Night of the Demon (1980)
By: Devon B. on November 8, 2011  | 
Code Red (USA) | All Regions, NTSC | 1.33:1 | English DD 1.0 | 96 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: James C. Wasson
Starring: Michael Cutt, Joy Allen, Bob Collins, Jody Lazarus, Rick Fields, Michael Lang
Screenplay: Jim L. Ball and Mike Williams
Country: USA
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I think my first encounter with Night of the Demon was while watching La Maldición de la Bestia, or Hall of the Mountain King as it was called on the video that my friend and I hired. The movie was censored so all the sex and violence was toned down, but in a completely befuddling move the distributor had inserted gore scenes from Night of the Demon under the end credits. Yes, the Yeti/werewolf movie had the graphic violence cut then violence from a different Bigfoot movie was inserted in at the end. The good thing was my friend said, "Hey, that's from Night of the Demon, let's watch that next." Oh, the glory!

Night of the Demon has had a few bootleg releases, but I think Code Red's DVD is the first official release it's had on DVD. The film is part of the "Maria's 'B' Movie Mayhem" line, so is hosted by Maria Kanellis who is a wrestler or something. I'm not sure Night of the Demon qualifies for this line because I think it's giving it too much credit to call it a "B" movie. I wasn't expecting much from the hostess, and while the intro was stupid nonsense, it wasn't as offensive as I thought it would be from the cover. The outro is pretty terrible, though, but you don't have to watch the movie with the intro and outro on anyway.

In the movie proper, a professor is obsessed with Bigfoot, so when a rumour circulates that a Bigfoot has gone on a killing rampage he drags his students out into the woods to investigate. It turns out this is one rumour that was very well founded. While waiting for the Bigfoot to turn up in all his shaggy, scraggly, low rent glory and kill the group off, additional kills are presented via flashback as people tell tales of the Bigfoot's previous victims. This shoehorn method is a great way to get extra Bigfoot bloodshed. The Bigfoot even uses an axe on one victim, so for all intents and purposes this is a slasher with a Bigfoot as the killer. GENIUS!! Also there's a cult and some other silly shenanigans, but really, Sasquatch slasher is all you should need to know.

When the Bigfoot is off screen, it is admittedly hard to overlook the film's many, many flaws. Indeed everything that is not the Bigfoot is highly flawed, and even the Bigfoot himself looks pretty crap. The acting, script, FX and the often incongruous score are laughable, but add to the film's wacko charm. Adding even more to the wackiness are some really odd style choices, like when one scene is shot through a fence for no apparent reason, or the Bigfoot vision, which is just a red border on the frame with a clear circle in the middle. I'm not sure if this inspired the atrocious Bigfoot vision in Sasquatch: The Untold but if it did then that is a point against Night of the Demon.

Yes, it's awful, but c'mon, it's a silly Sasquatch slasher with an admittedly serious moral: Don't try to pee on Bigfoot or bad things happen to you.
Before the movie some text states there was only a one inch master tape available for this film. As such, the movie's presented at 1.33:1. I think the movie was probably shot full frame then cropped for theatrical release because there's a lot of dead space on the frame, and some things, like the actor's leg showing trough the Bigfoot costume in one scene, were probably not present in the theatrical release. Also the Bigfoot vision appears to have been designed so that the bottom portion of the frame would be removed for theatrical presentation. Anyway, I don't think any picture information is missing, and we may have too much. The film has specks and dirt and spots, but I was surprised by how clean it looked. The print is still a bit soft, but there clearly wasn't much to work with.
The mono track isn't great, but again there wouldn't have been much to work with. I could hear most of the important bits, but the film was a bit quiet and there was some distortion.
Extra Features
The DVD comes with the optional intro/outro I mentioned before, plus a music video by Maria. Now, this was as offensive as I expected Maria to be and makes the outro look high class. The DVD also has trailers for Leo Fong's Kill Point and Low Blow, plus the presumably Leo Fongless The Hearse. Night of the Demon's cover is reversible, and I got all excited because the slick says "extreme reversible cover." I expected all kinds of carnage on the extreme side, but it's all the same pictures cropped a bit different and shuffled around, with the exception of the blurb about Maria which has been removed all together. I thought it was a bit dumb, especially since Bigfoot was no longer on the front, but it turns out this is some sort of "joke" on the people that didn't like the proposed cover with Maria on it. Wasted opportunity, I say.
The Verdict
Is it possible to dislike a movie that features a Bigfoot doing a slow motion evisceration dance? No, no it's not. While it would've been great to have the film in its original aspect ratio, it sounds like Code Red couldn't find the materials to make that happen, and honestly I'm just glad to finally own this previously obscure Bigfoot gem.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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