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Demons (film)

English language theatrical film poster
Directed by Lamberto Bava
Produced by Dario Argento
Screenplay by Dario Argento
Lamberto Bava
Franco Ferrini
Dardano Sacchetti
Story by Dardano Sacchetti
Starring Urbano Barberini
Natasha Hovey
Fiore Argento
Geretta Geretta
Michele Soavi
Music by Claudio Simonetti
Cinematography Gianlorenzo Battaglia
Edited by Piero Bozza
Franco Fraticelli
Release dates
4 October 1985
Running time
88 min.
Country Italy
Language English
Budget $1,800,000 (reported)

Demons (Italian: Dèmoni) is a 1985 Italian horror film directed by Lamberto Bava and produced by Dario Argento, starring Urbano Barberini and Natasha Hovey.[1] The screenplay was written by Bava, Argento, Franco Ferrini and Dardano Sacchetti, from a story by Sacchetti. Filming took place in Berlin and Rome.


On the Berlin subway, university student Cheryl gets off at her stop in the deserted subway station and is pursued by a mysterious, masked man. Rather than attacking her, the man offers her tickets to a free screening at the Metropol, an isolated and recently renovated local cinema. Cheryl talks her friend Kathy into going with her and they skip class to go see the film. At the crowded theater, they meet two preppy college boys, George and Ken, who take an immediate liking to the girls and help them get a can of cola out of the vending machine. The four sit together in the theater.

There are many people from all walks of life in the audience; a blind man and his guide daughter; an elderly married couple; a boyfriend and girlfriend; and a pimp named Tony along with his two prostitutes, who look at the theater's display props in the foyer. One of the prostitutes, Rosemary, scratches her face with a bizarre display mask before they go in to watch the film. The film is a violent, disturbing horror movie which features a look-alike of the mask from the lobby. It is about four teenagers who discover an old tomb and dig up the grave of a sixteenth-century fortune teller called Nostradamus. When the teenagers dig up Nostradamus's coffin they find no body, just an old book and a mask identical to the strange mask in the foyer. When one of the characters puts the mask on he's scratched by it just like Rosemary was by its doppelganger. A moment later, he turns evil and slaughters his friends with a knife.

Rosemary feels ill and goes to the bathroom, where the scratch on her face bursts open, spewing out pus. She is soon transformed into a bloodthirsty, fanged demon like the one in the film. Rosemary attacks her friend, Carmen, who then rips through the screen and transforms into a demon in front of the rest of the cinema-goers. The group of uninfected people race to any exit they can find, only to find that they have all been bricked up making escape impossible. Although they attempt to barricade themselves in the balcony, many are attacked and infected by the demons. One of the demons escapes into the city when four punks break in to the building through a back entrance. The punks are soon transformed into demons as well.

In the cinema, only George and Cheryl remain uninfected. Using a display motorcycle and sword props from the foyer, they ride through the auditorium, slicing down many demons. George kills nearly all of them when suddenly, a helicopter crashes through the roof. George and Cheryl use an emergency grappling hook and winch to climb to the roof, where they are attacked by the mysterious man from the subway. They are able to kill him by impaling his head on an exposed bit of rebar. The two climb down to the street and discover that the demonic infection has spread throughout Berlin. They are then chased by a horde of demons before being picked up by a jeep of well-armed survivors and they make their escape. As they drive to safety, Cheryl transforms into a demon. She is shot and killed by one of the other passengers and falls out on to the road, leaving George as the cinema's only survivor.


  • Urbano Barberini as George
  • Natasha Hovey as Cheryl
  • Paola Cozzo as Kathy
  • Karl Zinny as Ken
  • Geretta Geretta as Rosemary (as Geretta Giancarlo)
  • Bobby Rhodes as Tony
  • Fabiola Toledo as Carmen
  • Fiore Argento as Hannah
  • Guido Baldi as Tommy
  • Nicoletta Elmi as Ingrid the usherette
  • Michele Soavi as Man in Mask / Jerry (Horror Film)
  • Stelio Candelli as Frank
  • Nicole Tessier as Ruth
  • Lino Salemme as Ripper (as Pasqualino Salemme)
  • Bettina Ciampolini as Nina
  • Giuseppe Mauro Cruciano as Hot Dog (as Giuseppe Cruciano)
  • Peter Pitsch as Baby Pig
  • Sally Day as Carla
  • Eliana Miglio as Edith (Horror Film)
  • Jasmine Maimone as Nancy (Horror Film)
  • Marcello Modugno as Bob (Horror Film)
  • Enrica Maria Scrivano as Liz
  • Alex Serra as Werner
  • Claudio Spadaro as Liz's lover
  • Giovanni Frezza as Kirk, boy in jeep (uncredited)
  • Lamberto Bava as Extra in Subway (uncredited)
  • Sami Habib Ahmed as Kathy's baby demon (uncredited)
  • Sergio Stivaletti as A victim (uncredited)
  • Goffredo Unger as Jeep Driver (uncredited)
  • Emanuela Zicosky as June (uncredited)


Dario Argento had an important influence on Dèmoni. In addition to co-writing the script, he also produced the film. Argento's daughter, Fiore, plays the character of Hannah. Michele Soavi, a devotee of Argento's work and his assistant director on several films, also served as an assistant director on Dèmoni and has two starring roles, as the man wearing the silver mask and as Jerry, one of the characters in the film playing at the Metropol. Nicoletta Elmi, who plays the usherette, appeared in Argento's 1975 classic giallo Deep Red, and she also had a small role in the 1971 horror film Twitch of the Death Nerve (directed by Mario Bava, the father of Dèmoni director Lamberto Bava).

Most of the interior cinema scenes were shot in an actual closed down movie theatre. The building still exists but is now a bank. At the same time, the building used for the exterior shots of the movie theatre still exists; it's a club called "Goya", whose appearance in the film has brought it fame and now regularly hosts horror conventions today. Filming took place in Germany and Italy, and as a reference to these countries' cinema, posters for Werner Herzog's Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht and Argento's Four Flies on Grey Velvet can be seen hanging in the Metropol's lobby. The music chosen for the film features several Heavy metal classics, and there is also an AC/DC poster in one scene.


According to IMDB, Dèmoni was released to screens on October 4, 1985 in Italy and didn't see a release in the United States until the following year by the film distributor, Ascot Films, (an American small independent company that only released three films, Dèmoni, Bava's A Blade in the Dark, and The Check Is in the Mail..., and is no longer in existence today) which released the film unrated to theaters and drive-ins across the U.S. on May 30, 1986. Months later that year, Dèmoni was released on VHS by New World Home Video. In 1999, the film saw a DVD release along with Demons 2 by Anchor Bay Entertainment, also re-released on VHS. Two years later, Dèmoni was released in a double pack limited edition called the Dario Argento Collection. In 2007, Dèmoni was once again released by Anchor Bay in a new edition and fully widescreen transfer.

Arrow Video was the first to release the two films on Blu-ray/DVD in the UK. Demons and Demons 2 were first released on the Blu-ray Steelbook Case on April 30, 2012. Then later on May 21, 2012, the two films were released separately on Blu-ray.


Demons has received a mixed reception from critics, and currently holds a 56% approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on nine reviews, and is certified "rotten".[2]

This film was listed at number 53 on US TV channel Bravo's The 100 Scariest Movie Moments countdown.[3]


The soundtrack was released on LP. It has 1980s rock and Heavy Metal themes, while the sequel was pop and new wave oriented. The soundtrack was live performed during the twenty year Anniversary at Shock Pop Comiccon in February 2015.[4] The instrumental soundtrack was composed by Claudio Simonetti.[5]


Some of the films mentioned below are not sequels, and are related in title only as a marketing strategy to gain popularity.

Original title English title Release year Alternate title(s)
Dèmoni 2 Demons 2 1986
"La casa dell'orco" Demons 3: The Ogre 1988 "The Ogre: Demons 3", "House of the Ogre"
La chiesa The Church 1989 Demons 3
Dèmoni 3 Black Demons 1991 Demons 3
La setta The Devil's Daughter 1991 Demons 4, The Sect
La maschera del demonio The Mask of the Demon 1989 Demons 5: The Devil's Veil
Il gatto nero The Black Cat 1989 Demons 6: De Profundis / From The Deep
Dellamorte Dellamore Cemetery Man 1994 Demons '95


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