughters the campers.
Cut to 1991 Germany and—I don’t know what the hell goes on. There’s a teacher (Ms. Curtis). She takes in this sick old man. He dies. There’s a bunny, a journey through plumbing pipes, a killer handkerchief, a “Ringu” well, pelican pecking, and pelican pecker sex (WTF?).
Actually, the last half hour of The Sect is the payoff. We’re treated to what is essentially a slasher chase scene, a killer-on-the-car-roof chase scene, a gruesome satanic ritual involving twisting off someone’s face, a creepy juxtaposed bathtub/coffin scene, and some Rosemary’s Baby shit.
Okay. NOW I see why Jamie Lee wears the scream queen crown in the family.
And there you have it. A run-down of what you’re missing by choosing to avoid all the demon-free Demons sequels. You’re welcome.