Demons (1985)

demons poster italian demoni
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visual: 8/10

Some creepy visuals and somewhat interesting concept

The story runs out of things to do not long into the film

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Demons

Studio:  DACFILM Rome

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  October 4, 1985

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

demons geretta giancarlo monster

I’m Rick James

The promise of a free movie draws a crowd to a remodeled German theater.  When the movie begins, something strange begins to happen.  Events in the horror movie begin to mirror events in the theater.  Plague of demons has been released upon the audience and with seemingly no way out, the movie goers must fight the rising demon horde to escape…but what lies beyond the doors the theater might be more horrific.

Directed by Lamberto Bava and produced by Dario Argento (who both contributed to the screenplay), Demons (Dèmoni) is an Italian zombie demon horror movie.  The film was released to a strong box office and mixed reviews from critics.  The movie gained a cult following over the years.

Demons was one of my hometown video store staples.  I don’t remember if I actually saw it when I was young, but I loved the cover of the movie with the monstrous demon on the cover.  While there is something enjoyable about the movie, there also is a lot of room for improvement.

demons glowing eyes bobby rhodes

They’re coming to take you away!

It feels like the script was developed around the set-up, but the extended aspect of the story is lacking.  Bava intended to make an anthology movie but decided to expand the demon storyline into a feature.  The beginning of the story with the events on the screen paralleling the events in the theater is novel and has a bit of a post-modern feel.  While you are excited for the “demons” to start showing up, the movie hits a bit of a dull spot once they do.

Part of the problem is the sprawling cast that feels underdeveloped.  The film slightly centers on students Cheryl (Natasha Hovey) and Kathy (Paola Cozzo) who skip out of class to go to the free film.  It proceeds to introduce a bunch of other characters:  a blind man, a pimp and his prostitutes, a husband and wife, and others.  It also introduces George (Urbano Barberini) and Ken (Karl Zinny) who become the romantic leads for Kathy and Cheryl.  None of the characters are very interesting and a group of punks are added into the mix…if they had focused on the survival of one of the main characters it would have been better (I would have liked the movie to circle Tony the Pimp played by Bobby Rhodes).

demons monster

Why couldn’t this have been the monster the whole time?

The special effects are very Italian in nature.  Like a giallo, the blood is redder than red and green ooze is practically neon.  The cool looking demon from the cover does appear (hatching out of the back of a character), but it is pretty much just a cameo appearance.  I like the glowing eyes of the demons and some of the effects, but it feels like they could have been utilized better.

Demons is fun, but it isn’t great.  You watch it and think of many ways that the movie could be better.  It feels a bit influential (you get a real From Dusk Till Dawn feel…especially with Tony the Pimp), and if you are a fan of horror, you should seek it out (it is essentially a zombie movie despite the title).  The movie would easily be described as “random” due to an unclear explanation of the horror that happens…is it the movie?  Is it the masked ticket taker?  Is it the theater itself?  Nothing is really answered, but that isn’t horrible if you just want to watch and enjoy the ride.  Demons was followed by Demons 2 in 1986.

Related Links:

Demons 2 (1986)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response