After directing several giallo films in a row (Macabre, A Blade in the Dark, You’ll Die at Midnight), Lamberto Bava began to dislike the genre and wanted to do more works like Demons. That was the inspiration for this film, where he used the killer’s point of view to show fantastic images of the victims, from a woman with a giant eyeball to another that looks like a human insect. He also claimed that this was one of the few times that he had the time and budget he needed to get it right.
Gloria (Serena Grandi, the “Dolly Parto” of Italy who also appears in Antropophagus and The Adventures of Hercules) is a former model who has inherited the magazine Pussycat from her dead husband. The magazine takes off once a killer begins murdering whatever model is on that month’s cover, starting with Gloria’s friend Kim.
Her neighbor Mark, who is in a wheelchair due to a mental condition, sees the murder and alerts her, but all she finds are photos of Kim’s body. Soon, Kim’s body is found in a dumpster.
Gloria’s brother Tony is a photographer for Pussycat and does a photoshoot with Sabrina (Italian glamour model, singer and songwriter Sabrina Salerno) and tries to have sex with her, but he’s impotent. After he leaves, killer bees sting her to death and sends the photos to Gloria.
Flora (Capucine, the famous French model and actress), an old friend of Gloria, is trying to buy the magazine and Gloria finally agrees, hoping that the murders will finally end. I wouldn’t say that she’s a friend actually, as she has all this old footage of Gloria back when she was a model and did porn and horror movies, which keep showing up every time we go back to her office.
Tony and Gloria start another photo shoot with Susan in a department store, but Tony ends up dead. The killer taunts them over the loudspeaker and kills Susan. When the police arrive, there are no bodies, but Gloria gets the photos and her friend Evelyn (Daria Nicolodi, ex-wife of Dario Argento, mother of Asia, writer of Suspiria and the star of Shock) finds Susan’s body.
The police go to question Roberto and discover the backdrops of Gloria that were in every one of the killer’s photos. He shows up at her house and she runs, just as a car hits him. The police now consider that the case is closed.
The magazine is finally sold and Evelyn quits. Tony’s body is floating in the pool and the killer shows up…but it’s Tony. He explains that he committed these murders to protect his sister, but he’s cutting off her clothes with a butcher knife while he’s doing this. So at the last second, Mark shoots him in the groin. He then visits her in the hospital at the end, seemingly recovered from his mental issues.
Completely unrelated to the plot, George Eastman shows up as one of her old boyfriends. I’m not complaining — George can be in every movie.
I’m not pretending that this movie is any good. You can tell when making a movie like Demons that Bava really cares. Here, things sloppily head toward its ending. A movie about a porn magazine filled with murder, gore and nudity that ends up boring you has to be a total failure. There’s just enough here to stay enjoyable, but it’s borderline at best.
You can watch this for free with an Amazon Prime membership.