Demons (1985) Poster

(1985)

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10/10
100% entertainment.
misterronaldweasley31 December 2004
This has got to be one of the best Italian horror flicks ever made, which is no surprise considering it was produced by Dario Argento, master of Italian horror himself.

The plot can be summed up with one sentence: people are trapped in a movie theater with a horde of ugly, long-clawed demons and must fight to stay alive! Sure, the acting is completely over the top and laughable, the movie doesn't make any attempts to explain why the events are happening, there is really bad '80s rock music playing at all the wrong moments and the whole production screams cheesy B grade flick, but if you care about any of this anyways, what kind of horror fan are you?! This movie is just an 88 minute roller coaster ride of gore, rock music, and cool demons. What more could you ask for? It isn't very likely to scare you so much as make you laugh, and there are some classic moments for the genre such as a blind guy getting his eyes scratched out by a demon, a revolting puss-bursting scene, a crazily fun massacre near the end that never gets old to watch, and one of the best climaxes to a horror movie ever where the lead male character severs demon limbs left and right with a sword on a dirt bike! You have to hand it to director Lamberto Bava. He may not ever be remembered as the genius his father was (acclaimed Italian horror maestro Mario Bava), but he managed to create one of the best horror flicks of the '80s and today. The film exudes with an almost Gothic atmosphere and the setting of the big movie theater could not be more perfect in creating a mood.

A word of caution, though: this movie is a horror buff's wet dream, and it's strongly advisable you be sure you like real horror movies before seeing this so you know what you're getting into. This ain't no "Scream" or "The Grudge." This is a REAL horror movie. Fans of modern horror beware! You'll only end up thinking this was the worst piece of trash ever made.

So horror fans, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride! You're in for one hell of a fun movie.
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10/10
Demons is a great roller-coaster ride, from beginning to end!
efrain-219 January 2005
Demons epitomizes everything the early to mid eighties were about. A lot of things didn't make sense - but neither did the era so it fit in just fine. In the end, it plays out to be a great horror movie, with plenty of gratuitous violence and gore, a killer 80's soundtrack, and a couple of good scares! At the time this movie came out, Italian horror meisters Dario Argento and Lamberto Bava wanted nothing more than to have a hit in the American market. Dario had experienced a taste of that with his collaboration on Dawn of the Dead, but never from a full Italian production. To appeal to American audiences, they went with the soundtrack used here (songs from Billy Idol, Rick Springfield, etc.), and even used some American actors (like Bobby Rhodes who plays the pimp, in even comes back in Demons 2 as a different character).

To add to the hype, they released it to limited distribution (not by choice I'm sure) in the states, unrated (just as "Day of the Dead" had just been released in similar fashion). Back in the 80's, it was real hard for an 11 year old to be allowed in to see an unrated movie, even with a parent (or someone posing as one as in my case!) - nonetheless, I got to see both of these - and although I was disturbed for weeks - I loved every second of Demons.

Years later I have acquired it on a double DVD with Demons 2. I love the original, in all its uncut glory! Knowing more about the production, I get a kick out of the fact that the guy at the beginning giving out the theater tickets (the guy with the mask) was then aspiring filmmaker Michele Soavi, who would just a couple of years later become an Argento protégé with movies like Stagefright, and his own classic Dellamorte Dellamore (Cemetary Man). I also get a kick out of how many movies, older than the original Demons, claim to be Demons sequels and have even had name changes. Unfortunately for us fans, there were only two real Demons movies made, the third never saw fruition. Too bad - if a real one ever came out - I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd run out to see it.
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What more could you ask for?
billybrown4129 December 2002
For an 80s gore-fest, you couldn't want anything more. This is another one of those "kitchen sink" movies that's in the same vein as "From Dusk Till Dawn". Put the same scenario in a movie house, back in the 80s, substitute the vampires with demons, and you pretty much get the picture. You can definitely see the influence here. With that said, if you liked "From Dusk.." and don't mind dubbing, then you should be right at home with "Demons".

There isn't a whole lot there in the way of plot. Some random folks are invited to a screening in an old movie theater. As the movie that they are viewing gets more and more violent, real life starts to imitate art and pretty soon, they discover that they are locked inside and what we're watching becomes a survival flick. That's pretty much it.

As far as gore, there is PLENTY of the red stuff with enough eye-gouging, throat ripping, and blood spurting to satisfy even the most ravenous gore hound. To say much more would give away a lot of the surprises, but it's well worth a rental. Check it out.
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Now this is a horror movie!
darlenefraser20003 February 2001
Watching "Demons" I came to the conclusion that, no matter how many of the "Scream" films they make, nothing compares to this horror flick!. I'm not saying it's the greatest horror flick of all time. But it certanly entertains, and scares the hell out of you. Even after several viewings. The setting for the film is just right.The music terrific too! honestly I've seen this flick like 1000 times. And it still freaks me out. I've not seen parts 3 or 4 yet but from the reviews I've heard, they sound pretty interesting, so I'm certanly going to track them both down. For those of you who think that the 90's versions of horror films are the only saving grace to this genre, do yourself a favour catch a few of the 80's horror flicks like "Demons" they are what horror movies should be!
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7/10
The Night of the Living Demons in a Movie Theater
claudio_carvalho2 June 2004
In West Berlin, a stranger wearing a mask randomly distributes tickets for the reopening of the Metropol movie theater on the streets for different persons, including a blind man. Cheryl (Natasha Hovey) gets two tickets in the subway and invites her friend Kathy (Paola Cozzo) to skip their music class and go to the movie theater to watch the film. The viewers come to the restored Metropol without having any information about the film they will see in the advance screening. While waiting for the beginning of the preview, a woman sees an exposed promotional mask of a demon and accidentally scratches her face with the object. When the film begins, the foregoing woman transforms in a monster in the same way it is happening on the screen with the characters of the film, in a kind of weird connection. She attacks the audience, and each viewer that is infected by a monster, is contaminated and transformed in another monster, threatening the rest of the defenseless persons. Sooner the survivors realize that they are trapped in the locked building.

The first time I saw "Demons" was in the mid 80's. I recall that it made me feel very uncomfortable. Then I saw this film many other times on VHS and today (04 November 2010) I have just seen it on DVD. This claustrophobic and sick film is a scary horror movie indeed. The story recalls "The Night of the Living Dead", only using gruesome demons instead of zombies. The disgusting make-up and special effects are excellent and compensate the weak performances of most of the cast. Bigas Luna used part of this idea in his 1987 "Angustia". The music score is awesome and this movie is only recommended for fans of trash-movies and is a classic in the genre. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Demons – Filhos das Trevas" ("Demons – Sons of the Darkness")
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Argento fun!!!
Michele Soavi as the man with the half human half metal face!!! Fun times. The plot is filled with holes, like why do some people take so long to turn when others it takes seconds, and what was up with thee usherette being so menacing..she did squat. Over 30 or so people get trapped inside a really creepy theater after they are all given free movie tickets. When a very annoying prostitute puts on a demonic mask on display in the lobby, within fifteen minutes later she has pus bubbles exploding from her face, and is attacking her other prostitute friends. One by one people are transformed, as gory as any italian horror movie can get. The direction is actually really good and Lamberto Bava goes all out on colors and angles (which horror italian director doesn't)and the soundtrack goes well with the eighties look. I also really had fun times with the 4 punks snorting coke outside the theatre, but they really added nothing to the plot and at times just seem to be there to fill time, without a doubt though the gore is the highlight of this flick. Throats getting ripped open, scalps getting teared off, puke and pus splatter continuously,a huge tongue sliding out one of the demons mouth, demons getting hacked with a sword, the most gruesome scene is definitely the blind man getting his empty eye sockets gouged out..HARSH. The characters are so hard to tell apart and we don't evn see some of the patrons faces. I don't remember any characters really except the coolest "pimp" Tony, the sexy usherette, the four punks and the "GEORGE" character (mainly only cause i recognized him from OPERA), but this movie obviously isn't meant for character development.

So all in all I give Demons **1/2 out of **** It's really cool, but only worth watching for cool visuals, soundtrack, and gore.
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8/10
"That'll teach you to touch stuff!"
MrGrundle9 June 2006
WOW! The above quote is what the pimp says to his 'ho after she cuts her face on a mask. A prescient utterance indeed!

With a pounding heavy metal score accented by a phenomenal opening track from Dario Argento's band Goblin, DEMONS grips from the onset and never stops, despite a paper- thin plot that appears as if the filmmakers made it up as they went along. As far as campy genre films go, this one is near the top. I don't consider this a B-movie however, as the production is smooth if not polished and the special effects are very well done. Some of the dubbing is atrocious and the acting is way over the top, but the characters are rich and well cast, and this colorful feature has entertained me greatly many a late night.

The capricious nature of this film and its absence of levity call to mind the lighthearted works of John Carpenter (the throbbing keyboard of the aforementioned title track borrows Carpenter's trademark sound). Carpenter also introduces complex characters with little or no background information or explanation: Stevie Wayne, Adrienne Barbeau's character in THE FOG, obviously has a marked past but the only allusions to such are glances at old newspaper clippings and her deadpan utterance "It's nothing but water Stevie, but it sure beats Chicago." The delivery and structure of the dialog here possesses similar elan: the filmmakers seem to embrace that their work is fiction, celebrating the comical and inane. Characters are killed off with reckless abandon without sentimental moments or glib last words...In this type of film it's not about how long you live, but how well you die!

This lack of pretension creates a freedom to enjoy without conceit, appreciable by viewer as well as production staff. This is integral to the success of many genre films that must compensate for light substance with abundances of style. DEMONS carves its niche in my heart largely with 80's pop culture and stereotypes. The actors here play caricatures more than real human roles. Halfway through the film we see coked up punks cruising Berlin in stolen cars. What needs to be said about them that isn't readily seen? They're all demon fodder anyway, right?

8/10* Terrifically entertaining! Best watched late at night.
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8/10
This gory horror film is entertaining for fans of the genre.
hu67525 September 2005
Sereval people are invited to join the opening of a new movie theater is been renovated from an old Gothic structure. Cheryl (Natasha Hovey) and her best friend-Hannah (Fiore Argento) decide to skip class to be there for the opening night. When a prostitute (Geretta Giancarlo) tries a demon prop mask from the new film and it cuts her face. When Cheryl and Hannah become friends with two young guys:George (Urbano Barberini) and Ken (Karl Zinny), while watching the movie. When the Prostitute watches the film, her cut is eventually starts to fester, turning her into a green-drooling demon. She kills and then can transforms people by scratching with her nails. The movie theater is unexpectedly blocked from the inside, not letting people get out. While sereval survivors are trying to get out of the movie theater before it is too late.

Directed by Lamberto Bava (A Blade in the Dark, Delirium, Frozen Terror) made an amusing gory horror film with some strong visual style and a heavy metal soundtrack. Although the film is badly dubbed in English, too bad... The DVD (From "Anchor Bay Entertainment") doesn't have the original Italian dubbing. The story is extremely thin but it has some good moments (The film within a film is the highlight).

DVD has an clean non-anamorphic Widescreen (1.66:1) transfer and an fine-Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. The DVD has an audio commentary track by the filmmakers, a short behind the scenes featurette and the original theatrical trailer. The film has become an international hit that spawned a sequel (Made by the same director) and a non-related sequel in 1989 titled "The Church". This film is written by Dario Argento (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Creepers, Deep Red), director:Bava and Franco Ferrini (Sleepless, The Stendhal's Syndrome, Two Evil Eyes) . From a story by Dardano Sacchetti. Argento also produced this film. (*** ½/*****).
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AN EXECELLENT INTRO INTO THE WORLD OF EURO-SPLATTER FILMS
EVOL66626 September 2003
this is a fun, gory euro-horror film.

i'm a big fan of argento and the main reason this film and demons 2 work so well is because it is decidedly tame as far as story line is concerned.

very simple, people go to a screening of a film, and all gory hell breaks loose- 'nuff said.

i've been enthralled by almost everything dario argento has made, with the exception of "phantom of the opera" (with julian sands) and the one about bugs (i can't remember the title off-hand...). argento usually uses complex story lines along with gore to make his films work (which they often do in films like suspiria, tenebrae, opera, etc...). but this film is just balls-out blood and guts.

9/10 - great euro-gore
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7/10
Sanguinary Demons Infest West Berlin
Lamberto Bava's "Dèmoni" aka. "Demons" of 1985 is a gory, stylish and very entertaining horror flick written by the master, Dario Argento. I'm sure getting acknowledged in Horror cinema wasn't easy for director Lamberto Bava , being the son of Mario Bava, beyond doubt one of the all-time greatest horror geniuses in motion picture history. Expectations must have certainly been high. But although Lamberto Bava does certainly not manage to reach his father's brilliance, "Demons" is definitely worth watching.

Cheryl (Natasha Hovey) is given free tickets for a sneak preview by a mysteriously dressed man at a Berlin subway station. Accompanied by a friend, she goes to see the movie at the eerie-looking 'Metropol' cinema. Before the film starts, a woman scratches herself on a creepy silver mask in the waiting hall. The film, which turns out to be a Horror flick tells the story of a prediction by Nostradamus, connected with a demonic mask.

The plot is not that original, but the film is made in a very stylish manner, with a good cinematography, and great color play in the tradition of Mario Bava and Dario Argento. The gore is intense, lots of slicing, stabbing cutting and biting. The cast may not be phenomenal, but Natasha Hovey delivers a good leading performance and there are a bunch of funny characters, such as a black pimp named Tony (played by Bobby Rhodes) and the two hookers he is accompanied by, as well as a strange blind guy and his wife and a very strange usherette. The main part of the score was composed by Claudio Simonetti of the great Progressive Rock band Goblin, whose ingenious soundtracks have also complimented many of Dario Argento's movies.

Being a huge fan of Dario Argento, I must say that "Dèmoni" does definitely not live up to most of the movies Argento directed himself. Nevertheless, it is an extremely entertaining Horror flick that doesn't scant with blood and gore, and especially the gory sequences are very stylishly made. If you expect the quality of Argento's or Mario Bava's masterpieces, you will probably be disappointed. Just expect a very stylish, gory and extremely entertaining Horror flick, and your expectations will easily be fulfilled. Recommended. 7/10
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9/10
Gore-fest.
Giallo196326 September 2016
I first time saw this movie when I was a teenager and honestly, I liked it. But at that time I had no idea of how original this movie is. It's not zombies, it's not witches, it's not aliens, it's not superhuman killers but demons. Demons with a mysterious origin that is as obscure as how absurd this movie is. There are many things I really like about this movie, the special-effects, the gore, the absurdity, the irony, the coal black humor, the music and the atmosphere. Firstly, it has an absurd story. Almost as if psychotic, people gather inside a cinema to watch a movie because they got invited. Among them, a black woman, cuts herself with a creepy and mysterious mask. Unknowing to her and the people around her the mask turns humans into murdering demons. When her transformation completed, it didn't take long before there are a lot demons loose in the cinema. The people can't escape because the exits were walled with concrete, with no logical explanation. That is absurd, but the story isn't the most important here, it is mostly a special-effects movie. With the demons, comes along a fest of practical special-effects, violence and gore. Secondly, the special-effects are still impressive, also disgusting and that's the reason why practical special-effects are still better than CGI.

We see normal, human teeth coming off, replaced by what appears to be more like shark teeth. We also see human nails replaced with claws, flesh being torn and lots of blood. All done with practical special-effects. The special-effects seemed quite demanding and hard to execute, but it went so well I still find them convincing to this day. Thinking about it gives me a little nausea. But amid-st the gore, violence and absurdity of all, the movie has sense of humor and irony. For example, the people trapped inside the cinema blames the movie for what is happening. Yes that is illogical (and funny) but it has a strong reflection on reality, with censors and people often blaming movies for promoting violence and making people violent. That is absurd. More of the humor bits is the blind man who went to the cinema, oh the irony! How about the coke inside the Coca Cola can? Hilarious! The music is quite exotic, adding to the absurdity of the movie. Also the atmosphere, the atmosphere is so absurd the movie feels more like a nightmare. It is almost like a comic book. Which I like a lot. I love movies with atmosphere. Like I wrote earlier, this is quite original. Unlike most movies you'll see today or of yesterday. I didn't realize that as a teenager but now I do. I actually like it more than I did as a teenager. This movie is pure cult movie gold. 9/10
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10/10
A gory trash classic of Italian cinema
Leofwine_draca18 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
To enjoy this film, one must throw aside any preconceptions you may have about it. Ignore the fact that Argento produced it (except for one claustrophobic tracking shot around a brick wall, there is no evidence of Argento's presence), and ignore the fact that the director is the son of Mario Bava, the son of a man who helmed some of the best, most stylish movies of the Italian Gothic era. DEMONS is an all-out visceral assault on the senses, packed with frenetic action, all manner of slop and gore, and not an ounce of realism anywhere.

Thank god for the Italians and their willingness to push the boundaries of convention and good taste. These guys dwell on the violence, enjoying every bit, using every opportunity to disgust and offend the viewer. Throughout the film we're treated to eyeballs being torn out, necks ripped asunder, stabbings, decapitations, and for the piece de resistance, a character getting his head impaled on a spike. What more could you possibly want? How about some amusing dubbing, bad acting and hilarious dialogue? Check. The fun factor is lifted about a hundred times by the presence of Bobby Rhodes' pimp, a heroic leader who spouts some of the most hilarious lines you'll ever have heard - all the more amusing as he was dubbed by some loud-mouthed American. Action man Rhodes is the real star of the two DEMONS films, although he only has a supporting role in them. Acting amid a cast of nondescript youngsters in DEMONS, he plays Tony, a pimp who has come to the cinema with his two prostitutes. When people start turning into demons, Rhodes immediately takes control of the survivors.

Personally, I love films set in just one location, and this one doesn't fail to create a claustrophobic feel, as well as a spooky atmosphere. It's also frequently scary, partly due to some effective slow-motion scenes of demons walking towards the camera, backlit, with shining blank eyes (so good they used it for the video cover). The low budget is fairly obvious, but gives the film a gritty, dirty feel adding to the horror. If you're expecting this film to make sense, then don't bother watching it. Minor characters frequently disappear and no more is heard of them, some sub-plots are added in just to further the plot.

The most obvious one of these is the arrival of a group of drug-snorting cokeheads in their car, their presence merely allowing a demon to escape into the streets and make way for the "shock ending". One of these guys is a dead ringer for Sylvestor Stallone, and this pointless plot makes little sense or reason. A good example of this film's contrivances appears when a helicopter crashes through the roof towards the finale, merely allowing for an escape route for our heroes. What gets me is that a lot of people criticise this for not being realistic, but is the whole premise of people turning into drooling monsters realistic? I think not.

The fast pacing means that there's plenty of opportunity for some quick, sticky shocks. This gore isn't disturbing - it's highly unrealistic - but merely adds to the fun. Goo flies everywhere at every opportunity as the cinema goers get slaughtered. The pounding score adds to the manic feel. Good use is made of the film-within-a-film factor, as events are played out in parallel in front of the big screen (a good example is when a knife rips through a tent in the film-within-the-film, while at the same time a possessed victim rips through the screen material with her fingernails!). The makeup is actually very good, really disgusting and disturbing because of this. The demons overact wildly, but it works for me here, and comes nowhere near as embarrassing as the over the top actress in DEMONS 2. A highlight of the film comes when a wonderfully-scary looking demon climbs out of some poor soul's back (!) and runs off into the shadows. Would this have looked as good with CGI? I don't think so. It's animatronics and prosthetics all the way, and they've never looked so good.

DEMONS isn't an intelligent film, but then again it doesn't claim to be so. The visceral excess sets it way above many other American dumb gorefests of the '80s, and it has a unique quality which makes it very worthwhile. It's not a brilliant film, but a greatly enjoyable one nonetheless. The sequel followed a year later but lacked both the imagination and the impact of this one, seeing as it was just a rerun set in a tower block instead of a cinema.
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8/10
Fast paced, fun 80's horror.
Fella_shibby16 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Co-written by Dario Argento, produced by William Lustig (director of Maniac) and directed by Lamberto Bava (son of horror legend Mario). Some might argue that Bava Junior doesn't have the talents of Bava Senior. I saw this for the first time in the late 80's. Ten rupees rental man. It was hilarious, the demons were funny looking, the picture was too dark and the acting was atrocious. Love the scene at the end where the guy is on the motorcycle swinging the sword at all the demons chopping them up and decapitating them. The nihilistic ending sees the remaining survivors escaping the theater, only to discover the city over-run by demons. This movie has everything; violence, blood, action, 80's metal, and all kinds of other things. This is about people who get invited to a theater to see a horror flick, but it turns out to be a movie from hell.
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6/10
Extremely violent and bloody film that spawned several sequels and imitations .
ma-cortes9 January 2013
Gruesome picture in acceptable budget plenty of chills , suspense , screams , lots of gore , blood and guts . This actually is a very terrifying and frightening film ; dealing with a demonic infection spreads people in modern cinema . Selected at random , people on the street are invited to an advance screen of a new horror movie . There a prostitute is bitten and becomes a drooling , fanged demon . In a killing rage , she tears apart other in the movie theater . As a group of people are trapped in a large movie theater in West Berlin that is infected by ravenous , clawed demons who proceed to kill and posse the humans one-by-one, transforming into bloody creatures who attack the remaining humans , thereby multiplying their numbers . When the members of the cinema attempt to getaway , they find themselves caught within .

This exciting picture contains thrills, chills , graphic violence , action-filled with fierce fights and loads of gore and guts. The horror and action moments are fast moving and compactly realized . This is an effective and simple movie ; it results to be an acceptable Italian horror , including functional special effects realized in traditional style , but also some plot elements are plain stupid . The creepy images of wide range from the genuinely horrifying to the bizarre along with scary and amazing frames . The flesh-eating demons appearance deliver the goods, plenty of screams, shocks and tension . The picture displays shocking and well-crafted transformation in charge of expert make-up artist Sergio Stivaletti . The make-up assistants create a truly horrible cannibal demons , zombies-alike . A poster for ¨4 flies on grey velvet¨ is visible in the lobby of the theatre: it's the title of writer/producer Dario Argento's third film ; there also appears other posters such as : ¨Nosferatu¨ , ¨Metropolis¨ and ¨Non Nukes¨ . Commercial musical score , full of hard rock and catching songs performed by known singers as Billy Idol and Rick Springfield . Good production design , as the building used for the exteriors of the Metropol theater still stands in Berlin ; it's a club called Goya that's been host to several horror conventions thanks to its appearance in this film.

The motion picture was compellingly directed by Lamberto Bava , he cites this as his personal favorite of the flicks he has filmed and in which he shows nice visual style . His father, Mario Bava (1914-1980), was a legendary filmmaker ; he entered the cinema as his father's personal assistant, starting with ¨Planet of horror ¨(1965). Bit by bit he gained experience from his father, who made him the assistant director for most of the rest of his films. He even co-wrote the screenplay for ¨Shock¨ (1977) . Lamberto enjoyed his best commercial success to date with this "Demons" , produced by Dario Argento, co-written by Dardano Sacchetti and filmed in West Berlin, Germany . This international hit smash allowed him to co-write, produce and direct a sequel, Demons II (1986) that was also successful and turned out to be an improvement on previous film . He also directed a remake of his father's "Black Sunday" (1960), which was titled "La Maschera del Demonio" or International title "Demons 5: The Devil's Veil¨ . He used the pseudonym of "John Old Jr." , which was a tribute to his father Mario, who often used the pseudonym "John M. Old" . Lamberto has directed films about all kind of genres such as : ¨Blastfighter¨ , ¨A blade in the dark¨ , ¨Shark: red on the ocean¨, and ¨Macabro¨ that achieved critical fame in some quarters ; however , today Bava Jr. only directs television movies : ¨Fantaghiro¨ and sequels , ¨Caribbean pirates¨ , among others . Rating : Acceptable and passable atmospheric film-making from genre master Bava's son that achieved great acclaim among gore buffs . A must see for horror fans .
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8/10
i love cheaply made Italian b-movies!
gibsonismybitch3 February 2005
I recently found this movie on the ground in the parking lot of the restaurant that i work in. i brought it home popped it in, and couldn't stop watching it. yes it has plot lines from other movies, but what movie doesn't? i say this is an all around good choice for any group getting together for a night of movies. i recommend this movie to any person who has a "true" appreciation for movies. Just don't expect any big name actors. I would like to thank Mr. Bava for creating such a masterpiece. So if anyone finds this film in a parking lot, or at your local video store, pick it up and check it out. you won't be disappointed.
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8/10
A Semi-Coherent, Metal-as-Hell, Glorious Slice of Eighties Horror Cheese
SpotMonkee4 December 2016
My status as a film buff seems to exist in two separate states. On the one hand, I will wax lyrical about the subtle genius of Godard, Fassbinder, and Bertolucci. I'll watch pretentious European art-house cinema of the most stereotypical variety without even a hint of irony. I will regard Ingmar Bergman as a literal god-figure to worshiped in all of his glory. On the other hand, I will spend forty-plus dollars on a blu-ray of Dario Argento's Phenomena and gush over the sheer lunacy of B-movies. Demons (or Demoni, in its native Italy) is everything a geek like me could want. Gratuitous gore and violence, questionable dubbing, explosions, and a kick-ass eighties soundtrack. Co-written and produced by Italian horror maestro Dario Argento (Suspiria, Deep Red), Demons came from Argento's desire to create a purely commercial film after tasting such success with 1978's Dawn of the Dead. Thus, Demons is a film with little in the way of a coherent plot or deep characterization. And yet somehow it manages to be wholly appealing at the same time. The plot, which follows the spread of a zombie-like form of demonic possession spreading through a Berlin movie theater, exists solely to facilitate the numerous action and scare sequences. The score by Argento regular Claudio Simonetti (of Goblin fame) manages to be exciting, creepy, and perfectly suited to adrenaline-soaked visuals. This film is entertainment, pure and simple. To anyone looking to get into B-movies or Italian horror (or better yet, both) I highly recommend this film as it's a very accessible entry point into both genres. Just sit back, open a can of Coke, shut your brain off, and prepare to have the time of your life.
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10/10
A Hooker with a Heart... for Satan!
accattone7420 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Before going deep into describing the glories and details of Demons, let it be said right off the bat (1) just how incredibly fun this film is, and (2) that its greatness has nothing to do with Lamberto Bava. There's a frivolity, joy and quasi-anarchy to Demons that was missing in a lot of Italian Horror since the overnight success of The Bird with the Crystal Plummage 15 years prior. That landmark in giallo ushered in a more adult-themed era within the Italian Horror industry, with the majority of films in the 1970s having less to do with evil, revenge, greed or fate, and more to do with psychological and sexual aberrations, and trauma, in particular of the Freudian kind. This is neither good nor bad, and there are certainly exceptions (Suspiria, Zombie), but even when Argento enters the world of the supernatural, he finds it difficult to let go completely of the psychological tether, going so far as to refer to the head witch of Suspiria, Helena Markos being not just an embodiment of evil, but mentally unhinged, insane. Demons, produced and co-written by Argento, is a return to not just a more pure form of Horror, but also of entertainment.

Demons is directed by Lamberto Bava, the son of Mario, who had spent the first 15 years of his time in the industry (1965-1980) being an assistant director and screenwriter for not just his father, but for Argento and Ruggero Deodato (Cannibal Holocaust, Jungle Holocaust). Nothing L. Bava did up to Demons, or after for that matter, appeals to me very much. As is the case with Armando Crispino's Autopsy, I love Demons for what it is as a whole – the parts that make it up don't warrant as much individual, intellectual dissection as many of the other great Italian Horror films do. There's an interesting, if not fascinating, argument here that if one has a pristine script (Argento, Franco Ferrini, Dardano Sacchetti) and an excellent helmsman/producer (again Argento), then perhaps a director of optimal powers isn't necessary to pull off a superior piece of work.

The plot of Demons is a delightful one indeed and will appeal to the legion of Zombie Film fans out in the world, although as with more contemporary films like 28 Days Later these aren't the living dead, or even the 'infected'. Instead they are exactly as the title of the film states – demons.

The film begins with a music-major university student, Cheryl, riding the Berlin subway. The opening credits roll as she, and us, take a gander at the other occupants of the subway car – this firmly places the film in the 1980s, as the car is full of all the New Wave and punk rock denizens one comes to expect from a lot of Euro-horror at this time. Handed a free ticket for a new movie by a mute man in a metallic demon mask, Cheryl convinces her friend Kathy to go with her. Once at the movie theatre (named the Metrol), which is full of patrons who also received mysterious tickets, Cheryl and Kathy find some cute boys to sit with. In the lobby of the theatre, I should mention, is a sculpture that has hanging from it the same demon mask from before. One of the patrons, a fierce Apollonia 6-inspired hooker named Rosemary, teases her pimp by putting the mask to her face to try and scare him. Unfortunately for her, but fortunately for us, the inside of the mask cuts her face and causes her to bleed. At this point, anyone with even the slightest semblance of knowledge of Horror films, and Italian Horror in particular (see Black Sunday) knows that Rosemary has just become patient zero for something truly abyssal.

Within 10 minutes (during which time the movie within the movie has already started, a movie that involves a gaggle of teens coming across a decrepit ruin, a ruin which has the same demon mask buried in a shallow pit) Rosemary feels ill and has to excuse herself to the ladies room (she has a meeting… with Satan!) Where the mask cut her face, Rosemary now has a large pustule, pregnant with demonic semen. Within moments it bursts forth, and the now hellishly infected Rosemary carries the Devil's contagion inside her. Soon, several more become infected (via a scratch or bite from Rosemary), and the theatre is eventually crawling with rabid demons. Meanwhile, one of the characters in the movie playing on the Metrol screen has also cut himself on the mask, and becomes infected with demon juice – the meta- fiction runs wild in this film.

By Demons' climax, most of the patrons are Satan's converts (save Cheryl and her boy-toy), including some truly crazy young punks who entered the theatre by the back way. Without giving away the ending completely, let's just say that mankind's future doesn't look too bright in Demons.

What sets this film apart is the quick pace, the truly horrific and terrifying special effects (including a particular demon-birth involving someone on all fours that still freaks me out to this day), the legitimate scares, the velocity of the demons themselves, the phantasmagorical lighting and ambiance, the heavy metal score (Saxon and Accept being the highlights), and one of my personal favorites in a horror film – the notion of apocalypse. In this way its influence is still with us to this day. But more than anything Demons is a truly wild, wild ride, and one of the most purely shocking films of its time.
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8/10
Terror in the aisles
drownnnsoda8 January 2015
A group of various people wind up at an apparently newly renovated movie theater in West Berlin in the 1980s for a movie premiere— a horror film, apparently. There are strange metallic demon masks in the lobby. Promotional material, perhaps? As the film starts, the screams on screen become a reality, as it seems that audience members are becoming possessed by demons one-by-one. Even more unfortunate is the fact that someone has sealed all potential exits.

It took me years to get around to seeing this film, though I've heard it lauded for years. While there are certainly better genre films out there, "Demons" is a solid and incessantly entertaining zombie flick. Backed by a script co-written by maestro Dario Argento and with fluid direction from Lamberto Bava, there is a hell of a lot of fun to be had here; think, "Evil Dead" in a movie theater, except with a killer '80s soundtrack.

There are some remarkable special effects on display, which may be a highlight for many people. The pace is rather quick and there are few dull moments, although there is a nice establishment of atmosphere in the old-fashioned cinema house that becomes increasingly claustrophobic once our characters realize they've been walled in. Aesthetically, the film is quite dated, and shows its eighties colors rather extravagantly (Euro punks in leather jackets driving around to Billy Idol), but if you can appreciate the extravagance of the period, you can definitely appreciate the extravagance of the bloody disaster of an auditorium that you get here.

At the end of the day, this is simply a fun film, and one that cinephiles will especially appreciate given the self-reflexive cinema overtones. Eighties kitsch does not a bad film make. 8/10.
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7/10
Simple, effective horror film should have had a bigger cult following
burlesonjesse510 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Long before the TV show The Walking Dead and Ruben Fleischer's exhilarating Zombieland (2009), came this campy motion picture rooted in good ol' fashioned blood and gore. Filmed primarily in Berlin, Germany and made by an Italian director, Demons is a clear snapshot of what an 80's horror film is supposed to be. Although the idea for it is surprisingly original, this puppy runs rampant with nostalgia from that era. Characters have the big hair (the women really spritz it up for this one), they tie their sweaters around their necks (everyone has got that Kmart look going on) and the grimness of cheesy synthesizer music is abundant in every frame (added to that, heavy metal tunes sometime appear in the movie's soundtrack). Most of the actors in Demons also come off as mean and shallow. They all however, have perfect, innocent faces for the look of a scary movie (except for this one guy who's got a chrome dome and sideburns the size of Texas). Plus, they are all quite amusing due to the virtual dubbing (it sounded like dubbing) in every spoken word of their dialogue. And let's not forget another trait for splatter films of the 1980's. Most of the cast in Demons accomplishes it in that they are virtually unknown and comprised of actors and actresses you'll never see or hear from again. Let me ask you a question, have you ever heard of Urbano Barberini and Karl Zinny? Yeah, me neither.

The make up of this high jinks exercise in unabashed fun goes like this: A woman on a subway has visions of a mysterious man who is facially scarred and wears a creepy mask. When she gets off the subway, this same man follows her and gives her a ticket for a free movie showing at a theater in West Berlin. She then proceeds to invite her friend (the two of them skip their high school classes, not a good idea) and they venture to the theater along with 40 or so other people (these people were also randomly given tickets and summoned by the same creepy dude who doesn't utter one word). Once everyone is settled in the half empty building, a random horror film is shown on screen, a woman in the audience turns into a demon (I can't tell you how, you gotta watch for yourself) and chaos ensues (the rule is that if a possessed person bites or scratches you, you become a demon as well). Everyone therefore is trapped in the theater for some strange reason (I figured why don't they find out where the entrance is at which they came in and try to break it down, oh well).

I must say I was entertained and sort of taken aback by this flick. It harked back to my childhood where you could wake up, flip on the cable box at 4am, and see something like this playing on Showtime or Cinemax. Like I said earlier, Demons has what I like to think of as a pretty original idea for a fright fest. But make no mistake about it; it's still a run-of-the mill exercise in horror fare. It does just what you want it to do, nothing more, and nothing less. And that's okay with me. Yeah its got elements from the George Romero movies and The Evil Dead (1981) (minus the slight comedic vibe), but Demons still manages to be effective because it does an adequate job of establishing the characters, setting up the shocks and scares (it takes a good 20 minutes before things get going and this is an 88 minute flick), and not straying too far away from the focus of the story (only during the 1 hour mark do things go off on a small tangent). Another treat is that this special effects behemoth marks the first time I've seen or heard the following tidbits in any movie of any genre: Billy Idol's rock anthem "White Wedding" playing in the background, two female characters who are deadpan look-alikes of the late Corey Haim and late rock superstar Rick James (I'm not kidding folks), another character wielding a samurai sword while on a motorcycle (hacking zombies along the way and riding through a movie theater no less), even another character who is blind and actually taking in the movie within a movie (huh?), and an interesting product placement for Coca Cola (you'll know it when you see it).

If you're into horror films and want to invade the time warp which is the mid 80's, Demons will probably satisfy your thirst for terror. I mean who doesn't want to see the indelible sight of flesh eating ghouls walking down a corridor with their creepy ceiling shadows. Ah, they sure don't make em' like this anymore and if they did now, they'd be hard pressed to emulate the veritable time capsule that is this movie. Oh, and I almost forgot about the ending. It makes it an even better film than it really is. I was caught off guard by it but I thought yeah, this makes sense. So to end this review, I'll say this: if Demons ever makes it to the midnight movie circuit (I'm not sure it hasn't) then you should get a bunch of your friends together and check it out. You'll get to see a movie within a movie at a movie theater. Got it. Now get to it ASAP!
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10/10
Fun cheese-fest
matheusmarchetti12 October 2008
"Demons" is one of those films which, as a film, pretty much SUCK, but still are very enjoyable and have a great rewatchability factor. The film is clearly over-the-top, the acting is outrageous (mostly due to the terrible English dubbing) and the FX is just laughable, but is an overall fun cheese-fest. If you're looking for a serious horror movie and your typical Argento film you'll probably hate this one, so, watch it with an open mind and you'll enjoy it. There's some nice gore in it (typical Argento) and one thing that I loved in this film is the photography! The film is sort of Suspiria-ish (on a visual note, that is. Suspiria is million times better), the use of colors and the sets are just striking, and there are lots of atmospheric, beautiful to look at and yet terribly frightening, classic moments, such as the demons walking down the hallway sequence, and coming from the son of Mario Bava and produced by Dario Argento, I wouldn't be surprised if there were some great visuals. The cheesy, 80's music by Claudio Simonetti is also fun to listen and helps to build the suspense. Overall, despise the cheesiness, Demons is a very fun film to watch with friends and remember, don't take it seriously!
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10/10
Demons is great!!!!
tinchimp4 March 2000
Demons is one of the greatest movies ever, due partially to one of the greatest portrayals of pimping that I have ever seen (Bobby Rhodes). There is very little in the way of either plot or logic- but if you want that sort of thing, go see Gone with the Wind! Its violent, its dubbed, except are on the soundtrack. Demons is a winner everyday of the week!!!!
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4/10
Not even good as a "bad" movie.
latherzap9 May 2002
Imagine watching a 90 minute home movie of a friend of yours running back and forth in a single room, frequently screaming as '80s heavy metal music blasts from a cheap radio. That right there gives you a pretty good idea what the Demons experience is like. The only difference is that instead of a single friend in a room, we have a whole audience of idiots running around a movie theater.

Absolutely NO sense of pacing. Monotony. A complete bore. But throw in one or two scenes with interesting lighting, and some people with bad taste proclaim this a classic.

Is there anything good about this movie? Well, sort of. A couple of good special effects, and some (one scene, actually) of the lighting is interesting. Some of the '80s fashion is amusing. But ultimately, it sucks.
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8/10
Nice and juicy Italian cult film with a rocking soundtrack.
Captain_Couth25 November 2003
Demons (1985) is a movie that has to be seen with a nice stereo sound system because the music rocks. Demons is gooey and bloody. It's also nicely accompanied by an awesome soundtrack. Argento wanted to produce a movie that was a mindless and brainless exercise of absurdity, an instant popcorn movie that was going to make him and his investors a lot of money. Well, with the aid of Lamberto Bava he accomplished what he set out to do. The results are what you see on the screen. An action packed thrill ride. A movie from the 80's. A young woman and her friend are given tickets to a movie by a masked man who sort of resembles Lou Reed (Michael Soavi). Argento's daughter is in this picture (Fiore Argento), Lamberto Bava has a cameo appearence and 70's Italian child star Nicoletta Elmi (she's all grown up!) has a role as the theatre usherette. If you like cheesy horror films, this one's right up your alley. Highly recommended.

A
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9/10
Senseless horror fun at its best!
Nightman8527 October 2006
Lamberto Bava's wild cult classic is a knock-out of bloody horror mayhem.

Folks watching a horror movie suddenly find themselves trapped in the theater as they are attacked by grisly killer demons!

While Demons lacks logic in its storyline, it more than makes up for it with some truly wicked action and awesome makeup FX. The title characters are quite effectively scary, the violent action is over the top but in a completely fun way. There's also a fair amount of suspense and shock to keep the movie nicely edgy. Director Bava throws in some great visuals and Claudio Simonetti adds a great music score. Also thrown in is some great rock-metal music.

Although dubbed badly, the cast manages to hold together. Hero Urbano Barberini is the best of the cast - just check out that wild motorcycle ride through the theater!

A must see for Italian horror fans and a true treat for fans of senseless shock! A winner.

Followed by a sequel in 1986.

*** 1/2 out of ****
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2/10
Zombies from hell
p-stepien1 August 2010
Cheryl (Natasha Hovey), a student in West Berlin, travels the subway where she encounters an eerie masked man ('Phantom of the Opera' style), who offers her a free ticket to the cinema. Intrigued she asks for a second for her girlfriend Hannah (Fiora Argento). That evening they arrive to the Metropol, a long closed theatre on the night of its grand reopening. The premiere movie is a horror flick as if taken from the annals of "Evil Dead" (they even find a Necronomicon type ancient book). Swiftly and deadly the fiction on the silver screen transforms into reality as cinema-goers start changing into zombie-like demons...

I can't help but feel that the undeserved high ranking of the movie is given in a large part due to the participation of the legendary Dario Argento, an icon of horror movies and poster boy for Italian cinema in general. But in general this movie is a total bust with over-the-top kitsch gore, bad acting and no interesting plot to hold it together. It's not frightening or entertaining and the special effects do not withhold time well (unlike i.e. the aforementioned "Evil Dead"). Additionally the storyline basically is a not too clever take on zombie flicks with a slight movie-becoming-reality twist. One of those movies which show that Dario Argento was slowly losing his edge in the 80s (albeit he is only culpable for scriptwriting to awful excuse for a movie).

Somehow this gory pointless flick got a second outing and given it has no atmosphere or point I am audaciously surprised with the high marks this movie has. I fail to understand the cult status and stay by the opinion that this thing is almost as bad a "The Ghoulies".
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