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Night Of The Demon - Night Of The Demon( Blu Ray) [Severin - 2022]

More often than not entries in the bigfoot genre are moody, creepy and brooding affairs- with only fleeting glances of the lumbering hairy beasts and really little gore. Night Of The Demon stands as one of the more brutal and intense examples of the genre- we have limb ‘n’ cock ripping’s, brutal back crawling’s ‘n’ intestines pulling, and all manner of animalistic brutality. Here from the folks at Severin is a double Blu-Ray release of this early 80’s film- which landed up being banned in the UK, Norway, and Germany back in the day. The release features a punchy and bloody red 2k scan of the film, as well as over five and half hours’ worth of extras.

Night Of The Demon appeared in the year 1980- it was American production directed by James C. Wasson. In total he had nine feature-length credits to his name- these went from arty all-male flesh flick The Dreamer (1975), What Big Boys Eat (1985) which sounds like another male-focused porn flick, and Island Heat (1989) which sounds like another skin flick, all male I’m presuming. 

Night Of The Demon really runs like a slasher in its presentation of kills, set-up and characterization- and connecting into the director's porn release, the acting is largely more wooden & flatter than a showroom full of tables. We start off in fine form with a pre-credits sequence where a camper's arm is ripped off, with him collapsing to the forest floor- the stump spurting into a bigfoot footprint- as the titles roll. As we get into the film, we meet the thinly moustached Prof. Nugent (Michael Cutt) who is planning a trip into wilds, after a series of people have been brutally killed/ disappeared, and it’s thought a bigfoot could be the culprit. So, the prof, a few of his students, and Carla Thomas (Shannon Cooper) the daughter of one of those killed make it off out into the woods. They first track down a hunter who made the early reports about the kills, before going deeper into the woods to meet the wild-eyed & won’t talk Wanda (Melaine Graham)- who seemingly gave birth to some half-human/ beast spawn. Along the way, they meet locals ready to sacrifice a virgin to an effigy of the big-footed one, and a bunch of flashback kills- taking in the body in rucksack-span- round-the head before been impaled on a branch death, a truly brutal penis ripping,  a brutal girl scout malling, deep in the back clawing, stomach ripped open & intestines pulled out. With the film marching towards a halled-up in a shack showdown, as the bigfoot goes on a blood-crazed rampage.

As already mentioned, the acting here is really bad, and no one goes above being pretty awful and flat. Soundtrack wise we get a good blend of woozy and sinister electro scaping, and mellow flute-edged instrumental folk rock. The film runs at just over the hour and a half mark, and it’s fair to say some of the pacing/ flow is rather off, and this of course isn’t helped by the acting. Really you have to go into Night Of The Demon expecting first and foremost a brutal and gory bigfoot picture, with some effective enough moments of eerier beast stalking.

 

Moving to this two blu ray set, and on the first disc, we find the film, along with three on-camera interviews, and a just over hour-long film by the film's producer. So, we have Just A Little Green Kid Outta Waco, Texas (22.12) this is with the film's producer Jim L Ball. He talks about how his career started recording gospel choirs which led him on to form Ball Records. He talks about his sound work for American International, going on to the first film he produced Fraternity Of Horror( which is featured here). He moves on to discuss the film at hand, and how he added the gore elements after the film didn't go down at the first screening. Next, we have The Demon Made Me Do It (26.26) this is with director Director James C. Wasson. He starts off talking about how his career started in 1959, when he worked as a backing singer for the likes of Liza Kirk. He went on to work with Glen Campell, and Bobbie Gentry- who he managed for a year. He looks a little shocked when he’s questioned about his first official credit The Dreamer, which was a homosexual skin flick. Then we get on to talk about the film to hand- and how he got the director's seat- with a big foot connection been he produced a song for the guy who filmed the infamous Patterson–Gimlin Bigfoot clip. Apparently, when he signed up to do Night of the Demon, producer Ball said he could only ever do one shot of each scene. He goes onto talk about the cast & crew, and apparently, six different people wore the bigfoot suit. He discusses one of the first showings of the film, where the audience just rolled around with laughter, and he didn't know why. He talks about the footage Ball added in, and never seeing the new cut of the film, and being surprised when he heard it was so gory. Lastly of the interviews on this disc we have Eye Of The Demon(20.59)- which is with cinematographer John Quick.
The big extra on this disc is Fraternity of Horror- this is a 1964 feature, produced By Jim L. Ball and shot by John Quick. This runs at one hour and seven minutes mark and is basically teens stuck in a creepy camper with later sinister Sci-fi undertones. The decidedly murky monochrome film follows three couples who are sent into an abandoned house- which has been set up with false scares by one of the Fraternity's bros, things start off fairly innocent and jokey screaming fed, then a dead body turns up, and things turn serious. The film is fairly low-grade teen horror fare, which mostly feels like it’s from the ’50s and not the 60’s. When what’s behind it all appears, we get a few neat moments of low-key unsettlement. But the whole thing is very murky, with the largely nighttime shots being difficult to discern, and it’s clear little or nothing has been done with the film's print. I guess Fraternity of Horror is a curio if you are interested in where Ball & Quick started off, but I can’t ever see myself watching it again, as to be honest it was rather a drag to get through, with its runtime feeling a lot longer than it was.

Moving onto the second disc, and new extras on here we have the following Cryptid Currency: Transgression Aggression In Bigfoot Cinema(18.26)-this finds David Coleman, Author Of The Bigfoot Filmography offering up a Video Essay about how transgressive Night Of The Demon is, how it landed on the video nasty list in the UK & the impact this had, and the films influences. Tales From The Cryptid (37.11) which is an in-depth interview with Stephen R. Bissette, Co-Author Of Cryptid Cinema. He starts off talking about the origin of cryptid fiction, how Patterson–Gimlin film was the ground Zero of the horror found footage genre, how the bigfoot film genre developed/ changed, and more. Deconstructing Patty (23.13) which finds William Munns, Author Of When Roger Met Patty- talking about the Patterson–Gimlin footage, and the bigfoot( Patty) is what it seems and not a fake. Mondo Bigfoot (26.53) which sees Lyle Blackburn, Author of Boggy Creek Casebook discussing key 70’s films in the bigfoot film cycle. My Nasty Memories (27.55) which finds Severin’s David Gregory discussing his memories of the video nasty period in the UK, as well as showing us original VHS copies of key nasties. Otherwise, on this second disc, we have two classic video nasty docs by Mr Gregory- there’s Ban The Sadist Videos! from 2005, this runs fifty-two minutes. And Ban The Sadist Videos! 2 from 2006, this runs forty-six minutes.


With this release, Severin once again gives us the definitive edition of this video nasty- with a wonderful crisp and splashing red print, and a great/ bulging selection of extras. If you are either a bloody 80’s horror fan, or interested in Cyprids/ when they get brutal- then this two-disc set is for you!.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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