Demons(1985), dir. Lamberto Bava. DACFILM Rome.
The fifth offering is the oddest of the lot so far. Demons, directed by Mario’s son Lamberto and produced by the legendary Dario Argento, this is a film that takes such time honored concepts such as plot, characterization, and logic and throws them all against the wall and dances in the pulpy remains.
The story begins with college student Cheryl (Natasha Hovey) having a strange encounter with a masked man in a subway. The man gives her tickets to the reopening of the Metropol Theater. Cathy doesn’t question this and invites her friend Cathy (Paola Cozzo) to a night at the movies.
The film showing? Well, it lacks a title and seems to be nothing more than clips of monsters slaughtering people. One of the film goers cuts her face on a prop mask in the lobby, much the same way one of the characters is injured in the film. Mirroring the film exactly, the woman rushes to the bathroom where her wound explodes in a shower of pus.
When her friend goes to check on her, she instead finds a ravenous monster. From there things go from bad to worse, as with every fatal slash or even glancing wound serves to change the victims into monsters. Worse, the theater is now somehow locked from the outside, leaving the patrons trapped with an ever increasing horde of bloodthirsty ghouls.
That is the most coherent way to summarize the film, as from there things just go nuts. Things and items just happen to be found, like a fully gassed motorcycle and a helicopter. Why a helicopter? Why not? Heavy metal soundtrack included, this seems almost like the unholy merging of a headbanger’s study hall notebook scribbling and high end van art.
“They will make cemeteries their cathedrals and the cities will be your tombs”