Demons (1985)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Supernatural Horror  |   Run Time - 85 min.  |   Countries - Italy   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Demons is a cult classic among gore fans in spite of its somewhat senseless story line. Perhaps the most amazing thing about it is that it took four writers to create the screenplay. Lamberto Bava, the son of Italian filmmaking great Mario Bava, shows none of his father's style or suspense in making a splatter film that is strictly about the splatter. Claws and fangs slash through flesh. Fingers are bitten off. Innocent humans transform into slime-spewing demons. There are scalpings, slashings, beheadings, impalings, and disembowelings -- all up on the screen for your viewing pleasure. There's also plenty of bad acting and howlingly funny dialogue. "Because of that scratch, she became a demon, an instrument of evil," a Shaft-lookalike comically proclaims. The paper-thin story is set in a movie theater whose patrons find themselves trapped inside with a plethora of demons. As each person is attacked, they too transform into the creatures from Hell. While producer/co-screenwriter Dario Argento's influence on this mess is obvious (particularly the hard rock soundtrack that includes tunes by Mötley Crüe, Billy Idol, and others), a bigger inspiration would appear to be George Romero's Dawn of the Dead. That horror classic also featured extreme gore, a familiar public setting (a shopping mall), and similar action sequences (an indoor dirt-bike ride to kill the ghouls). Just one problem: Demons has absolutely no logic to its madness. The special makeup effects by Sergio Stivaletti are suitably sick and get plenty of screen time with the highlight being a spectacular back-bursting scene in which a demon pops right out of a young woman. Lamberto Bava also directed the sequel Demons 2.