Night of the Demon is a 1980 American horror feature film directed by James C. Wasson from a screenplay by Mike Williams.
Presented in flashback and with a brief found footage scene, the film tells the story of an anthropology class on an expedition into the American wilderness to find the truth behind the Sasquatch legend.
Along the way, the team learns about the creature’s previous victims, uncover the squalid story of a hermit (Crazy Wanda) who gave birth to a mutation after being raped by the monster, and finally come face to face with the beast himself. The film is famed for the scene where a motorcyclist has his penis graphically ripped off while urinating in a bush.
The film has a disjointed, stilted, surreal feeling – exacerbated by the extensive use of flashbacks – throughout, prompting at least one critic to liken it to the zero-budget works of Nathan Schiff, though there are some basic attempts at replicating the stylized lighting of filmmakers such as Dario Argento in certain scenes. Night of the Demon became most famous for its depictions of castration, dismemberment, stabbings and disembowelling.
Though hardly convincing, the violence is extremely graphic and helped to propel the film (released on video in the UK by Iver Film Services) onto the British video nasties list. This was despite the fact that the video sleeve was extremely tame, unlike many of the sensationist covers of the time.
The film remained banned until 1993, when Vipco resubmitted it to the British Board of Film Classification, who agreed to pass it with an 18 certificate as long as one minute and forty-one seconds’ worth of gory mayhem was deleted. Almost all of the violent scenes were trimmed, but the castration of the biker and the removal of a student’s intestines (for use as a flail) were removed completely. If the film were submitted to the BBFC now, however, it would most likely be passed uncut.
“As far as guilty pleasures go, Night of the Demon is a keeper and should enjoy repeat viewings for the converted.” DVD Drive-In
Image credits: Video Wasteland
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