31 for 31: 'Demons' (Dèmoni)

For the whole month of October, our own Kevin Stairiker will be watching a horror movie a day and cataloging his findings in a new feature called “31 for 31.”

There are horror movies traditionally thought of as having a “very ’80s” touch. Movies like “Child’s Play,” “Evil Dead” and the “Nightmare on Elm Street” series have an unmistakable splash of kitsch and genuine scares that exist only in that era. “Demons” belongs squarely in that pantheon.

Director Lamberto Bava, son of famed giallo director Mario Bava, teamed up with the already legendary Dario Argento in 1985 and cooked up…this. Led by a mysterious series of free movie tickets for a brand new theater, the scene quickly leads to terror as the events on the movie screen begin to replicate amongst the denizens of the theater.

“Demons” really has it all: truly uncomfortable body transformation scenes involving teeth and toenails, a bitchin’ ’80s soundtrack complete with Billy Idol, Motley Crue and Saxon (Saxon!) and more neon pus than you can shake a broom at. Make no bones about it, this is a fairly disgusting movie, but it is stupid fun. Check this 24-karat dialogue about the central item that transforms humans in the demons:

Idiot 1: (Puts on mask)

Idiot 2: Don’t do that! Whoever wears that becomes a demon!

Idiot 1: How do you know?

Idiot 2: It says here, “Whoever wears it becomes a demon!”

Just beautiful.

There are better films that Argento was involved with, and presumably other good ones from the younger Bava, but “Demons” is a real gem. I didn’t even get to mention the cocaine punks who accidentally let the demons out of the theater and into the rest of the world. Best that you watch and see for yourself.



Death count: 21*
Total minutes before someone does something stupid: 10
Coke-a-Cola product placements: 2
Times this writer had to look away from the gruesome toenail scene: 2
Number of unofficial sequels to “Demons”: 7

(*Note: Nearly everyone in the theater at the beginning of the film dies, though there is no clear shot of how full the theater is. Since any shot of the theater shows that the film is sparsely attended, this number is based off of how many people are shown walking into the movie.)

Total movie death count: 40
Watched via: Hulu
Worth the watch? Yes
Arbitrary rating: 4/5 exploding pus boils
31 for 31 viewing list

  1. Jeepers Creepers (2001)
  2. Cube (1997)
  3. White Zombie (1932)
  4. Demons (Dèmoni) (1985)
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Have a scary movie recommendation? Email me at kstairiker@flyafter5.com 


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Posted in Arts+Culture, Movies

Kevin Stairiker is a features writer for Fly. He is a graduate of Temple University and enjoys writing in third person. When he isn't writing, he's probably playing guitar for a litany of bands, reading comics or providing well-needed muscle at The Double Deuce.

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