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Night of the Demon (1980)

Part 2 of 3 of Bonkers Ass Bigfoot Week

The thin threads tethering me to reality have been severed. My ego and existential essence are unbound, floating through the ether like a wayward astronaut drifting alone through the cosmos in just a spacesuit.

Which can only mean one thing: I watched 1980’s Night of the Demon last night.

For those of you still in good spiritual health, let me explain. This film is about Bill Nugent (Michael Cutt), an anthropology professor, who awakens in a hospital bed horribly injured. The entirety of the narrative is a flashback, as he tells his story to the local cops, a tale about taking five of his students out into the wilderness to find Bigfoot. Inside of his flashback, he interrogates witnesses of the Bigfoot, for which we enter into secondary flashbacks within the original flashback, thus constructing an intricate and shaky Inception-level structure that questions the validity of existence itself. Am I real? Are you really reading this right now?

I honestly—for the dear life of me—have no idea how to write about this movie. I can tell you it was directed by a guy named James C. Wasson, and that it was on the Video Nasty list in the U.K. (which may be the first Video Nasty I’ve covered here at the blog, strangely enough). I don’t imagine I’ll be ruffling any feathers by saying it’s an extremely shoddy and inept film with all the usual trappings that entails. But that tells you absolutely nothing about Night of the Demon. The only way to understand it is to watch it, to experience every minute detail.

For instance, here’s some choice dialogue I’ve curated just for you:

“You better watch out, or I’ll jump you.”

—a pickup line used while playing CHESS

“Oh, no. You know what I just realized? Our radio and ammunition are gone.”

“Bigfoot’s not playing games anymore.”

Hopefully, you’re beginning to get on this movie’s wavelength. And if you’re not, this film don’t.give.a.fuck. It’s gonna do its own thing, regardless. It doesn’t need you. It’s existed perfectly well enough for 38 years without your indifferent, shitty attitude.

As for me, I began to be allured by this movie’s particularly brand of Spanish fly when, very early in the film, Bigfoot awakens a camper in a sleeping bag, picks him up, swings him around in the sleeping bag over and over and over and over and over again, before tossing him like 20 feet into the brush, impaling him on a stick. Here’s a picture of my notes immediately after:

And the movie just kinda continues this way for like an hour, essentially a slasher movie where Bigfoot is the killer. The setup for each kill is as follows: the group sets up camp in a different location, then the professor tells a story (flashback!) of someone who was killed by Bigfoot in that very spot. I actually don’t think anyone dies in real time until like an hour into the movie.

If Night of the Demon is known for anything, it’s for the professor’s story about an unfortunate biker who pulls over to take a leak, and Bigfoot rips off his dick, for which we all then watch him bleed out. Oh, to be a fly on the wall when someone at the British Board of Film Classification had to screen this movie. That scene and the infamous Bigfoot rape scene were removed completely from all British releases until very recently.

And so it’s that kind of movie. This is a must watch for lovers of weird cinema and for the slasher fan who has to see everything. I watched it on a really crappy VHS transfer plagued by darkness and tracking issues, which actually seemed really appropriate in context, but I think there is a Code Red DVD floating around out there. I highly recommend you catch this one way or the other. Afterwards, though, you might just want to spin one of those fancy Inception tops.

Next up: Demonwarp (1988)

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