You know what? It’s been a long time since I’ve watched a truly Italian horror flick for a B-Movie Enema. In the early days of the blog, I covered a couple Italian flicks like The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave and The Eerie Midnight Horror Show. I have seen a bunch of Italian (and other European) movies in my day, and I’m surprised it’s been since White Comanche in the summer of 2016 that I’ve returned to Europe’s boot.
Also, since this is October, it’s time for a new Halloween theme for B-Movie Enema! This year, I’m going for some good old fashioned demon action with this year’s Nights of Demons month! To kick off this theme, I am returning to Italy for the Lamberto Bava-directed, Dario Argento-produced Demons from 1985. This won’t be the only time we’ll visit Italy this month either, so look out for that.
This is a pretty good example of an Italian horror movie with a confusing plot and a lot of characters that you either never get to know or ultimately dislike still coming together to form a pretty decent movie based around memorable images, a pretty awesome score, and generally having fun watching it. There are a bunch of movies from overseas like this, but it just so happens that Demons is one that a lot of people in their 30s and 40s and beyond would have definitely seen thanks to sleepovers and general perusing through the horror section of the local video store.
For a movie with very few sets and locations, we do start on a subway with our main star, Natasha Hovey (playing Cheryl) riding along to college. We see lots of very 80s people with crazy hair and lots of leather jackets and pants like they are all about to go to a Billy Idol concert. And, what would you know? There is a Billy Idol song that plays prominently in the movie later on. In the window behind her, Cheryl believes she sees the reflection of a man in a silver mask covering half his face, but when the face vanishes, she just believes it’s her imagination.
That is until she gets off the train at her stop and realizes that a man in a silver mask that covers half his face is following her so he can hand her a ticket to the Metropol theater for a movie. Realizing he is not a danger to her, she gets an extra ticket for her friend, Kathy. When she meets up with Kathy, Cheryl convinces her to go to the movie and blow off school for the evening. Let me tell you, as a guy who often did that in his brief college days, I would have done the exact same thing. To hell with the learnin’! Let’s go to the Metropol and get eaten by demons!
Oh. Spoiler alert. A lot of people are going to get eaten by demons.
The Metropol opens and in the lobby is a bitchin’ mannequin with a samurai sword, and a scooter, and some sort of costume thing with a silver demon mask in its hand. Also, there’s a super hot redhead with lots of curly hair in there too. She almost looks like she’s dressed like an elf with a green dress and white lapels. She seems weird and possibly witchy? She is taking tickets from the people attending this special screening.
This is where we begin meeting the rest of our cast. Along with Cheryl and Kathy and the ticket taker lady, we have Werner (who is a blind man) and his hot daughter Liz (though she never calls him father, only Werner so I’m a little suspect of Wikipedia’s take on their relationship), a young couple who seem to just simply be on a date, Tony, a straight up typical Harlem pimp, and his two bitches, Rosemary and Carmen (played by Geretta Geretta and Fiore Argento – one of Dario Argento’s daughters), as well as an older married couple who kind of bicker at each other constantly.
We also meet two preppy boys named George and Ken who take a shine to Cheryl and Kathy.
Werner mentions to Liz that the demonic mask on the prop in the lobby is dangerous and no one should touch it. When he motions to it, he realizes that he can no longer feel it. That’s because Rosemary has put it on her face. When she takes it off, she realizes it has scratched her cheek. Tony gets upset with Rosemary and puts the mask back. He’s probably pissed at her because ain’t no one gonna want to pay for a cut up bitch, but I digress. They go into the theater where we see a handful of other inconsequential fodder for demons to eat and kill and also turn into other demons.
George and Ken find Cheryl and Kathy in the auditorium and sit next to them. The movie begins and, basically, these four kids go into a cemetery and uncover Nostradamus’ tomb. They find a mask there and some text about how anyone who wears the mask will become a demon and a tool of evil. Much like in the lobby, one of the guys puts on the mask like a dumbass and cuts his cheek leading to all sorts of demonic shenanigans to go down.
Meanwhile, in the audience, George has cozied up to Cheryl and Ken sits next to Kathy. Elsewhere, the usher lady is roaming the crowd to make sure people aren’t fucking or smoking or, I suppose, fucking smoking. Liz has a boyfriend who sneaked up next to her and they are making out, without Werner knowing. But, more problematically, Rosemary is starting to not feel so good.
Rosemary initially goes to the restroom because the scratch on her face started bleeding again, but, as you would expect to happen anytime you scratch your face on a metallic scary demon face mask, your face begins pulsating and popping with puss and whatnot and you turn into a fucking demon! She scratches Carmen almost like you’d see a werewolf do to someone and she stumbles around behind the movie screen.
Eventually, Carmen’s wounds start to bubble up and pulsate which causes her to begin to turn into a demon too. So now we have Carmen all demonfied and Rosemary is running about the lobby of the theater and no one knows what the hell that mask did to people and that they are basically running into the very same scenario as they are watching in the movie.
When Carmen forces her way through the movie screen, the other members of the audience realizes something’s up. While everyone is trying to figure out what happened to Carmen, Liz and her boyfriend are off making out in the hallway. Rosemary takes a rope and puts it around both their necks. Her boyfriend is eventually hung from the ceiling and Liz is found dead in the lobby. When Tony suggests everyone should get the hell out of there, Rosemary, now a full on demon, grabs the old grumpy guy from the bickering couple we saw coming into the theater and tears his throat open. Also, Werner, mourning over Liz has his eyes torn out by Rosemary.
Question? Is that really all that ironic or even necessary of a death for him considering he was blind already? Oh whatever. It’s still a great effect.
Everyone tries to leave the theater, but they soon discover there is no way out. The doors don’t open and there’s nothing behind them. So as people begin running around, trying to either find safety or a way out, they start getting picked off one by one. Keep in mind, as each person gets killed by a demon, they become a demon themselves. It’s like a zombie outbreak. The people aren’t just simply getting weaker as each one is picked off, but the demons are growing in numbers.
Tony, being a black pimp from Harlem who just happens to be in Germany right now, has the right plan – since everything is basically playing out as it is in the movie, you stop the movie, and maybe that will stop the demons. They go to the projection booth only to find that the movie is running automatically. Tony, again, the man with the plan, just tells everyone to smash everything. That stops the movie.
Outside, a car full of punks are cruising the city and doing some blow while driving around. You might think they are completely useless to the story, but they are here for two specific reasons which I will get to later. By the way, it looks like they are just passing a can of Coca-Cola around, but it’s full of cocaine and they are using the straw to snort it.
Question? How much fucking coke is in that thing? How are they not dead? Oh, fuck it.
Werner, still alive despite getting his eyes clawed out, warns that the movie isn’t what is causing the demons, it’s the theater itself. Tony, fully in charge, as he probably should be, has everyone use the seats in the theater’s balcony to create a barricade to keep the demons at bay. As he begins to show people how to rip the seats out, he’s attacked by a reanimated Liz and grumpy fellow and pulled over the balcony.
While the theater patrons are barricading themselves in the balcony, outside, trouble hits for our punks as three of them fight over the can of coke and it causes a bunch to come out all over the car. The main punk, Ripper (though honestly, it doesn’t fucking matter what their names are), demands they clean up every goddamn gram of it. So purpose #1 of this group being here is to give our blonde haired cutie girl punk to show a nipple while one of the guys scrapes the cocaine off her boob.
Really, I’m being serious. There is very little reason for the punks to play a part in the movie. I mean, there’s no chance of titty inside the theater crowd because it just doesn’t make any fucking sense to have nudity in there. It’s like someone said, “Eh! I’m-a Italian! We-a need-a tha boobies!” and everyone else was like, “I’m not sure how we can fit this in here… Oh wait! Let’s introduce completely unimportant punk kids, have them spill coke all over the place and have one scrape it off another’s tits!” Then everyone patted themselves on the back and they went and ate a bunch of spaghetti.
The writers and producers were able to find another reason for them to be there though. They parked in the alley behind the theater. They hear everyone banging on the walls begging for help. Somehow, for some reason, they were able to go into the theater through a door in the alley. This allows for one of the demons to slip out meaning they can now start turning people out in the world into demons too!
So, there you go… There’s your whole reason for this entirely separate subplot to exist in this movie that is really designed to completely remain inside the theater.
Alright, so now we have main group in the balcony, the punks running about the theater lobby and such, and the young couple in the vents. Oh yeah, the young couple separated from the other group because the girl was trapped in the auditorium when everything went to shit, and the boy went to find her. Unfortunately, she got infected and turned into a demon and kills him. That’s a pretty cool scene in the movie because you don’t realize she’s turning into a demon while they are trying to escape and then suddenly there is a reveal and she goes in for a bite on him. Also, the girl punk gets eaten by a demon revealing to the punks that there is a legit problem inside theater.
The theater patrons believe there is help on the way and when they begin unblocking the exits, the demons trick them and go to town on them. Cheryl, Kathy, George, and Ken barely escape, but Kathy isn’t doing so hot. Somehow she got injured and, I dunno, like a super demon comes out of her back? I guess she’s the queen demon? A queemon? Anyway, she slashes Ken and Ken, despite George begging otherwise, wants to be put down before he turns into a demon himself.
At this point, the movie decides not to simply go off the rails, but like completely, totally, hop the rails onto another track with an oncoming train heading its way and then play chicken with that other train until one of them flinches. George hops on the motorcycle in the lobby, takes that fucking samurai sword and starts riding around the movie theater auditorium slicin’ up demon fools. He just keeps riding around and around in the auditorium. I would see if there’s any way to get the hell out of there because they now have a fucking motorcycle, but I guess it’s okay to just keep slicing and dicing demons to heavy metal music too.
But that’s not all! A fucking helicopter crashes through the roof of the theater. Yup, that’s what I said. A helicopter crashes into the Metropol which does give George and Cheryl a way out by using a harpoon that just so happens to be inside the chopper to fire a line up to the hole and climb up and out. I guess this was a whaling chopper…? Oh whatever – they paid for the helicopter effect and that harpoon prop and they are fucking going to use them. When they get to the roof of the Metropol, that dude with the silver mask covering half his face is up there to cause some more problems. Cheryl uses the harpoon to run the guy through and together they finish off the guy.
When they get back to the street level, they realize that demons are running amok all over this motherfucker. People are dead. Shit is on fire. People are being chased by monsters. They are about to get killed by demons, but a kindly family pulls up and saves them. They get in the jeep with them and everything is going to work out just fine. The End. Credits roll. Oh shit! What? How?
Yup, Cheryl got bit or scratched or something at some point and she became a demon. The little kid in the family that picked them up blows her away with a shotgun. We see the jeep pull away from her dead body in the middle of the street.
So, yeah, that was about it. This movie is super enjoyable to watch. It’s got a really European feel to it, but also almost seemingly trying to pass itself off as an English or American film. Other than knowing that Italian filmmakers made it and it was filmed in Germany, it still leaves you with enough doubt based around the hard rock soundtrack and general attitudes of characters (not to mention a straight up Harlem style pimp) to think this is supposed to be America. It’s a fun watch.
But you know what else is fun? Check out this below clip from Joe Bob Briggs’ recent 24-hour marathon on Shudder when he played this movie. His rundown of the sequels and how they were all renamed and repackaged for other countries is amazing. And yes, this is a very Italian thing to do with snatching up other movies and changing the title to cash in on popularity of another movie or series.
That does it for this first demonic feature for B-Movie Enema’s Nights of Demons October celebration. Next week, it’s time to crack open the windows because our next movie sounds like something that your jerkass friend will do to you in your car with all the windows rolled up after eating a whole lotta White Castles – Demon Wind.