Movies that are slightly off.
Night of the Demon
Who will be the next in line to defy the curse?
American professor John Holden arrives in London for a conference on parapsychology only to discover that the colleague he was supposed to meet was killed in a freak accident the day before. It turns out that the deceased had been investigating a cult lead by Dr. Julian Karswell. Though a skeptic, Holden is suspicious of the devil-worshiping Karswell. Following a trail of mysterious manuscripts, Holden enters a world that makes him question his faith in science.
You could learn a lot from children. They believe in things in the dark, although we tell them it's not so. Maybe we've been fooling them.
- Joanna Harrington
Tourneur creates labyrinths out of a few corridors in his first 'horror' film in around about a decade. It's a nightmarish old tale of witchcraft and demons which is obsessed with the absence of facts or knowledge, and there's hardly any distinction between interiors and exteriors - they're both equally dark and hostile. I have a particular disliking for the 'obstinate professor' character type but Andrews is a more than compelling actor and MacGinnis' demonic cult leader acts as a great contrast too. The titular demon is an…
This is one of Danny Peary's 200 movies in his 3 Volume Book series....Cult Movies. Night of the Demon is the 98 minute version from England....Curse of the Demon is the title the movie got when it was released in North America...with about 15 minutes missing from the UK version.
I must have watched the North American version a few years ago, because I was not too impressed with the movie. This time around I thought the longer UK version is an excellent movie. In this one Dana Andrews travels to London to attend a paranormal psychology symposium with the intention to expose devil cult leader, Dr. Julian Karswell (played excellently by Niall MacGinnis). Andrews does not believe in the…
An American hypnotherapist travels to England to host a lecture on the myths of Witchcraft and Devil Worship and how they affect people on a deep psychological level. In order to achieve that, he and his colleagues are set to discredit a well known witch doctor/black magician, an idea that results in some of them hexed and doomed to be destroyed by a fire demon from hell.
Filled with references to black magic, demonology and the occult, 'Night of the Demon' is the kind of movie I would have expected to see in the late 60s or early 70s, but not in the fifties. The battle between belief and skepticism begins in an academic level and slowly turns in to…
I wonder if Chris Carter ever caught this film before he created The X Files?
The reason I ask is not because there are massive similarities between this and his landmark TV series. It's more to do with the way the two main characters are handled and how they differ not only in their beliefs but how they continue to staunchly retain those beliefs even in the face of sometimes overwhelming evidence.
So, for every peculiar event that Dana Andrews, an American psychologist who has travelled to the UK to expose a self-styled 'wizard' and possible Satan worshipper as a fraud, he never caves in to admitting to what might be going on.…
Essentially an expansion on the perennial theme of Tourneur's earlier horror movies with Val Lewton - the conflict and ambiguity between logic and the supernatural, but less elegant (and, with those genuinely scary shots of the actual demon, much less ambiguous!) than any of those. Still pleasantly relentless in its slow tightening of the noose around Dana Andrews' neck, almost like in a Cornell Woolrich story, and it's kind of funny how his stubbornness in the face of such blatant evidence that he's been hexed starts to seem like the exact opposite of the scientific empiricism he's going for.
Inspector: "Spare me a minute sir, there's a doctor John Holden outside sir."
Superintendent: "The psychology chap?"
Inspector: "That's it sir. It's, um, a bit awkward- he's uh… it seem's he's bewitched, you know, broomsticks and all that. Think's he's being followed by something. Apparently he's going to die tomorrow night."
Tourneur brings his trademark atmospheric touch to this British supernatural mystery thriller. Dana Andrews is the hard-headed American non-believer investigating a mysterious death linked to a wealthy practitioner of the dark arts. Aside from the rubber creature effects, it's very much a throwback to pulp 1930's-style haunted house investigation stories. Unlike the classic gothic mystery, the villain is not unmasked, Scooby-Doo-like, to reveal a mundane cause for the suspected…
Another gem from Tourneur. The British really know how to make horror films like this. This film's intelligent and witty examination of skepticism and the supernatural sits comfortably in the same company as "The Devil Rides Out", "The Wicker Man" and films of their ilk. Dana Andrews and Peggy Cummins ("Gun Crazy") are great, but the film really belongs to Niall MacGinnis and his urbane warlock. It's often noted that the two appearances of the actual demon were included against Tourneur's wishes, but I think they work. There's a eerie quality to them that does fit with the tone of the film.
When I saw this as a child it scared me out of my wits – and it wasn’t just the film itself, it was the idea behind it, that there were supernatural powers that could be called up against you and there was nothing you could do about it. As a down the line materialist I am ashamed to admit that a film with unseen satanic forces is more likely to spook me than a film with a bunch of zombies – but there is always the problem of how to show the unseen and the atmosphere of Night of the Demon falls apart when the demon (or the leopard) pops up: the problem is not just that the special…
Day 67: Night of the Demon - 1957
A scientist who travels to London with plans on debunking a satanic cult leader gets more than he bargained for.
This is a great classic horror movie. The acting is adequate, the sense of dread and suspense is palpable and the long-shot demon effects are actually quite creepy. Sadly though, the film is let down ever so slightly by terribly aged close up shots of the demon's face, and the fact that they show the demon far too early in the film.
O sarcasmo religioso imprimido em cada fotograma que mistura a morte no olhar dos personagens e a besteira que sai de suas bocas. Um ciclo vicioso afim de se exterminar.
Atmospheric and creepy,
But not too scary.
As an admirer of M.R. James's excellent stories I was pleased to finally get the chance to see this widely regarded, but rarely screened, adaptation of his great "Casting the Runes" on TV. There are liberties taken with the story, but the essence of the plot remains the same. A sceptical American psychologist Dr. Holden (Dana Andrews, solid but rather inexpressive) comes to Britain to investigate and debunk claims of paranormal activity by the leader of a Satanic cult called Dr. Karswell (Niall McGuinness, quite brilliant), but in the process of his investigations has a curse placed on him by Karswell that be must discover and then pass on before his time runs out.
In virtually all respects this is…
Maybe it's better not to know.
"And the Lord God said, 'The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.'" - Genesis 3:22
Dana Andrews psychologist spends 90 minutes talking about the need for evidence and the scientific method in the face of overwhelming evidence of black magic.
It doesn't really match the swimming pool in Cat People or blood by the door in The Leopard Man for set pieces or I walked with a Zombie for sustained creepiness (let alone The seventh victim, not Tourneur of course but a film with a similar set up and a whole other level of effectiveness) but it's still pretty creepy.
Dana Andrews performance and the writing that has him veer beyond hard headed scientist and into not believing what's in front of his eyes kind of knock it back a little and stop it being…
Beautifully shot and great creature/special effects!! Story good but nothing special, good example of practical effects for the time. Kate Bush was inspired By this film
The first 1012 films are from The 1,000 Greatest Films list, and maintain the original order. The films that follow…
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