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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.
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…
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…
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.
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.…
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…
"Maybe it's better not to know..."
Reason descends into an abyss; Tourneur ably mitigates the FX/monster movie elements with a tract on horrific noumena. The audience is never given room to doubt that which is unknown to the protagonist; the creepy truth surfaces often in minute onscreen reveals (a hand on a banister, smoke among treetops, paper fluttering against the wind). Eventually skepticism falters, and the film nullifies all attempts at rational control through knowledge. At least as good as Cat People, and definitely scarier (to me, anyways).
Jacques Tourneur rules, man, it's just a fact
And on the one hand, I sympathize with the fact that Tourneur plus the screenwriter plus the lead actor all fought with the producer to try to keep a literal demon out of the movie and lost
But on the other hand, that demon is rad af
Hoop-tober 3.0 - #7 of 33 - Pre-1970 + Decade (1950)
Now I know why this film is on so many "greatest of all time" lists. A well crafted story that had me on the fence through most of it as to whether or not the witchcraft and demon were real or if Dana Andrew's skeptical psychiatrist was right. The lighting effects as well as the "demon" were brilliantly done and never came off as cheesy to me. The only thing that kept me from giving this a full 5-stars was the silliness during the seance scene. It was an abrupt tonal shift that jarred me a bit. Highly recommend this one to any who haven't seen it. Stands up quite well for being nearly 60 years old now.
Intermittently entertaining hokum with some creepy shots and decent trick photography, but its effective moments are spaced very far apart between long passages of tedium and silliness.
(While I watched the edited down US version, I find it hard to imagine a longer cut would have improved matters much.)
Philosophical, spooky and deeply atmospheric, Night of the Demon is a continuation of film noir setups met with Lewtonian preoccupations. A psychologist discovers that his dogmatic skepticism against the supernatural can barely be maintained as he tries to unravel the cultish activities at a local manor and the mysterious death of a colleague. Even when living proofs, experiences and prophecies unfold right before his eyes, he refuses to cave to the quaintness of imagination.
Because of the philosophical tone, the film nearly loses itself by playing against our fear by giving us a non-plussed protagonist. Thankfully, Tourneur is able to (mostly) counter that by giving us a richly textured atmosphere and some incredible images.…
Part of Hoop-tober 2016
I've been curious about Night of the Demon since I was a child. I saw a picture of that amazing demon creature in one of those big old musty horror film books they have at every public library, then saw footage of it on the same PBS special that gave me my first glimpse of Black Sunday. It's precisely what I needed to kick off a Brit-classic-heavy Hoop-tober, as I couldn't justify never having watched something with such an awesome monster and such a sterling reputation.
American scientist Dana Andrews goes to England and gets the runes (but not from prunes). He's traveled there to deflate the supernatural reputation of supposed black magick man Karswell (Niall…
Full disclosure: I was unfairly tired when watching this film and even got up multiple times to splash cold water on my face just to get to the end (I hate having to finish a film the next day...girlfriend thinks it's weird :-)).
I could easily put myself in the role of the lead character - a skeptic who believes in nothing supernatural so I was hoping for a clever ending where he exposes that whole thing as an elaborate hoax. Wasn't to be; that demon from the poster is real and pretty funny to watch...possibly terrifying at the time it came out but looks like a cute toy now.
I've been working my way through the first series of the Twilight Zone this year and this felt like an extended episode from that which isn't a bad thing...just didn't feel overly unique.
Night of the Demon is a beguiling and wonderfully atmospheric film noir that treads the deep dark waters of skepticism in the face of superstition and the supernatural.
It's coolly understated, both in its scary scenes and its character interactions. "Where does imagination end and reality begin?" one character asks and that question hangs over the rest of the film, or at least it should, since the shots of the monster do indeed destroy the film's ambiguity. I watched it this time under less than ideal viewing circumstances, which surely hurt my ability to enjoy the atmosphere the movie obviously spends a lot of energy setting up. Next time, I will watch the US version (which reportedly doesn't include any shots of the titular demon), and hopefully it will be a less affirmative experience. As is, it ends with the superstitious lead saying, "It's better not to know" because he's afraid he's already found out the truth. I can't imagine that line wouldn't play better in a movie that's not so concrete.
Ένας σκεπτικιστής και ένας "πιστός" προσπαθούν να εξιχνιάσουν ένα φόνο. Εξαιρετικό βρετανικό ψυχολογικό θρίλερ από ένα master του είδους.
Movies that are slightly off.