Night of the Demon (1980)
NIGHT OF THE DEMON
WRITER: Screenplay by Mike Williams
From a story by Jim L. Ball
DIRECTOR: James C. Wasson
STARRING: Michael J. Cutt as Professor Nugent
Melanie Graham as Wanda
Paul Kelleher as Sheriff
Lynn Eastman as Susan Nugent
QUICK CUT: A professor and a group of students wander into the woods to find Bigfoot, and instead find endless flashbacks and gore.
Professor Nugent - A kind, smart, and determined professor, interested in cryptozology, and especially in investigating Bigfoot. He will find his answers, and let anyone who gets in his way beware, for he will camp on your lawn.
Wanda - A woman living in the deep, deeep, DEEP woods, with a connection to the Bigfoot sightings that no one could have predicted.
Special Note - There's a LOT of people in this movie. They all get listed in the opening credits, and character names fly out fast and loose during the movie. And the film has *zero* actual proper cast credits for the main cast, so not even IMDB knows who plays who, save for a few people. I'm not even going to bother with the crowd. On with the text!
THE GUTS: Welcome back, Triskelions, as MONTH OF THE DEMONS continues, with...Night of the Demon?? Yep, same title, different movie, different decade even. We are jumping ahead a good 20+ years to 1980 for our next stop on this tour, with another movie entitled Night of the Demon, and you could not get a more different plot. Not quite as sticky a situation as the Metamorphoses, but close.
This second Night of the Demon kicks off at the end of the story, with Professor Nugent laying in a hospital bed, the lower half of his face all bandaged up because it's been horribly mutilated, and surrounded by some doctors and the local sheriff, all curious about what happened. Yeah, you and me both!
Now, is his face bandaged up like that so they can ADR whatever the hell they want over the scene and not worry about dialogue, rewriting it as they wish, or do they have some hideous damaged reveal coming up later? Crossing fingers for that latter one, that's for sure! Bring on the gnarly facial damage!
They insist Nugent begin his story at the beginning, and I'm already wishing this movie took its own advice. Anyways, he starts off talking about a fisherman that was horribly mutilated, and we flashback to the events.
Or, more accurately, it cuts away to a lot of shots of trees and mountains, before getting to the fisherman who is being stalked by first generation Predator vision.
The hidden creature yanks the guy's arm off, and sprays a bottle of ketchup on the nearby wall, as the fisherman stumbles away holding a raw chicken against his shoulder. Man, Bigfoot is a jerk.
So both Nugent and the fisherman's injuries were described as being 'horribly mutilated' which is a fairly accurate description I suppose, but someone needs to buy a thesaurus. He was horribly mutilated, that guy was horribly mutilated, EVERYbody is horribly mutilated! Horribly mutilated the movie!
The credits roll over some HILARIOUSLY upbeat flute music, straight out of the 70s. In fact, the score is either this, or strange synth noises. One is appropriate, the other is...not.
We find ourselves in Nugent's class, where he's showing the Zapruder version of a Bigfoot movie to the class, showcasing some people that went missing when someone waved a giant carpet in front of the lens. Magic!
Someone asks what happened to the family, and insists it couldn't be a bear, because they don't move like that. How can you tell?? All you see is like a wall of fur move past the camera. It could be ANYthing. But do not fear, Triskelions, there are no Actual Bears in this movie, it's all Bigfoots.
The fisherman's daughter is there, to tell her story, but instead decides to whisk us away to an unrelated cutaway to a couple in their van making love.
Unfortunately, they suffer from Bigfootus interuptus as the big guy crashes in and grabs the guy's naked ass right out of the van and kills him. Man, Bigfoot is a perv!!
After her boyfriend is brutally slain, the woman sits there just going "Oh! Ohh! Ahh! Ohh!" forEVER. It would've been fine a few times, but the camera keeps rolling, and the editor never bothered to cut. And it's not even like she's screaming. She may as well be orgasming, so that makes it one of the longest, most inappropriate never ending reaction shots. ACTING.
Based on these stories, and with the fisherman's daughter's own accounts, Nugent and his students gear up to go into the woods to see if they can find this Bigfoot. Well, at least the doctor will be able to get lots of guns from his brother Ted.
Nugent and five students row out into the middle of the middle of nowhere, and I swear, Cropsey is going to get them if Bigfoot doesn't.
They bang on the door of a Mr. Carlson who's got some connection with all this, and he blows them off so he can go hunting. But one of the students insists he wasn't planning to go hunting, he wasn't carrying any supplies! Yeah, that's logic. All that matters is he's carrying a *gun*, so you better check yourself.
Our group sets up camp *on this guy's lawn* since he's gotta come back eventually, right? Who are the bigger jerks in this movie, Bigfoot and his random grabbings, or these dorks setting up to ambush the guy who clearly doesn't want to talk?
And do you *really* want to camp out and pester the guy whom you last saw carrying a rifle into the woods? That seems ill advised.
Carlson eventually returns and agrees to talk in the morning. "But it won't take that long!" insists Nugent. "Oh, it won't!" This is way more polite than this group deserves at this point, really.
Since it's been a good little while, the movie cuts away to a random camper just enjoying some downtime in his sleeping bag, when he is unexpectedly yanked away and SWUNG AROUND IN THE AIR OVER THE BIGFOOT'S HEAD. Like a dozen times. It just keeps going. Man, Bigfoot is an ass!
The Demon finally puts him down. Violently. On a pile of sticks that pierce him straight through. That was *awesome*. Let's see you top THAT, movie!!
As you can see, we are setting into a formula here. Blah blah random talking scenes with our actual cast, then cut away to a completely random person being brutally slain. I normally hate this kind of thing, because the problem with random kills is that you just don't care. But man are these kills amazing. It doesn't matter that we don't care about the people being murdered, it's just plain awesome.
One of the students gets woken up by the murder happening elsewhere, and finally gets a chance to talk to Carlson. During which he at least finds out about Crazy Wanda in the woods who has more information.
The group asks around town to try and find out info on Crazy Wanda, and learn about her father a preacher, who wanted to get away from everything, and how she had a baby and lost her voice, and all your usual folklorey type tales.
Oh, and the preacher father saw his horribly deformed grandson, thought he saw the devil, and committed suicide at the idea. By fire.
Nugent's group heads even deeper into the woods and further down the river. We were already well into murderville county, where could we be going now??
But we have done an awful lot of wandering and talking, so I guess it's time for another random Bigfoot murder! This time out, Nugent tells us about a motorcyclist who needed to take a whiz, and the movie cuts away to his story.
And wouldn't you just know it? Bigfoot is just laying around when this guy starts pissing all over the place, so of course he reaches out and tears off his little biker. Man, Bigfoot is a *dick!*
But let's stop to think about this. The biker is in the middle of nowhere. There aren't even any other cars on the road. So he picks the one spot where the Bigfoot JUST so happens to be, OR the Bigfoot saw this guy and was all, "I'mma gonna fuck him up" without any real idea HOW...until the biker gave him a major opportunity.
Either way you slice it, I challenged the movie to top sleeping bag dude, and I will say it delivered.
And we go back to Nugent and friends, "Well, we need to get some sleep and get an early start!" Yeah, right, like telling the tales of all the horrible, rude, VIOLENT murders that Bigfoot is doing, and you KNOW he's lurking just over the hill, is gonna help people sleep.
Finally, something interesting happens with the campers, as some of them hear some noises and go to investigate. What they find is a Bigfoot rape cult. Yeeeah, that's apparently a thing.
Nugent stares in disbelief, just like myself, and fires a few shots into the air to scare off the cultists before anything can happen to the poor woman beyond the already traumatic stuff like kidnapping and a naked man in a mask climbing on top of her while a gigantic Bigfoot effigy watches over them.
In the ensuing chaos, some torches get knocked over and set the area on fire. And our heroes just kinda shrug and say "Welp, not our problem!"
They wake up the next day, and find their boat is gone, and damnit guys, I *warned* you, but Nope, here you are, reliving the plot of The Burning. And just as I'm joking that, "Well, we can build a raft to get back down the river!' Yeah, and how well did that work for Fisher Stevens, huh? HUH?? DO YOU WANT TO LOSE YOUR FINGERS??
Our heroes also find a footprint, blathering excitedly about the plaster cast they make of it, and eventually night falls again so two of the students pair off and has sex. But Bigfoot shows up with a new definition of heavy petting, and digs deep, nasty scratches in the back of the guy.
Halfway through the movie, and the Flannel Brigade finally find the McGinty's cabin in the middle of the middle of the middle of nowhere. Oh, and Wanda also just so happens to be the woman they saved during the ritual. Glad to see she got home okay!
They try and ask her some questions, and she flips out when one of them shows her the cast of the Bigfootprint. Once she shuts herself in her bedroom screaming, the rest of them set up camp on HER front lawn. These guys don't quite get the idea of camping and trespassing, do they?
If this wasn't bad enough, one of them takes a flashlight and keeps poking it through Wanda's windows. How positively *rude*. If Bigfoot doesn't kill them, Hannibal is going to eat them they are that rude.
But it's time for another tale of Bigfoot terror, as Professor Nugent sits everyone around the campfire and tells them about a woodsman who was, you guessed it, horribly mutilated.
So once again the movie cuts away to another scene where we get to watch what happens to the woodsman. He's just doing his thing, but apparently Bigfoot doesn't like people cutting down his trees anymore than he likes people pissing on them. He steals the axe and gives the guy a glancing blow, that doesn't actually kill him.
Instead, the Demon waits for the woodsman to struggle for awhile, and finally pass out. Once he's suffered through all that, the creature decides to end his fun and buries the axe in the guy's head. Man, Bigfoot is a sadist!
We jump back to Nugent's Campfire Tales for all of *five seconds* so he can inform us that this happened in the exact same area where a pair of Girl Scouts disappeared and were murdered. So we cut away AGAIN after just getting back.
THIS IS THE FAMILY GUY OF HORROR MOVIES!! "Hey Quagmire, this is just like that time some Girl Scouts went into the forest and got stabbed to death by Bigfoot! Heheheheheh."
Also, we are just piling on the deaths at this point, huh? Also also, this may be the single most absurd death scene I have *ever* seen. And I have seen many a death. The girl scouts are wandering through the woods, clearly and inexplicably waving knives around to establish they have stabby things, until Bigfoot appears, grabs them by the arms and yanks the pair towards each other over and over and over again, using one girl's arm to stab the other and vice versa.
That...that is the single most amazingly over the top way to kill people. It's impractical, it's silly, and it's jaw-droppingly unheard of, for good reason. Not only did Night of the Demon top the sleeping bag scene, I would argue it just topped the dick ripping scene.
But back with the Flannel Squad, the jerk with the flashlight saw a shotgun in the cabin, but it's old and they warn it would probably go off in his face if they tried to use it. But they figure it's better than nothing, so they steal from the poor woman whose lawn they've taken residence on, and traumatised.
Later, he hears something in the woods, and takes the ancient shotgun with him to investigate, and wouldn't you know it, he gets Chekoved to death when it literally goes off in his face. Not really because it was OLD, but because the Demon shoved him against a tree and when he tries to shoot the gun, it's pointing right up at his head. Seriously dude, you kinda deserved that.
Now that one of their own has died, they decide to head out of the woods, like smart, rational peop...Oh no, Nugent wants to talk to Wanda first. And you were so close to being the smartest horror movie cast ever. That's the fastest turnaround from "Fuck this shit, I'm out!" to "Hey let's poke the Bigfoot" I've seen.
While inside the home, Nugent notices a door that's been locked for ages, and wants to see what's inside. Which sets Wanda off again. But oh, he's *curious* and wants to see, so wants to break the lock. "You might have to hold her!" You massive, massive *jerks*. You barge into this woman's home, treat her hospitality like crap, *forcibly restrain her* to get what you want, steal from her...
After violating her privacy and finding nothing more than an abandoned bedroom with a shrine to Jesus, Nugent manages to succeed in hypnotising her. Are we going to mess with her mind too?
He sends her back to when she was 15, and makes her relive her father beating her for dating a boy. Lovely. But honestly, that's not the worst of it. Because Bigfoot comes to comfort her in her time of grief and...oh no wait, the monster rapes her, my mistake.
Let me tell you, I never thought I would actually see Bigfoot rape, but here we are. One more thing to check off, that was never actually on my bucket list.
This all leads to Wanda getting pregnant, and her preacher father praying for God to burn it out of her, and failing divine intervention, he tries to kill the baby with something poisonous he makes her drink.
So we come back to the presentish time, with Wanda freaking out, because she's been made to relive through regression her beating, her rape, her giving birth, and the death of her Bigfoot rape baby. Thanks, Doc!
Once she goes off to cry, the group doesn't bother to comfort her, but rather discuss if she's telling the truth. Was she really raped by Bigfoot, or was it just a randomly deformed baby from the guy her father didn't like? Here's a hint; Bigfoot.
They don't know if anything she said was true or not, but they know how to find out! BY DESECRATING THE BABY'S GRAVE ON THE FRONT LAWN.
"Hmm, this poor woman was raped by a Bigfoot, gave birth to its deformed demon spawn, and her father killed the monstrosity! But how can we prove it...? I KNOW LET'S GO DIG UP THIS WOMAN'S YARD LOOKING FOR THE CORPSE!" Haven't you monsters done enough??
Now that they've desecrated the grave site, papa Demon comes bounding over the hills for a little Wendigo style vengeance. Everyone runs into the house and learns exactly why there's bars on the windows.
One of them tries to shoot the Demon, but Wanda yanks the gun away from the windows. Miraculously, they didn't thin out the cast at that moment.
Since they have some time to rest, they ask Wanda more questions, wondering why the Bigfoot rape cult worships the creature, and if they were followers of her father, and he thought the baby was a demon sent from his god, why he immolated himself.
But that's when Wanda reveals that it was SHE who set her father on fire. And the movie cuts away again. For two seconds, if that. Remember that time I set my dad on fire, Joe?
It does at least go back for the full trapped in the outhouse and burned scene, but the random cut away for a couple seconds is just weird and pointless.
After she admits to killing her father out of revenge, and to save the Bigfoot, the group just kinda stares at us as they realise they've locked themselves in, and while they aren't trapped outside with Bigfoot, they ARE trapped inside with her.
The Demon delivers them a present, and I *think* it's the guy who shot himself in the face, but damned if I can be sure. The cast is largely interchangeable.
But Bigfoot is back, and he's pissed, and he starts trying to bash through the windows, injuring a few of our party, until he gets a hot poker in the face.
The Flannel Force scrambles around in a panic, trying to barricade windows and failing miserably. I mean, stacking a table over the window might work. Standing it up and having the edge of the table stop before the window, does not. Congrats, you just barricaded the wall.
But the monster persists, and eventually tears off the bars, and climbs in through the window. Refenestration!
And we go from them being at one time the smartest horror movie cast to the dumbest as they all rush to take shelter...deeper in the house. The fisherman's daughter, I think, does not make it and gets killed outside the kitchen. Say hi to dad!
Not that the kitchendoor is gonna stop the Demon, so he kinda barges right in. He instantly grabs the first student he can get his paws on, and eviscerates him right there. He then proceeds to use the guts as a flail and beat the rest of the cast. Man, Bigfoot is hardcore!
Another student gets grabbed and his head used to bash out another window, and then the Demon uses the shards still in the window frame to slowly slice open his throat.
The massacre continues when the monster grabs a nearby pitchfork and stabs another student with *that*. For a monster from the woods, he sure does like to use weapons.
Nugent is the last one up, and the Demon grabs him, and shoves his face onto the wood stove, so that's what happened to his face. Not that we really see it outside of dark grey. Also, it's never more specifically revealed in the hospital. So, I guess it was largely done so they could fill in whatever lines they wanted.
With his story told, we cut back to the hospital. He gets a little hysterical, trying to convince the cops to go after Bigfoot. But they all just agree he's crazy! "I still got five missing bodies!" I mean, it's not like he didn't tell you where to look, who or what did it, who to ask... Nope, "Welp, he's just gone mad and killed everyone, and we'll all testify that he's nuts, yep!"
That is such a garbage ending. "His concept of reality" needs to change? You have "no alternative" but to classify him as clinically insane? Here's an alternative, INVESTIGATE!
Video: It's dull, it's grey, it's washed out...but this is apparently the best version of the movie they could find for the DVD. I guess I'll allow it.
Audio: Middling to okay audio.
Sound Bite: “He’s not going hunting! He didn’t pack a lunch.” I will never let this logic die.
Body Count: Whooooo, this movie is not shy about killing people. Or at least maiming them. I think one or two of them *MIGHT* have survived their injuries, but I'm counting them as dead because we never see them or their little winkies again.
1 - Random camper loses an arm and gets mutilated by Bigfoot, 3 minutes in.
2 - Random horny dude gets yanked out of his van and killed.
3 - Random camper gets the rudest awakening ever.
4 - Random motorcyclist gets his privates torn off.
5 - Random woodsman gets an axe to the face.
6 - Random Girl Scout #1 is stabbed repeatedly by her friend.
7 - Random Girl Scout #2 is stabbed repeatedly by her friend.
8 - Finally a less random death occurs when Pete shoots himself in the face with a little assistance from Bigfoot.
9 - The fisherman's daughter gets killed by the Bigfoot.
10 - One of the students gets his guts ripped out.
11 - Another one gets tossed into a window and his neck slowly sliced open on the glass.
12 - Yet another student gets killed by a pitchfork in the back.
Best Corpse: So...so many to choose from. I am still rather partial to the camper getting flung around in the air. It was a wake up call for the audience, made me sit up and take notice, and the movie never let go.
Blood Type - B+: There's quite a bit of ketchup being sprayed around this movie, and there's a lot of chicken parts being used as stumps and internal organs.
Sex Appeal: The couple in the van provide a little something for everyone involved.
Drink Up! Every damned time the movie cuts away, or someone says "hideously mutilated".
Video Nasties: I really wanted to share the woman's dull surprise of a scream, but there was too much nudity. But the hilariously bizarre stabbing of the Girl Scouts is a great second choice.
Movie Review: This is either the best or the worst Bigfoot movie ever. It's actually got a solid plot, and has been done in other places. It's very similar to one of the Boggy Creek movies, and I wonder if one inspired the other. It's clearly low budget, but they try, and the level of creativity they bring to the kills outshines many, much better movies. I poke fun at the walk and talks, but they're actually not bad, and the cast is okay, for this sort of movie. It moves the plot along, and the antics are interesting. The movie stumbles into actually knowing the right pace between the campers and the deaths. That doesn't change the cheap quality and lurid nature of it though, but there's a level of competence here that I can't deny. Three out of five removed dangly bits.
Entertainment Value: Holy potatoes. I am still in awe at what I watched. I knew this movie had a reputation, but I did not know what I was in for. Bigfoot is just a sight to behold, and he is a force to be reckoned with that would make any Kruegers or Voorhees jealous. The blood, and gore, and unexpected shocks they bring really made me take notice of this movie. It may be a basic plot, but then it drops in Bigfoot cults and babies, and just spirals around ludicrous brilliance at its lurid, disgusting best. Five out of five helicoptered sleeping bags.