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Film Review: Night Of The Demon (1980)

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SYNOPSIS:

Professor Nugget and his students try to track down Bigfoot, but end up uncovering something more sinister at work.

REVIEW:

Night of the Demon”, not to be confused with “Night of the Demons”, is exactly the kind of campy old horror movie I love. I spent, or according to some, misspent many Saturday nights of my childhood watching low budget schlock like this either through Mystery Science Theater 300, or the cheap section of the local mom and pop video rental store, back in the days of VHS and pay phones.

This movie starts out with an unintentional laugh, we see a close up of a saline drip, and hear a very comical and cartoonish bubble sound as an air bubble goes through it. From there the audience learns that the man in the hospital is none other than Professor Nugent, who went out into the woods to look for a creature which may be the cause of mysterious deaths in the area.

The audience get high budget value out of the monster-vision, shortly after the hospital scene becomes one of the best monster intro sequences I’ve seen in a long time. The Sasquatch rips the arm off a fisher whose blood then drains into and fills a perfect large animal foot print. Soon after we follow the professor and a few students as they go about trying to unravel the mystery of the local murderous bigfoot, and discover the cult behind it as well.

The music reminds me of an episode of CHIPS, and the sound quality is very poor. I initially thought that this was a 70’s euro-trash horror flick. Poor dubbing would be more expected from an Italian monster film. On top of that the sound effects are absolutely comical, they are so bad and so over the top you simply cannot help but laugh at the scene. Case in point, a scene with two teenagers making out in a van in the woods, the kissing sounded more like someone eating and slurping up food. It is incredibly ridiculous.

When it comes to special effects and death scenes this movie really takes the cake. Possibly the best moment in the whole film is when big foot takes a camper in his sleeping bag, and swings him around and around over his head, and throws him into a tree where he gets impaled with a tree branch. I thought that there was no way that the film makers could top that, boy was I wrong.

There is a moment in which a biker steps off the road to urinate into some bushes, up reaches a large hairy hand rips off all of his manhood. This is so campy and bad, that this movie is hilariously amazing. The monster is a tall guy covered in a fur suit, and all the blood is a thick red paint or a watered down wine. The effects are absolutely atrocious, but low budget film making in 1980 is a far cry from what it is now. I must say this is a treat to watch though, it so over the top with everything that happens in it.

This movie is loaded with horror genre tropes, making it instantly fun to watch. This movie may have been filmed as a serious attempt at a horror film but the end result is campy funny movie full of back woods loners, 1970’s style sex humor, cartoonish sound effects, and plot practically stolen from an episode of Scooby doo. The moment “crazy Wanda” became a character described by the owner and proprietor of Herb’s market, the very last shred of tangible credibility vanished from this movie. Unsurprisingly enough, director James C. Wasson has no other film’s to his credit, I suppose failing to the point of comedy does really earn you a second film. This is the kind of movie you bring to movie night, let all the friends in on the joke and have fun watching this terrible and hilarious film.

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