It’s in the trees! It’s coming! The demon, it’s coming!
As a prelude to Halloween I thought I’d watch my favourite old horror flick, ‘Night Of The Demon’.
Made at A.B. P. C. Studios at Elstee, England in 1957, the film was directed by Jacques Tourneur, who had earlier directed Cat People, an erotic horror about a young woman who believes herself to be a descendent of a race of people who at certain times have the power to turn into ferocious cats.
The film was produced by New Yorker Hal E. Chester, a child actor appearing in films in the 30’s and 40’s. He was also the co-producer of another classic B movie, The Beast from 20,000 fathoms
It was at his insistence that the Demon appeared in the film much against the wishes of the director, Tourneur who wanted a more subtle and unnerving approach to the horror in the film.
American, Dana Andrews was the star, sceptic John Holden. A popular actor in the forties and fifties and brother of Steve Forrest, star of The Baron. He was the driven scientist in the film Crack in the World, and a mad scientist keeping a disembodied head alive in The Frozen Dead, a film which really scared me at the time.
Softly spoken, Naill MacGinnis was perfect as the charming but deadly. Dr Julian Karswell, MacGinnus had few leading parts but was more a mainstay of British cinema. He appeared in the classic B movies, Island of Terror and Torture Garden.
Peggy Cummings was the female lead determined to find out the truth about her uncle’s death. She appeared in many films during the forties and fifties including another favourite of mine, Hell Drivers, starring Patrick MacGoohan
Based on a short story called 'Casting The Runes' by horror writer, Montague Rhodes James , Night of the Demon is a dark tale examining the power and fear that is generated by Black Magic.
John Holden, played by Dana Andrews is the scientist out to disprove the existence of the paranormal, and discredit the followers of black magic.
Peggy Cummins is Joanna Harrington, who believes her uncle has been killed by a curse placed on him by Karswell, the villain of the piece who has the power to conjure up demons from hell!
It has been written,, since the dawn 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….
Through the ages men have feared and worshipped these creatures…
The practice of witchcraft, the cults of evil, have endured and exist to this day.
The grim opening narration spoken by Shay Gorman, set against the backdrop of a bleak and windswept Stonehenge.
The title was changed for the American release to Curse of the Demon, and ommitted the last two lines of the narration.
The film got front page billing in 1980 when the BBC showed a season of classic horror films. The picture was specially drawn by Mark Thomas to look like a double bill movie poster.
Maybe it's better not to know!