Director – Lamberto Bava
Cast – Urbano Barberini, Natasha Hovey, Karl Zinny, Fiore Argento, Paola Cozzo, Fabiola Toledo, Nicoletta Elmi, Bobby Rhodes
Release Year – 1985
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Demons(originally titled Demoni in Italy) is one of those classic cult films that you’ve probably passed by hundreds of times during your trips to the local video store, especially in family owned/non-commercialized rental stores. This Italian horror film once again reinforces the thought that the Italians really know how to make great, gory horror flicks that are really fun to watch. After getting his start as a 2nd director for his father, the infamous director/cinematographer Mario Bava, Lamberto Bava went on to work with the amazing Dario Argento. How awesome is that??? Lamberto Bava really got his film career on high level when he directed Demons, a film he wrote together with Dario Argento, with Dario Argento producing as well. Lamberto Bava considers his film his best, and personal favorite, and I really cannot agree more.
The film follows a group of different people all getting free tickets to an unnamed movie at a mysterious, yet sweet looking movie theater. The people are suspicious, but figure “what the heck?” and decide to give the film a shot. Once the film begins, they realize it is a horror film about a group of people unleashing a demon in an old graveyard. Things get very awry when one of the film goers inadvertently gets possessed by a demon, and pretty much begins reliving exactly what is happening in the film! As the “demon” begins to infect more of the filmgoers, they begin to fight off the demons and get the film stopped. However they are nowhere near “safe” because it is not the film causing the possessions, but the movie theater itself, which has now sealed them inside with nowhere to run, and LOTS of demons to run from.
Lamberto Bava was right about this film being his best. The idea of demons possession is not anything new, but the story around the demons in this film is original. The fact that this film takes place in a movie theater is classic, given that Demons is of course…a movie! I must honestly say that the special effects are what really sell the film. With special effects maestro Sergio Stivaletti(whom has worked on nearly all of Dario Argento’s films) and Danilo Bolletinni heading up the special effects department we see many gruesome gore scenes as well as some amazing demon possession/transformation scenes that I will never forget. We even see a demon rip out of a woman’s back, splitting her in half! How awesome is that?!?
The pacing of this film is good. Although it does slow down slightly from time to time, we are never left with a long pause between fun scenes, which I enjoyed. I also liked how we had a few interesting minor characters aside from the main characters. I found the scenes involving Tony The Pimp and The Blind Man to be pretty cool, and beneficial to the making the plot interesting. Then again…since when has any plot having anything to do with Dario Argento not been interesting? Exactly!
Overall, this is one of the best demon-related films of all time, and I definitely recommend this to any and all horror fans.