Directed by: Lamberto Bava
Written by: Dario Argento & Lamberto Bava
Starring: Urbano Barberini, Natasha Hovey, Karl Zinny
A group of people are trapped in a large West Berlin movie theater infected by ravenous demons whom proceed to kill and posses the humans one-by-one thereby multiplying their numbers.
One morning at the subway, a girl is given two free tickets for the screening of a movie at the Metropol theater. Along with her friend they cut class and go to watch the film which appears to be a horror film about the prophecies of Nostradamus and the coming of the demons. Just like in the movie, a few people in the theater turn into demons and start eating their fellow viewers alive.
Probably wanting to repeat the success of DAWN OF THE DEAD, Dario Argento produced another gory film about flesh-eating ghouls, this time giving Lamberto Bava the opportunity to direct. DEMONS is like a more modern and refreshed version of the good, old Italian zombie film. The monsters here are referred to as demons although they are similar to the usual zombies. Their faces are demonic indeed, they have sharp fangs and claws and their hunger for human flesh cannot be stopped. Just like in DAWN OF THE DEAD, the plot here involves a bunch of people trapped inside a building and attacked by the flesh-eaters but this time it is a movie theater instead of a shopping mall and Romero’s social commentary is missing. Not that DEMONS is a totally brainless film but it’s mostly entertainment for gory horror lovers. It is an interesting affair as it takes some time to show the concerns of the everyday people that have come to watch the film: the two boys are interested mostly in hooking up with the girls, the pimp has come to have fun with his two prostitutes, the blind man’s wife is taking advantage of his inability to see and cheats on him, an old man is annoyed by noises all the time and asks others to shut up. All of the above start to have a common concern when the horror of demons is threatening their lives. It is a fast-moving film with non-stop gore and some moments of tension and even goes over the top when Urbano Barberini turns into a motorbike-riding, sword-swinging demon exterminator. The gory attacks here are not slow and sadistic as in Fulci’s movies but mostly comic book-style with blood and juices freely flowing and the demons being fast-moving and rabid. To spice things up there is even a sleazy bit where a coke-headed punk teases his friend by touching her nipple with a razor.
Lamberto Bava’s direction is highly effective, taking advantage of every possible angle and helped by the tight, precise editing. A perfect example is the theater sequence where the black prostitute turns into a demon and starts the gory mayhem. I highly recommend DEMONS.