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Night Creature (1978)

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A big-game hunter brings a killer leopard to his private island and turns it loose so he can hunt it down. However, unexpected visitors arrive at the island and interrupt his hunt. ... See full summary »

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Title: Night Creature (1978)

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Cast

Cast overview:
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Axel MacGregor
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Leslie
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Ross
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Georgia
Lesly Fine ...
Peggy
Prakit Yaungsri ...
Tom
Rachan Kanghanamat ...
Nippon
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Storyline

A big-game hunter brings a killer leopard to his private island and turns it loose so he can hunt it down. However, unexpected visitors arrive at the island and interrupt his hunt. Meanwhile, the leopard begins to hunt the inhabitants of the island. Written by Anonymous

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Black with blood, the candles burn. Terror strikes! There's no return ... See more »


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PG | See all certifications »
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June 1978 (USA)  »

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Kitty Kitty
6 January 2007 | by (New York, USA) – See all my reviews

Like many I was suckered into watching this film thinking it was a horror opus with some sort of demonic black panther (leopard?) stalking scantily clad buxom B movie bombshells through the jungles near strategically photographed Angkor-esquire ruins of Thailand. It is but it isn't, and while NIGHT CREATURE isn't a "bad" movie -- there is some camp value to be had here amongst all of the conversations, and one really good extended cat attack scene -- it doesn't have much to recommend it, aside from Donald Pleasence. Like Peter Cushing or Basil Rathbone he elevates the film beyond the dreck level just by appearing in it.

Dr. Loomis plays a novelist and great white hunter drawn to equatorial Southeast Asia who takes up the challenge to track down a rogue panther that is mauling local villagers on some sort of island/peninsula/water bound isolated location. Predictably, he freezes up at the last moment of truth when confronting the beast and is maimed for life. "Crippled" is the non-politically correct expression. Other round-eyed Caucasian relatives drop by to visit, there is intrigue and romance under the jungle canopy and next to the photogenic ruins, and at some point the panther emerges from the teeming forests to claim the only white woman in the cast. The creature must be stopped lest it ruin the local tourism business, and Dr. Loomis gets really intense, sits around glowering like a madman while knocking back the native booze & gabbering about the past, and finally lures the panther to go mano-a-mano with his wits, slamming the doors at the last second ... and then skarkers. The film concludes with the surviving Americans getting onto a boat and leaving the natives to their doom, which would have been my suggestion from day one.

Filmed in 1978, this is actually one of the "When Animals Attack" vein of thrillers made after the success of crowd-pleasers like JAWS, FOOD OF THE GODS and GRIZZLY. Here the menace is in the form of a sexy trained panther, which means only one thing: Animal rights activists will be offended by how the animal was coerced into performing for the camera. If the movie had been made today the cat would be a computer animation and Ralph Feinnes would have played the Donald Pleasence role, so we can be thankful that the movie was made when it was & by who bothered to show up: It is a forgettable little bit of 70s Saturday afternoon idiocy. It's also funny how the pivotal scenes in the film all seem to involve action being staged with the Angkor-esquire ruins looming in the background. They serve only as a set decoration, whatever relationship the panther has with the ancient traditions that erected the monuments is never delved into, and essentially this is a PG rated (made for cable?) Jungal Trash exploitation film about white people going to the jungles and having all sorts of fascinating adventures while the natives carry the luggage.

What the film needed was some sort of lurid angle that would have produced bared breasts or better yet a blasphemous native sexual rite combined with a supernatural kicker. As mentioned above there's one great scene where the cat stalks a woman amidst the ruins, the final images of Dr. Loomis sitting in the boat with the face of the panther superimposed on him were perhaps the most evocative moments in the production ... aside from an excellent monsoon sequence filmed during an actual monsoon. If it sounds like I am just not getting into the spirit of things here you are correct, the film is plodding, unimaginatively staged, derivative, cheap, and has little to recommend it aside from another unhinged Donald Pleasence performance. Perhaps the most compelling reason to acquire a copy and subject yourself to watching it is that it's completely obscure, out of print, and with no anti-animal exploitation disclaimer at the end, likely to stay that way.

4/10; Worth a look for Animal Attack fans, otherwise you might want to try NIGHT OF THE SORCERERS, at least that one has some breasts.


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