Demoni, also known as Demons (1985), is the finest example of Eurotrash horror you’ll ever see. With a soundtrack lifted right from Michael Jackson’s Thriller video and similar special effects — a similar plot, too, come to think of it — it has the same kind of pop-horror charm. It is not very good. But it works for what it’s supposed to be: an atmospheric gorefest.
I think it might be the only movie that successfully uses all these elements:
- Gothic architecture
- A chainsaw
- A ninja sword
- Punk rockers
- A movie within a movie
- A motorcycle
There’s a lot more going on, and it’s non-stop. The movie, from Italian director Lamberto Bava, follows several groups of people, including a young college student, a gang of punk thieves, a pimp and his girls, and some would-be ladies’ men, as they are given free tickets to a movie screening. Once there, they start watching the horror movie onscreen, which is deliciously bad, only to learn there’s something in the theatre that needs them …
This is the movie that introduced me to foreign horror. I saw it on VHS around 1986, at a horror party, and this sparked my interest in first Italian and then Mexican, Spanish and later Asian horror films. Demoni is a fast, dirty little film, really just a series of linked set-pieces designed to highlight the things Bava learned growing up watching his father (Mario Bava) and Dario Argento work. It features a few laughs, some of the traditional Bava/Argento weird voice dubbing, and what may be the best exploding facial pusball ever shown on film.