Demonia - Demonia(Blu Ray) [Severin - 2020]Appearing in 1990, Demonia was the third to last feature film from Italian gore meister Lucio Fulci. And itís fair to say compared with Fulci's horror classics of the late í70s to early 80's, it's far from being a masterpiece- but here and there are some neat & effective touches- and if you compare it with other horror films from the 1990s, it's not that bad. Here from the folks over at Severin is a recent Blu Ray release of the film- bringing together a new 4k scan, a commentary from Fulci expert Stephen Thrower, and a few other extras.
Demonia( aka New Demons, Liza) is Fulciís stab at nun exploitation blended with brutal revenge ghosts shenanigans, and mixed liberally with 80ís horror trash-ness. The film is scoped competently enough- though at points some shots linger way too long, and are slightly shaky at points. There are moments of Fulci gore, & nicely eerier atmos- though one does have to wade through more than a few prolonged & dragged out dialogue scenes.
The film is set in Sicily- focusing on an archaeological team that unleash the ghosts of satanic nuns that where crucified five hundred years, then walled up beneath a castle. Key character-wise we have: Liza Harris(Meg Register)- a blond-haired archaeological student who keeps dreaming of the nuns and uncovers their resting place. Professor Paul Evans- a middle-aged, coiffed haired, & soap-opera-like actor in charge of the dig. Turi DeSimone(Lino Salemme)- the shifty & sinister eyed town butcher. Inspector Carter(Fulci himself in one of his longer cameos)- the thoughtful & ponderous officer in charge of the cases of murder caused by the raised nun ghosts. The whole film moves along at a decidedly plodding manner, with some of the investigation scenes been way too dragged out- but thankfully more horror/atmospheric moments do turn up soon enough. So on the gore/ horror imagery front- we start with the nun crucifixions, which feature a bit of spurting blood- but are fairly tame by Fulci standards, a naked ghost nun firing a harpoon at someone & two men falling on spikes- and again these are rather tame. Things start to improve in the last quarter or so- as we get cats ripping out a women's eyes, a mans body ripped apart, yellow goo dripping nuns with weird bloody question mark signs on their head, and a few other things. So in summing up Demonia- itís a mixed bag of a release, and not top tier Fulci- but there is some worth here, so not a total write-off as some will have you believe.
Moving onto this new region free Severin Blu Ray- and first off the 4K looks great, and in some ways a bit too good- as it highlights the more shoddy special effects, and shifts in image quilty/ filters added to the film. Moving onto the extras, and first, off we have a Stephen Thrower commentary- and as weíve come to expect with anything connected with Mr Thrower itís wonderful well researched, fact-packed, with sly touches of humour. He goes from giving production date information, historic facts regarding witchcraft treatment in Italian, and that the film often nods back to Fulci classic period horror films. He moves onto giving actors bios, quoting from interviews heís had with the cast regarding the film's production, moving onto more local facts & much more. All in all a great, great commentary track- which I can see myself playing again, as there is so much detail here. Next, we get two new on-camera interviews- first is a thirty-three-minute interview with Co-Writer/Assistant Director Antonio Tentori, and second is a fourteen-minute interview with camera operator Sandro Grossi. And lastly, we get the film's trailer.
Itís great to see Severin giving classy & great extra edged releases to lesser respected Fulci productions like Demonia- and while itís certainly not his best work by a long shot- there are moments of gory & atmospheric goodness making this a worthwhile purchase for both Fulci fans & those who enjoy 80's/ 90's euro-horror in general.