NIGHT OF THE DEMON (1980) Reviews and overview

 

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Night of the Demon is a 1980 American horror feature film directed by James C. Wasson from a screenplay written by Mike Williams based on a story by producer Jim L. Ball.

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 movie is infamous for the scene where a motorcyclist has his member 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.

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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 sensationalist covers of the time.

Night of the Demon 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.

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“The film’s score was extremely annoying. Most of the time it just sounded like someone was deflating air out of a balloon. The film features flashbacks within flashbacks and bigfoot uses weapons (pitchfork, axe) to kill. It’s a fun, trashy B-movie that (mostly) delivers.” 80s Horror Central

” …every kill we see until the finale is a flashback (Nugent sure has great recall for a guy that was never present), causing an unusual pacing development – there isn’t any. But, this is offset by there being a kill every ten minutes or so, making it one of the better “body count” flicks to kick off the ‘80s – “better” referring to the quality and quantity of the deaths as opposed to other benchmarks; you know, direction, script, blah blah blah.” Daily Dead

“It’s foolish really expecting to find decent performances in a film like this and no-one here rises to the occasion. They’re not given a great deal to work with (you’ll very likely lose track of who’s who, so poorly are the characters defined) and most of the supporting cast are really just there to make up the numbers and get dispatched in the violent set-pieces. Wasson pads out the running time by filming the final massacre in slow motion and lets us have too much of a look at the very far from convincing Bigfoot make-up effects.” The EOFFTV Review

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“Night of the Demon delivers Bigfoot big-time, plus plenty of backwoods black magic, virgin sacrifice, a mutant Bigfoot baby being burned alive, college–student slaughter, and all kinds of Bigfoot sex crimes. The intensity of violence and gore spraying on camera is mind-boggling, make much more so by all of this insanity being stumped down upon us deadly straight.” Mike “McBeardo” McFadden, Heavy Metal Movies

Buy: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

” …in spite of everything that’s wrong with it, the movie works anyway to an astonishing degree and watching Night of the Demon gives me the impression that I’m seeing somebody discovering a talent that they never suspected they had. That talent is being used with extreme clumsiness here, but talent wielded by an oaf is still talent, and there’s definitely more than just sleaze at work in this movie.” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting

“As far as guilty pleasures go, Night of the Demon is a keeper and should enjoy repeat viewings for the converted.” DVD Drive-In

Choice dialogue:

Doctor: “Shock and pain. His face is horribly mutilated. Most of the skin has been drained away.”

Professor Nugent: “His body was found horribly mutilated.”

Cast and characters:

Eugene Dow … Doctor Paxton
Joy Allen … Classmate
Don Hurst … Doctor Harris
Bob Collins … Roy
Terry Wilson … Inspector Stack
Jody Lazarus … Linda (as Jodi Lazarus)
Kathy Stimac … Girl Scout Jr.
Renata Lee … Girl Scout Sr.
Philip Boyd … Hunter
Melanie Graham … Wanda
Mark Phelan … Woodsman
Paul Kelleher … Sheriff
Greg Langdon … Van Lover
Rob Camp … Motorcyclist
Michael Cutt … Professor Nugent (as Michael J. Cutt)
Lynn Eastman-Rossi … Susan Nugent (as Lynn Eastman)
Dix Turner … Townsperson
Bunny Bernhardt … Townsperson
Fred Owens … Townsperson
Heather Eide … Townsperson
Rick Fields … First Victim – Carla’s Father (as Richard Fields)
Virginia English … Townsperson
Michael Lang
Mark Olay … Townsperson
Shannon Cooper … Carla Thomas
Ray Jarris
William F. Nugent … Luke Carlson
Jennifer West … Van Lover (as Sally Swift)
Shane Dixon … Monster (2nd unit)
Barrett Cooper … Reverend McGinty (uncredited)

Technical details:

92 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1
Audio: Mono

Original title:

The Revenge of Bigfoot