Night Of The Demon (1980)

AUGUST 1, 2009


Those of you who have enjoyed the Horror People, Dear Reader series that Simon Barrett and I have “created” are probably wondering why we haven’t had a new installment since May. Well, we DID, but the track we recorded turned out to be for a film (Suburban Sasquatch) that was not in the public domain, as originally thought. The track may surface someday, but to make amends, we decided to do another Bigfoot/Sasquatch type film to make up for it: Night of the Demon. We finally got a chance to get together to record it this past weekend, so look for it hopefully this or next week.

Unlike Cathy’s Curse, which we had both seen, Demon had escaped us up until today, but rather than go in blind, we decided to watch the film in silence (I use the term more loosely than any term has ever been used before) and then watch it again with the recorder on. I would argue that some of our quips were lost this way, as the lack of spontaneity resulted in a “I don’t feel like making this joke again” feeling, at least for me, but it was an interesting way to do it - I can’t recall the last time I watched any film twice in a row unless I was the one making it.

Luckily it’s not a painful film to sit through again. Night of the Demon is probably the most ridiculous and gory Bigfoot movie ever made. The plot (which was largely stolen in Boggy Creek II) is more violent than most Bigfoot films, which allows director James C. Wasson to include tits (the ugliest pair I’ve ever seen I might add), a penis which is then castrated, a couple of disembowelings... plus an inordinate number of “environment” kills. Even though the film pre-dates Jason, you might get an F13 vibe from the way that Bigfoot (or whatever the hell he is) uses various tools (an ax, a pitchfork) and the settings (broken windows, stoves) to kill people, instead of his Sasquatchian arms and claws. I almost considered calling the film a slasher, because it unfolds almost exactly like one, except for all of the flashbacks.

See, not only is the entire film the account of Bigfoot’s sole survivor, but the story he tells often pauses to have flashbacks. I had to keep wondering how the guy was actually telling this story. “We got into camp, and I then told them the following story...”. Since none of our real characters gets killed until the film’s final 5 minutes (which unfolds entirely in slow-motion, Devil Times Five-style), these stories he tells are about other people getting killed. Who actually told HIM these stories is unknown, since they often depict one or two people who were in the woods and then killed, leaving no one to tell the tale, but it beats nothing happening until the end. Plus these deaths are far more entertaining than the ones in the finale - all of the ones I mentioned earlier happen to random people who are introduced just to be killed moments later. Most of them don’t even have names; the credits list characters such as “Van Lovers” and “Older Girl Scout”.

Also this has to be the only monster movie, or possibly ANY movie, in which a woman seems to orgasm herself to death. The lass and her beau are going at it, and then Bigfoot drags the poor sod out of the van and eviscerates him. She watches all this go down, but her screams sound far more orgasmic than terrified. And then, after a particularly heated cry, she suddenly just dies without the Bigfoot ever laying a paw on her. It’s breathtaking.

Odd bit of trivia: at one point our heroes stumble upon a cult in the middle of the woods. They look like regular townsfolk and are singing as they prepare to make a sacrifice. The scene is very reminiscent of the “Amazing Grace” sequence from A Touch Of Satan, and I said as much on the commentary track. Later, when I IMDb’d “Night of the Demon” in order to prepare for this review, A Touch Of Satan was one of the search results (it actually comes before this one), as it apparently goes by the same name sometimes. Weird.

There is one scene that sticks out as particularly unpleasant. We discover that the Bigfoot wanted to keep his bloodline going, so he rapes a girl. And unlike Jason’s rape exploits in Friday the 13th 3, this is most definitely NOT up to interpretation. But what makes it really awful is that the girl’s dad just sort of stands there and watches it while he asks God why he would allow such a thing. To hell with God, man, why are YOU allowing such a thing? Go knock that fucker off your daughter before he shoots his Sasquatch semen and gives you a grandson you most definitely DON’T want strangers to ask you about!

The film is, for all intents and purposes, unavailable; Simon’s disc was a DVD-R copy of a VHS with bad tracking, and the (out of print) DVD release is reportedly the same. A real DVD has never been released, and the VHS itself is long out of print (apparently, it was hard to find even in the format’s heyday). If anyone gives us shit about putting up a copy with our commentary over it, I will simply counter-sue them for not giving it a proper release after all these years. You simply have to see this thing to believe it (I haven’t even mentioned the “Bad Lettuce!”).

What say you?

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  1. This is a truly shitty film, but it is as awesome as it is terrible! I couldnt believe how friggin gory it was, I was expecting the color drained walk through pitch black woods we got in the original Bogggy Creek, instead I got hot potato as played with a cock

  2. I didn't really get the impression that the girl just died on her own in that one scene, but that the rest of it was left up to interpretation (thus the whole freeze-frame and zooming in one the eye deal). For a second though I thought I'd stepped into an art movie with the way that scene was handled (e.g. the slow zoom on the eye, the weird sound design, the way the scene just takes forever)! You can only get that kind of surreality from a trashy exploitation movie.

    I'm only twenty minutes into it, and I'm already loving this movie. The sleeping bag scene put a big grin on my face, and I dare say it's better than the sleeping bag scene from Friday the 13th Part VII! I can't wait to see what else this movie does to blow my mind.


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