Night of the Demon (1980) Review by RevTerry

I would like to thank the internet for showing me that Bigfoot still has a posse out there and kicking, even if it is a little more sexually focused than I seem to remember from my days as a junior cryptozoologist. The over affectionate spin on the notion is understandable. Something about Mr.Foot is ultimately very relatable and charming. It's most likely his obvious favor of ungroomed solace. There have been several points in my life where a smelly existence alone in the forest seemed like a suitable choice or alternative, and if anyone would get that- I guess it would be Bigfoot. Whatever the reasoning, it's good to know that I'm not the only one out there still looking out for the big guy. Even if nowadays my squatching is mostly contained to yelling “Hey Bigfoot, where you at?” repeatedly every time I go hiking (intoxicated) and watching pretty much any sasquatch related film I uncover. In the world of Cinema, the illusive creature’s exploits have ranged from a grip of VHS family Adventures to obscure hardcore porn. Because it's easy to find and slightly modify a gorilla suit (or equivalent),they will probably make flicks forever or at least until Bigfoot himself appears, hires a lawyer and sues the shit out of everyone. I will be there to watch every single one, no matter how bad they are or how far outside of the target audience I am, because… well Bigfoot is the shit ,and that's the kind of stuff I do with my time. Without a doubt, in my opinion, the best would fall under the “bigfoot-horror” sub genre which boasts a few all time greats. Firstly no Bigfoot film conversation would be complete without a mention of the early faux-documentary The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972), and for something a little more manic there is the genre bending Demonwarp (1988). But for my personal favorite, if only by a hair, I would have to pick Night of the Demon.
The film opens in a hospital as some men speculate around an injured sleeping patient. When he awakens they press him for a statement regarding the incident that has gotten him into this fucked up state. It is implied that he is the lone survivor from a group that was attacked under mysterious circumstances. The man, Prof. Nugent(Michael Cutt), is pretty beat up, rocking a half face bandage ninja style. He begins his story, which opens with him telling another story to a group of students. Apparently something big and hairy is running around ripping the arms off fishermen and ruining home movies, and the good professor suspects that it is the legendary Bigfoot. Nugent has assembled his group of junior scientist to enter the forest in order to collect data and prove that Bigfoot is the one doing the killing (I’m doing a little assuming here). Among the crew is Carla Thomas whose father was killed by the beast while engaging in some van-sex, which she seems to know an awkwardly large amount of detail about. In the woods they meet a grumpy ass mountain man named Lou. He puts them on to the rumors about the hermit “Crazy Wanda”, a local legend who is rumored to have connections to the sasquatch. The tip takes the crew into town, where they learn about the crazy hillbilly cult that calls the woods home and their leader Emmet McGinty, a bat shit crazy preacher. According to the townsfolk, McGinty’s zealots use the forest to worship Satan, get freaky and watch Bigfoot fuck. This turns out to be true as the campers are awakened that night by the sound of chanting and led to a group of hicks with a wooden yeti statue about to do just that. Despite finding a religion based around demonic bestiality, the group continues on with the camping trip- that way they can be picked off one by one by the hairy demigod in creative ways and/or in various states of undress.
One of many films that gained notoriety in the 80s due to the hysterical “video nasty” panic, it later passed censors after being cut by more than a minute, including most of the infamous penis-removal scene. Because of that claim to fame, its recognizable urge to entertain and unique tone, it is a favorite among trash connoisseurs but hasn't seen a decent recent release, as far as I know. Despite the similar name the movie has no connection to the classic British horror film Curse of the Demon (1957 AKA Night of the demon) or the cult staple Night of the Demons (1988).
Night of the demon is an eclectic mix of mean spirited trash and manic ambition. The film is unbridled by things like a budget or logic and instead opts to go full force with sleazy, hairy madness. It sports terrible plank-like acting, a nonsense plot, terrible noise/muzak masquerading as a soundtrack and flashbacks that take place inside of flashbacks ,but somehow it all comes together to make one fucked up fun woodland outing. Camera work is, for the most part, stale but constant, keeping itself well within the realm of watchable. If you walked in at the wrong time you may think you were watching a camp safety video from the end of the Ford Era due to its almost sepia tones and washed out picture.
Despite looking like it was filmed in the 70s, its quantity over quality attitude in the splatter department is more true to its early 80s release date. There is a fair amount of carnage and even with its low rent practical effects provides some pretty nasty and memorable moments. This includes a well demonstrated life lesson about taking a piss on the side of the road for all of us that have a dick and would like to keep it, and swinging a dude around in a sleeping bag before impaling him on a tree with all accompanying blood squirts. Bigfoot also takes cock blocking lessons from Jason ,so there are a few scenes of corny nudity accompanied by extremely gross lip smacking sound effects.
Our survivor is played by Michael Cutt, who has stuck mostly to TV roles since. B-movie regular Paul Kelleher has small walk on appearance as “The Sheriff”, and due to a discorded rescue plot changed in post editing his name receives principle billing. The only other actor I could point out would be Lynn Eastman, who you may recognize from Project X (no not the ‘10s party flick, the one with Ferris Bueller and that scene where the monkey gets fried for science that makes me cry very manly tears every fucking time) or the first Phantasm(1979).
Of course the real star of the movie is Bigfoot, who in this case is amplified by his redneck cult origins and creative aptitude for people-killing. The effects for the “demon” falls somewhere between the quality of creature used in The Geek (1971) and the more effective “Fouke Monster” from Boggy Creek. A few kills are done from the yeti’s point of view, in what I like to call “Sqwatch-Vision” which involves grunting and a red blurred border around the screen. Early on it looks like the film may employ a less-is-more, Jaws-like style in keeping its monster’s appearance mostly hidden, but this technique is quickly forgotten in subsequent scenes.
To its biggest credit, Night of the Demon aims to please. It's a trashy woodland field trip into bad cinema that knows what you came for and wears its flaws like boy scout badges. It easily sits close to the top of my extensive list of Bigfoot related films and gets extra points for its comical, but brutal, portrayal. I'm glad the internet has brought Bigfoot people together, but I think it's in our mysterious mutual friend's best interest to keep the bad boy persona. The big hairy guy has stayed hidden for a reason, and no matter what Tumblr tells you, I don't think he wants to meet you, or is a hugger. If you truly love him you will respect that and make everyone watch this movie, as they are less likely to go looking for a dick-ripping, satanic rapist in the woods…

On second thought, that might not work out right either. Shit, sorry Bigfoot the internet can be both a blessing and a curse sometimes.
 1h 32min | 1980
 Director: James C. Wasson
Writers: Jim L. Ball, Mike Williams 

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