Directed By: Lamberto Bava
One of the joys about doing all this is that I get to work through some of my ‘to watch’ pile, which is getting bigger all the time (Along with piles of things to play, read and listen to). I had heard of this one from various recommendations on and off over the years but never got around to it (weirdly enough I had seen the sequel, released the following year and is basically just a remake of this one, even down to some of the same actors). Thankfully I got to see what all the fuss was about.
In West Berlin, a group of people are lured to the cinema with the promise of an advance screening, thanks to a guy dressed up as The Phantom and handing old gold tickets like he’s Willy Wonka. They’re there to see the screening of a terrible looking horror movie about demons, and wouldn’t you know it, the silver screen becomes real-life as a demon outbreak plagues the cinema too.
That’s…kind of it. We get an assortment of characters trapped in the cinema as the demons kill them off in various gross ways. And it’s awesome. You got various teens, a married couple there celebrating their anniversary. A blind man and his nymphomaniac carer, a street gang and finally Tony, who is a pimp and proof that neither Bava or his writers have met a black person before.
It’s ostensibly a siege movie, albeit one that lacks the high tension of something like Assault On Precinct 13 but makes up for it with general lunacy and character. Sure Tony looks he’s stepped right out of the set of Superfly but it’s probably what you want on a movie like this. To that end, the demons really serve more like zombies, except if zombies kind of hissed at you like cats did and spewed goo from their mouths.
It also has a rocking soundtrack. Billy Idol, Motley Crue, Scorpions, Rick Springfield, uh…Go West. I got no idea how they got them all to sign off on this but I’m glad they did because frankly, not enough movies have an American gang riding around Germany before the fall of the Berlin wall, sniffing cocaine and listening to Go West. And, if you ever wanted to see it, you get treated to a scene of one character melodramatically asking another to kill him with a sword and it’s amazing. Then, when you think they can’t top that, a character rides around on a motorbike chopping up motherfuckers like a low-rent Michael Dudikoff from American Ninja.
Brilliant. Just brilliant.