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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Night of the Demon (1980)

The title of this movie confuses a lot of fans. First off because it is so similar to Night of the Demons which is a completely different movie that spawned several sequels. Second people don’t expect this one to be a Bigfoot movie since it isn’t mentioned in the title, but demon is. Though to be fair to the filmmakers if you watch the movie the title will eventually make sense. With that out of the way let’s talk about some sleazy sasquatch action.

The action starts off with a man in a hospital bed with the lower half of his face covered in bandages. We find out that his name is Professor Nugent and he is explaining to the authorities what happened to the students he took into the woods looking for the legendary Bigfoot creature. In flashbacks we see the group wander into the woods and along the way meet up with a reluctant witness that eventually lets them know about a woman called Crazy Wanda who lives deeper in the woods. On their way there they find some hillbilly cultists and start making connections between the locals and Bigfoot. After that they end up under siege at Wanda’s cabin with the monster trying to smash his way in. We also get several flashbacks with in the flashback to fill things out as various characters tell different encounters that others have had with the creature. Listening to them I seriously wonder why the hell they would ever have considered wandering into the woods a good idea.

This was one of the Holy Grails of my days skulking around the horror section at the local Mom and Pop rental store. Stories were told of dick ripping and Bigfoot rape, which no one really believed was true. It had to be an exaggeration, even it if was one of the Video Nasties in England. No one could have actually made a movie with that stuff in it… could they? Well they did, and Night of the Demon does deliver the goods. Not only do you have the aforementioned twisted encounters, but there are girl scouts being forced to stab each other, a death by sleeping bag that predates the same kill by Jason Voorhees by many years, guts are used as a whip, faces are cooked on stoves, and graves are defiled. You have to appreciate the effort made to squeeze all this into what could have been your run of the mill Bigfoot movie.

For the most part I dig Night of the Demon. While I think they could have cut maybe ten minutes of the students and professor Nugent wandering around for the most part the pacing is okay. The last twenty minutes of the movie are the best as the creature attacks the cabin and dispatches most of the cast. The kills and gore are well done on the smallish budget they had to work with. They keep the creature in the shadows or shot from behind for most of the movie. When we do get the reveal, it isn’t terrible for a low budget creature. They didn’t go for the monkey suit that far too many Bigfoot movies use. I also enjoyed the ending with our survivor being sedated and considered crazy, while we the audience knows that the creature still stalks the woods. I dig that a lot.

I was promised some messed up sleazy stuff involving Bigfoot and the movie gives me that. In no way is it a perfect movie, but I’m always entertained by it. How much more can we ask for from a movie? I recommend Night of the Demon in all of its sleazy glory.

note: While looking for the trailer I found the entire movie available to watch off of YouTube. No reason not to jump right in and check it out! It is linked above where I normally post the trailer. 


© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer

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