Year 1985

Urbano Barberini   as  George
Natasha Hovey as Cheryl
Fiore Argento as Hannah
Nicoletta Elmi as Ingrid, The Usherette  
Director - Lamberto Bava
Screenwriters - Lamberto Bava
  - Dario Argento
  - Franco Ferrini
  - Dardano Sacchetti

If you read the back of the DVD case, the excerpted quotes say that this movie is... What? No review quotes? Not even from Fangoria or CBS News? Nevermind.

Oh, wait! On the front of the DVD, "The Gore Score" is quoted as saying, "a slam-bang gorefest" with gorefest being one word. On the back, somebody's opinion that this was a "legendary splatter classic" whatever the heck that is, is provided. Opinions are like feet - they all stink.

What this movie is, is Italian. That's both a compliment and a curse, like a lot of Italian expressions come to think of it. But don't think too hard 'cause I just employed the old circular logic.

I could come up with a nifty metaphor and compare this film to Congress, but that'd be too obvious. Still, I planted the germ in your mind and you can do the work yourself.

The premise of the movie still eludes me. The plot of the movie is simple a bunch of people are trapped and need to fight their way out or they'll be turned into monsters, one by one.

At the start of the movie, a girl is riding on a subway train when she sees the reflection of a guy in silver mask. Why? I dunno. I don't mean why is the mask important, because masks are important in this movie. I don't mean why this guy, because he turns out to be, well nothing special, but we see him more than once. I mean why does this girl see him at all? No one else on the face of the Earth sees this false reflection.

And, as it turns out, this girl is nothing special either. No secret weapons, hidden powers, or killer lines. She's just another character, so why was she singled out?

But that about sums up the approach that the director and writers took to the movie creepy scenes with no explanations. There's lots of build up, but no pay off.

Did you glance at the list of writers? In high school football, the gag was, "Six points and your name in the paper." In the "biz" the gag must be, "Five bucks and your name as a screenwriter." Regardless of the number of people listed, it's all, "See Spot run" originality.

There's a theater in the movie. (Maybe it's symbolic of the director's hatred of Harpywood? I'm reaching, but I'm trying to to find something redeeming somewhere.) No one knew the movie theater existed before the movie. Now, it's refurbished and situated in a location where you couldn't help but notice it. How'd it get there? Who refurbished it? Why doesn't anyone notice it now except for the people who were invited to a movie showing? You'll never know!

So, about three dozen people show up to watch this movie. One of the people puts on a plastic silver mask that practically has "Do not touch, moron!" written all over it. About an half an hour later, she becomes the first changeling.

There's a blind guy who's come to see the movie, too. He can apparently sense things, because he warns the girl he's with to not touch anything. If this guy could really sense evil, what was he doing there in the first place? Maybe he's a fearless blind demon slayer. What else would explain his need to go to a movie? He's probably slumming because he usually only goes to 3-D Miramax presentations. Or he's on the Academy Awards nomination committee.

You expect great things from this guy because he doesn't belong. Guess what? Nada.

You've got the stereotyped black male with his hoes. He spends a lot of time shouting, but in the end his strutting and fretting (yeah, I've read MacBeth) comes to nothing. After that, once in while, his eyes glow in the dark, though.

Once in a while a lot happens. Once in a while the transformation is quick, but usually it's slow. Once in a while the theater is old, but it's surrounded by stressed concrete. Once in a while the demons can be killed, but usually nothing hurts them. Once in a while a special demon is created, but usually the creatures are just run of the mill super zombies. Once in a while the movie lures you into thinking it makes sense, but usually it's just one nonsequeter after another.

Is it gory? It's all the rainbow colors of gore! Red, green, yellow, and even clear gore drip and plop.

And here's the thing that makes you want to get your money back. Note that this is a spoiler. This movie theater inadvertently is serving as a portal to allow demons into the world outside of the theater. One of the demons accidentally escapes and, within a few hours, infests every living thing within a hundred miles of the theater with his disease.

So, you need the theater, you need people to show up, you need someone to try on the mask, you need to allow the infected person to infect others, you need one of the infected to make its way to a blocked off exit, you need this semi-sentient theater to let the creature out. That's a lot of "you need".

Supposedly there were original metal songs written for the movie by Billy Idol and Rick Springfield among others. Did I hear a Wham! ditty? A tune from Wham, or a Wham wannabe, counts as metal? How's everything else in your space-time continuum?

Chick flick potential is zip. Guy flick potential, depending upon amount of mind numbing drugs used is at best practically zip. Not fun, not coherent.

If you need to see a movie like this, only one that's coherent and occasionally funny, I'd recommend Shaun of the Dead instead and I didn't like Shaun of the Dead.

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