Architect Walter Craig (Mervyn Johns) senses impending doom as his half-remembered recurring dream turns into reality. The guests at the country house encourage him to stay as they take turns telling supernatural tales.
Dr. John Holden ventures to London to attend a paranormal psychology symposium with the intention to expose devil cult leader Julian Karswell. Holden is a skeptic and does not believe in Karswell's power. Nonetheless, he accepts an invitation to stay at Karswell's estate, along with Joanna Harrington, niece of Holden's confidant who was electrocuted in a bizarre automobile accident. Karswell secretly slips a parchment into Holden's papers that might possibly be a death curse. Recurring strange events finally strike fear into Holden, who believes that his only hope is to pass the parchment back to Karswell to break the demonic curse.Written by
Rick Gregory <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The scene where the little boy dressed as a skeleton spooks both Karswell and Dana Andrews, by appearing behind the tree and screaming, uses the kind of sudden jolting effect that director Jacques Tourneur did with the at first silent bus, followed by the sudden noise of the bus, in The Cat People. It's said that this process (also used in The Leopard Man) was inspired by Tourneur's game-changing employer, producer Val Lewton. See more »
At the end when Dr. John Holden passes the parchment to Dr. Julian Karswell and it flies away, a thin wire is visible that special effects used to guide the parchment along the tracks as Karswell chases it. See more »
It has been written since the beginning of time, even unto these ancient stones, that evil supernatural creatures exist in a world of darkness. And it is also said man using the magic power of the ancient runic symbols can call forth these powers of darkness, the demons of Hell.
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The original U.S. release version was edited down from the British version. Among the differences was a reduction in the opening airport scene (where Holden is asked questions by the reporters), the removal of Karswell telephoning Holden in his hotel room, a reduction in the scene at Lufford Hall (missing out completely the conversation between Karswell and his mother), and most significantly the entire removal of the scene where Holden visits the relations of Rand Hobart at their farm. See more »
This film comes with two quality labels: it stars Peggy Cummins (best known for 'Deadly Is The Female' a.k.a. 'Gun Crazy') and is directed by Jacques Tourneur who had already shown his talent for suspenseful films with the RKO classics Cat People and I Walked With A Zombie. So you know what to expect: suspense and quality.
By now of course, technology changed a lot of how films look and it is the "show less - scare a lot" attitude of Cat People and I Walked With A Zombie that made them into the classics that they are. 'Night of the Demon' (a far better title than the American 'Curse of the Demon' - and if you see the film, you'll know why) has one nasty side effect: you see the demon and it's a film demon from the 50s. No matter how scary the film makes the demon, he looks like the thing you see on the cover of the movie box. It could be scarier. But now comes the best part... it doesn't matter! Because the suspense comes from something else in the movie and that is what makes this film so great. Dana Andrews is coming to England to prove that a so-called satanic cult is nothing more than a bunch of fakers and illusionists. The cult leader, however, puts a spell on him and warns Andrews that he will die in a few days. Other 50s film that depend more on the monsters and demons do have that problem: e.g. Roger Corman made some movies that could've been a lot better and scarier if the monster had either been more convincing or given less screen time.
Like in the other two films by Tourneur I mentioned, you always sense something scary could happen. That is what makes films work. In 'Night of the Demon Tourneur' succeeds in scarying you on some occasions when you least expect it. Combine that with cleverly built-up suspense and you know why you should watch this classic. Even if you don't like horror films in general.
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