Its Halloween where the promise of grue and jitters whispers in our ear like the fetid air of an opened crypt.
As its the annual night of the demon I thought I would look at a few creepy connections about the film of the same name, Night of the Demon, the diabolical masterpiece of director Jacques Tourneur from 1957. In the States it was called Curse of the Demon [what's it called where you are?]
The film, based on M.R James' short story Casting the Runes, is basically a battle between good and evil. It concerns the attempts of skeptic Professor Harrington to debunk the satanic claims of evil sorcerer Dr. Karswell and the dark consequences that follow.
It features runes, burning parchments and the most hideous monster in the history of film, the fire demon of the film's title.
With such an iconic movie there are of course many stories, samples and eerie coincidences. The most famous line of all in Demon is without doubt "Its in the trees, its coming" as heard at the end of the famous seance scene shown below - courtesy of You Tube.
The most well known re-usage of this line - a so-called sample - was at the beginning of Kate Bush's 1986 single The Hounds of Love, the official music video of which is shown below:
One of the most prominent locations in the film is the grand home of the mysterious Dr. Karswell, Lufford Hall in the flick, seen in the distance below. Dana Andrews and Peggy Cummins discuss its many dark secrets in her sports car on the palladian bridge leading to the Hall
In reality it is Brocket Hall in Hertforshire. It was used as a location in more recent times for the films Willow, Highlander and Omen; The Final Cionflict. It was also used for an episode of the Professionals called Mixed Doubles and an episode of TV's Morse called Who Killed Harry Enfield shown below.
Besides the big house Night of the Demon also went on location to London's British Museum, both inside and out.
Here the Professor walks with conviction across the courtyard.
and here modern fans are treated to the British Film Institute's recent digital remastering of the movie in the same spot! How's that for mirroring!
The movie's chilling music was composed by Clifton Parker, although I have also read that the 'plain song' was scored by an uncredited Nigerian composer called Felo Sowande MBE.
Whether the opening theme is this 'plain song' I don't know [do you?] but here's the unforgettable title theme music with the mesmerising voice of Dana Andrews.
Its even a SABRE film! Project SWORD gets everywhere!
Felo went on to score many Fifties films including four Swedish movies like Asa Nisa Ordnar Allt.
Night of the Demon has inspired many film-makers. Sam Raimi paid homage to it in his modern demonic remake Drag Me to Hell made in 2009.
In Night of the Demon the twisted Dr. Julian Karswell meets his untimely demise on a train track in the film's monstrous ending.
In the climax of Drag Me to Hell Raimi dispatches the film's protagonist in an similarly demonic fashion on a railway line.
Ken Adam, of later 007 production design fame, talks here about his involvement with the film too.
There are many more connections [excuse the rail pun] on IMDB. Better still watch the movie this Halloween, its monstrously good!
For a taster just watch this, the iconic night chase through the woods including the smoking cloven hoof prints. Its in the trees! It's coming! Enjoy!