31 Days Of Thrilling Horror: Night Of The Demon

“It’s in the trees! It’s coming!”

Night of the Demon is a 1957 British horror movie. It was directed by Jacques Tourneur (Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie) and it starred Dana Andrews as a occult skeptic who goes to England to denounce an evil cult.

Andrews’ colleague Professor Harrington was about to expose the cult but then died after he ran into a demon in the woods and drove his car into an electrical pole. Niall MacGinnis plays the evil leader of the cult. Andrews doesn’t believe in the supernatural and has spent his life debunking it. He starts to investigate Harrington’s death and soon becomes marked for death by the cult.

The American producers fought with Tourneur all through the production of the film. Tourneur has always preferred to suggest rather than show the monsters in his movies like in Cat People – you never really see Simone Simon transform into a cat or even a cat. In the end the studio won and the demon was shown in the film – I think it looks freaking awesome but it would have still have been cool if the movie left it a little more vague. The American version of the film was retitled The Curse of the Demon and was cut by thirteen minutes but the longer British cut has been available on DVD for some time now and under the American name.

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka spends most of his life watching movies and reading comic books, using his vast knowledge of genre culture for evil instead of good.

One thought on “31 Days Of Thrilling Horror: Night Of The Demon”

  1. Tourneur was right: suggestion and quick glimpses are far more effective for suspense. “Alien” is vastly preferable to its sequels because the audience only sees the predator in its entirety in the birth scene near the beginning and in the escape pod scene near the end; the rest is shed skin, drool, teeth, and that evilly curling tail. In a different genre, “Forbidden Planet” was frightening because the attacking entity was invisible: you saw its tracks appear in the planet’s surface; you saw trees smashed down as the thing marched on the spacemen (and the audience); and you saw the increasing glow as the thick metal door, the next-to-last defence, slowly melted. The final view of the thing, lit up by electricity, takes away from the terror built up through the movie, just as in “Curse of the Demon”.

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