Bigfoot slasher horror
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Night of the Demon (1980)
12th Oct 04
A College Professor and some of his students head into the mountains in search of Bigfoot. They find him.
Following in the proud tradition of The Abominable Snowman, The Legend of Boggy Creek and Bigfoot and the Hendersons, Night of the Demon takes the age old mountain man myth (Yeti, Sasquatch, whatever you want to call him) and transports him straight into a contemporary horror movie. It being the 80s now, where time's moved on and the Slasher craze is at its peak, there are no prizes for guessing exactly what you're going to get from this movie.
The story goes like this; we open at a hospital, where a bunch of doctors and a cop are talking to this guy with a cloth over his face (to cover his hideous injuries we assume). Apparently he's the only survivor of a recent massacre and the cop wants to know what happened. Cue the first flash back…
The guy on the hospital bed is a Professor Nugent from the local college and he tells of how he'd got interested in recent reports coming from the mountains - reports of bizarre murders linked with Bigfoot sightings. Intrigued, he assembles a search party of willing nubile students to go with him and hunt for this Yeti. And off they go looking.
That's pretty much it, actually, the plot of Night of the Demon is not unexpectedly a little thin . Much of the movie revolves around the Professor and his crew asking people if they've seen Bigfoot and then setting up camp for the night. Boring yes, but after each day's exploring, when it's dark around the campfire, the Professor has a movie-saving habit of telling stories of recent Yeti killings, presented to us in full gore spontaneous flashbacks. And these are flashbacks inside a flashback - remember the Professor has already been mutilated and is in a hospital bed, so this is actually already a flashback. Are you with me?
Anyway, the in-flashback spontaneous Bigfoot killing flashbacks are a Godsend. Firstly they provide a pleasant break in the monotony of camper's world, and secondly they prolong the life span of the principal cast for the final slaughter. The movie teases you too - around the middle of the movie, when you think the movie's flashback quota has surely been used up, random characters start wandering off, with last lines like "I'm off to the truck, I'll be right back." And "We're going to get a little privacy in the woods." You assume they're dead and start rubbing your paws together in anticipation of an inventive yeti death, when out of nowhere the Professor mutters, "It wasn't far from here where the body of a woodsman was found…" Cue another flashback.
Then, to my surprise, as soon as that flashback finishes the old Professor comes out with, "And it was in the same area that two girl scouts disappeared…"
There's more to it than just flashbacks, though. There's the Demon worshipping locals with the large Yeti totem that accidentally catches fire. There's crazy Wanda and her own personal flashback (of an abusive father and some other, rather disturbing, goings on). And there's the jumpy hunter who has mysterious cigarettes in his ashtray that the group think is some kind of clue.
In the end, however, the film just rolls on, helped by the occasional flashback, until they run out and our friendly neighbourhood Bigfoot comes charging over the hill, triggering the finale. His claws go flying in a whirlwind of slow motion gore, accompanied by the most unsuitable 80s experimental space noises score you've ever heard, and pretty much everyone gets it. Then it's back to the hospital to wrap things up, but not before you have time to realise that the Bigfoot looks a hell of a lot like Lou Ferrigno with a load of Tizwas werewolf fur stuck on him. Whaddya know.
Originally banned in Germany, Norway and the UK, Night of the Demon was one of those unfortunate movies that came out in the middle of the video nasty craze of the early 80s and suffered financially for it, but it's ironic how movie history pans out. I've no doubt that without that notorious banning, no one would have bothered to remaster the uncut version and sell it on ebay, which would have been a shame because without the extra grue, I doubt this movie's worth watching at all. Still, uncut it is a real giggle and would squeeze in nicely in a line up if ever you wanted to host your own video nasty night. I mean, how many movies do you know that have a scene where a motorcyclist gets his penis graphically ripped off while taking a piss, by a yeti…
Versions Available on ebay in Pre-Cert sometimes, the best places to get this is from a DVDR seller in the states. I bought my copy off bijouflix.com, and it's of decent quality and uncut.
Avoid the UK Vipco release at all costs. They didn't bother to find the uncut print and simply resubmitted a cut print to the BBFC. That print has lost between 2 and 5 minutes of gore, depending which website you read.
4th Oct 04 With its fine blend of dark humour and shock horror, you will barely be able to avert your gaze from the screen; from the opening sequence on the desolate moors, to the thrilling finale in Piccadilly Circus.