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Film / Dèmoni

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"They will make cemeteries their cathedrals, and the cities will be your tombs."

Dèmoni, known as Demons internationally, is a 1985 horror film produced by Dario Argento, and directed by Lamberto Bava, son of Mario.

Kathy and Cheryl have received free tickets to a new horror movie. Once inside, though, what happens on the screen starts to happen in the theater, after a fellow theater-goer cuts her face on a ceremonial mask on display in the lobby, and before they know it, the cinema is over-run with man-eating demons.

The film gained a sequel, Dèmoni 2, in 1986. There's also several films that got the name Demons slapped on them even though they nothing to do with the original two.


This movie contains examples of:

  • Big Bad: The unnamed man in black who got everybody in the demon-filled theatre in the first place. He is also their leader.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Played straight with Rosemary, who is first to lose her humanity and turn into a demon.
  • Body Horror: The demonic transformations, especially that of the first victim; also, when a transformed girl starts having convulsions, only for a much more demonic-looking, fully-grown monster to erupt from her carcass.
  • Casual High Drop: In the midst of the big fight between a motorcycle-mounted, katana-swinging George and the entire pack of theater demons, one of them tries to knock him off the bike by dropping down from the balcony seats. It misses, but presumably gets right back up and resumes fighting, because demon.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The mask, supposedly found in the tomb of Nostradamus with a prophecy about "the coming of demons" after being unearthed. Needless to say it doesn't take long for it to fire, though.
    • Also the red motorbike and sword in the lobby. How nice of them to put them all in one spot.
    • The soda machine: initially a pretext for George and his friend to talk to Cheryl and her friend, it's later used to barricade a door.
  • Covers Always Lie: One of the video releases' preview/summary implies that the climax of the film will resolve around stopping the movie as it MIGHT be the source of the evil curse. This actually happens halfway through the film and does nothing at all.
  • Death by Sex: The first people to be outright killed in the theater (as opposed to infected) are Liz, the blind man's companion, and her lover, who'd sneaked off for a little nookie behind some curtains and get strangled with rope.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Some characters go through this when they found a possible Hope Spot in escaping the theater but it's another dead end.
  • Downer Ending: George and Cheryl escape from the theater after dispatching all of the demons and the mysterious mask man, only to find out that the city is over run with demons (one had escaped early in the movie). George and Cheryl manage to escape with a family and as the credits roll, we see Cheryl has turned into a demon and is quickly shot to death as George looks on in shock.
  • Eye Scream: Happens (ironically) to a blind man when the first infected shoves her thumbs in his eye sockets. The man still manages somehow to be the first to leave the cinema; unfortunately, that means by the time anyone else gets out the city is overwhelmed by the demons.
  • Final Girl: Gender flipped with George, who is the sole survivor after Cheryl ends up being infected.
  • Fingore: Several demons lose digits brutally, including by doorframe trapping, gunshot, and getting one's hand stuck in motorcycle spokes.
  • Flaying Alive: A woman who tries to hide in a back room gets her scalp ripped off by one of the hooker-demons.
  • Hope Spot: The group find a possible way out, only for it to be a dead end. And up until the last minute it seemed like George AND Cheryl were going to at least survive the horror film.
  • Jerkass: The older husband in every scene he is in acts like a complete asshole. No surprise that he is one of the first people to get killed.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: The unspeaking man in black who hands out the tickets and later returns to attack George wears a metallic half-mask that doesn't entirely cover the apparent burn scars on the left side of his face.
  • Off with His Head!: After George's friend is infected by a demon, he forces George to decapitate him with a katana. George then goes off to a demon killing rampage with it.
  • One-Word Title: Demoni.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: They're actually under Demonic Possession, and damn fast.
  • Red Herring: The ticket woman seems like she's part of all that is going on. Turns out she's innocent.
  • Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: Both Demons and Demons 2 are horror movies with a lot of humor, both intentional and unintentional.
  • The Stinger: The end titles for the movie start to roll on the screen, while Cheryl picks at a wound on the back of her neck... Subverted because the credits disappear, Cheryl turns into a Demon, but is shot and killed before she can harm George. Then the car with George on it disappears from view and the credits finally roll.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The patrons in the movie theater hear noise in the background and assume it is help coming (it was actually the gang of punks who ran into the theater to hide from the police). So they immediately start to break the barricade they had made despite George, Cheryl and their friends warning them not to. By doing this, all they did was give the demons a chance to break through and attack them.
  • Took a Level in Badass: George, big time. Goes from a meek guy just trying to survive the demonic plague to action hero effortlessly slicing demons apart with a katana. The badass intake is enough to rival Ash Williams.
  • The Virus: A single scratch of their claws, teeth or horns, or a single drop of the demons' copious bodily fluids, and you're done for. And unlike most cases, even being killed after getting infected won't help, as they'll simply later revive now fully transformed into a demon.


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