Demons / Demoni (1985)

4.5 out of 5

Random strangers are given free tickets to the screening of a film at The Metropol, a theater that has just opened. Soon, the audience begins to transform into bloodthirsty demons that transmit their contagion by a mere scratch. The survivors become trapped inside the building and must find a way out.

Director Lamberto Bava’s relentless, hyperspeed gorefest is an assault on the senses. A heavy metal soundtrack blares loudly amidst the frenzied pace, mixed with the sounds of screaming people and snarling demons, to dizzying effect. Claudio Simonetti’s sinister compositions appear at key moments, creating a frightening aural experience.

The gore is plentiful and extremely graphic, accentuated by Sergio Stivaletti’s impressive demon transformation effects. Deaths are brutally violent, with eye-gougings, ripped throats, and wounds that burst with colorful liquids.

Flickering shadows are set against a palette of deep reds and blues. The Metropol is menacing and possessed with supernatural malice, reminiscent of buildings in films such as Suspiria, The Church, and Inferno. The film’s creepiness is enhanced by a lack of explanation about the force behind the events. This Dario Argento production is one of Bava’s finest films.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics