Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Night of the Demon (1980)

"An evil mutation embarks on a wave of brutal butchery"

Every once in a while you stumble across a film that you can’t help having a soft spot for, despite the fact that you are unable to defend the film in question in any way. Night of the Demon is one of those films for me and I have no idea why. Maybe it’s the fact that I first saw the film on video in the early Eighties, whilst stuck at home with chickenpox, my confinement only broken by trips to the video library to stock up on another 24 hours worth of depravity. You don’t need to tell me that the direction (courtesy of James C Wasson) lacks any kind of flair, that the gore effects are extremely rudimentary and that the acting would fail to impress a sixth form drama coach. I know that the film as a whole is virtually without merit but what Night of the Demon does have going for it however is a rampaging yeti/sasquatch that is more than willing to deal out a fine array of ketchup soaked and frequently ridiculous deaths…

The pre-credits sequence provides a taster of what’s in store for the rest of the film. A lone fisherman is brutally attacked and has an arm literally torn from its’ socket! As the lacerated limb spills copious amounts of blood, the credits roll…

Professor Nugent is the sole survivor of a group containing mostly anthropology students that set out to discover the secret behind the stories of a crazed creature living in the swamplands. Among the students (and among the victims) is the daughter of the fisherman butchered at the start, who unsurprisingly wants to know about the beast that killed her father. sitting around the campfire on an evening, Professor Nugent tells the stories of the various deaths attributed to the creature, which we get to see in great, gory detail. Witness the poor unfortunate sleeping camper that gets a wake up call of being swung round in circles by the `demon` and then thrown and impaled upon a jutting branch! Check out the two lost, knife wielding girl guides who are shaken about like ragdolls, helplessly slicing into each other, unable to break free! Howl as the creature interrupts a night of transit-based passion by ripping open the back doors and pulling out Mr Loverman before battering him around all four sides of the van before the body slides down from the roof, smearing the windscreen with gore as he goes! Best of all, roar as an unwitting cyclist has his dick ripped off answering nature’s call, before stumbling towards the camera clasping what looks like a slice of raw bacon dripping the equivalent of two bottles of ketchup between his legs!

Deep in the woods, the group eventually discovers crazy Wanda, daughter of a religious zealot and one time unwilling sexual partner of the beast. We learn (once again in flashback) that many years ago Wanda was raped by the beast and became pregnant – although the infant was stillborn.

Needless to say, the demon saves the best until last, catching up with Professor Nugent and his charges at Wanda’s shack before committing more outrageous acts of mayhem, the high point of which has to be the disembowelling of some poor soul, the creature then whipping the exposed entrails high above its’ own head! Despite having the best part of his face charred upon an oven ring, Professor Nugent manages to escape to tell the tale…

It has to be said that Night of the Demon is not a film that is held in high regard than many genre critics although from a personal point of view I have yet to come across anyone that dislikes the movie. I'm more than willing to accept that the film is watchable simply for the amount of time that the titular demon is on the rampage. With a splatter scene every five minutes or so Night of the Demon is essential viewing for gore-hounds and yeti-heads alike! You just know that when a misty point-of-view shot begins, then the red rain is going to fall! A film that's just screaming out for a gloriously remastered special edition!

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