Demons (1985)


Demons (Italian: Dèmoni) is a 1985 Italian horror film directed by Lamberto Bava, produced by Dario Argento, and starring Urbano Barberini and Natasha Hovey. Its plot follows two female university students who, along with a number of random people, are given complimentary tickets to a mysterious movie screening, where they soon find themselves trapped in the theater with a horde of ravenous demons.

The story was originally planned to be part of a three-story horror anthology film written by Dardano Sacchetti, but Bava took interest in the story more than the others, so he and Sacchetti began developing it into a separate feature. Argento, beginning to be interested in producing films, would contribute to the screenplay with Franco Ferrini, who was brought in by Argento. Filming took place in Berlin and Rome in the summer of 1985. The film features an instrumental score composed by Claudio Simonetti, as well as a soundtrack that includes songs by such artists as Mötley Crüe and Billy Idol.

Distributed by Titanus, Demons received a theatrical release in Italy in October 1985. It was followed by a 1986 sequel, Demons 2, also directed by Bava and produced by Argento. A third Demons film was conceived, but was completely rewritten and released as The Church (1989), directed by Michele Soavi.


On the Berlin subway, a mysterious, masked man offers university student Cheryl two tickets to a free screening at the Metropol, an isolated and recently renovated local cinema. Cheryl talks her friend Kathy into going with her; at the theater, they meet two preppy college boys, George and Ken. Other attendees of the screening include a blind man and his guide daughter; a married couple; a boyfriend and girlfriend; and a pimp named Tony along with his two prostitutes. One of the prostitutes, Rosemary, scratches her face with a bizarre mask that is on display in the lobby. The film being shown is a violent, disturbing horror film about four teenagers who discover an old tomb and dig up the grave of a sixteenth-century fortune teller called Nostradamus. When the teenagers dig up Nostradamus's coffin, they find no body and instead an old book and a mask identical to the strange mask in the lobby. When one of the movie's characters puts the mask on and is scratched by it just like Rosemary was by its doppelganger, he then turns evil and slaughters his friends.

Feeling ill, Rosemary goes to the bathroom, where she transforms into a bloodthirsty, red-eyed demon similar to the one in the film. Rosemary attacks her friend, Carmen, who then transforms into a demon in front of the rest of the cinema-goers. The group of uninfected people race to any exit they can find, only to find that they have all been bricked up making escape impossible. Although they attempt to barricade themselves in the balcony, many are attacked and infected by the demons. One of the demons escapes into the city when four punks break into the building through a back entrance; the punks are soon transformed into demons as well.

In the cinema, only George and Cheryl remain uninfected. Using a display motorcycle and sword props from the foyer, they ride through the auditorium, slicing down many demons. George kills nearly all of them when suddenly, a helicopter crashes through the roof. George and Cheryl use an emergency grappling hook and winch to climb to the roof, where they are attacked by the mysterious man from the subway. They are able to kill him by impaling his head on an exposed bit of rebar. The two climb down to the street and discover that the demonic infection has spread throughout Berlin. They are then chased by a horde of demons before being picked up by a jeep of well-armed survivors. As they drive out of the city to safety, Cheryl (having been infected at some point in the theater) transforms into a demon. But before she can harm George, one of the jeep's survivors shoots with a shotgun, killing her. As Cheryl's body collapses into the roadway, George (the sole survivor of the cinema) and the survivalists drive out of the city to an unknown future.

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