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Night of the Demon (1957) [DVD]
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American psychologist John Holden (Dana Andrews) arrives in England to discover that his colleague, Henry Harrington (Maurice Denham), has suddenly died following his efforts to discredit notorious occultist Julian Karswell (Niall MacGinnis). The cynical Holden dismisses Karswell's warnings as supernatural nonsense, even when he and Harrington's niece, Joanna (Peggy Cummins), are confronted by a series of bizarre and inexplicable events. Holden discovers that Karswell has slipped him a parchment featuring ancient runic symbols a sign that, like Harrington before him, he has been marked for imminent destruction by a fire-breathing demon. As the night of his threatened demise draws nearer, the fearful Holden begins to suspect that Karswell has been telling the truth all along... Contains special features including 'Curse of the Demon', the re-edited American version. DVD is included with a 24 page booklet of viewing notes.
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Top Customer Reviews
If you have never watched this film before, you are in for a wonderful atmospheric horror movie that oozes atmosphere. If you have seen it - you'll know just how brilliant it is!
Regarding the Demon debate, whether or not it should have been shown, Tony Earnshaw's book on the making of the film, Beating the Devil, covers the matter pretty well, including some quotes from Tourneur and other crew members that seem to be contradictory; that is, in most places he seems adamant that the demon did not appear by his design, but in one or two others it seems that he was not just aware, but also active in placing it within the film. Personally, I suspect that the truth can be found by watching the film itself. There are two elements to the Demon special effect: the long shot, which is absolutely stunning, particularly given the low budget on which it was achieved; the other is a rather pathetic man in a monster suit, which appears very briefly, and could be seen as justification of Tourneur's repugnance for the appearance of the Demon. I have no doubt it is only these few dozen frames featuring the rubber clad SFX man that could have caused the director's consternation. The shame of it is that they could easily have been left out without affecting the film in anything but a positive manner.
MAKE NO MISTAKE - The appearance of the Demon is incredible, adding to and complimenting the film, and ultimately being the thing that stamps the film in the mind. Without it, the film would have still been great, but I suspect it would not have fascinated so many minds for so many years. Any pseudo intellectual babble about it spoiling the film in any way is ill conceived. It is only a few frames that do the damage, not the presence of the demon itself, and they are not enough to take away from the over all effect.Read more ›
Karswell is played brilliantly by Niall MacGinnis and there are a number of marvellous scenes between Holden and Karswell. Perhaps the best being a scene in the London Library. Of the remaining cast Maurice Denham is deserving of mention for his small but crucial role as Professor Harrington.
Although it is often quoted that the director Jacques Tournier did not want the Demon shown in the film at all, but bowed to pressure from the producers, the Demon when it appears is a remarkable special effects creation for 1957. Tournier was probably right but it doesn't spoil the film that much.
Originally there were two versions of this film an American cut called 'Curse of the Demon' which ran to 82mins and the British cut 'Night of the Demon' which ran to 95mins. The version on this DVD seems to be closer to the British cut.
Im glad to say that the picture quality is fantastic and is much improved over the dvd I have.Really sharp and clear, with nice shades oc black, grey and white.The crispness is very clear.It is as easy as pie to select the english audio and bam there it is, the original soundtrack.So be assured if you want this all time genre classic in its best image to date then I can heartily recomend this release.No extras at all, but that is compensated for by this quality release.So no US release incl.I would even say the image is better than Dead Of Night, another classic.
I first saw this film on television in the 80's when BBC2 used to show a double bill of horror films on Saturday nights.
This dvd features both the U.K and the U.S versions of the film. The U.K version runs longer.
Highly recommended !!
It is a dark, brooding film, with much suspense throughout as an American psychologist (played by Dana Andrews who spent most nights in night clubs until the early hours whilst making this film)investigates the death of a colleague and friend who had died in mysterious circumstances.
Aided by his colleague's daughter played by the lovely Peggy Cummins they discover that Karswell, played by Niall McGuinness has the ability to remove his enemies by delivering a sacred parchment which can summon up a demon.
There is much drama and suspense in this film as the psychologist struggles to come to terms with the possibility that demonology is possible despite his deep sceptiscm. The final scenes are some of the highlights of the film, and worth the price alone.
Wonderfully directed by Jacques Tourneuer who was in dispute with the studio when they wanted to show the demon too early in the film. This, he felt robbed the film of some of its initial suspense. No matter though, it is still pretty good, and does work well despite the director's misgivings.
The DVD contains both versions, the American version Curse of The Demon is much shorter by about 11 minutes. Not actually having seen this version, I cannot comment. Still, I will imagine that it is worth seeing in order to compare the two versions.
I am pleased that this is finally being released in the UK. It has been a scandal that this has been held back for so long bearing in mind the classic it is. UK film fans will welcome this with open arms.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Terrified me when I was 12 or 13. Although, obviously, not quite the same in middle age (I only spent brief periods behind the settee) its still, for me, the most frightening of... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Robbo
Good old black and white - creepy all the way. Woods are not the same at night now.Published 1 month ago by Philip Seddon
this film gave me nightmares as a child, the demon I drempt
about for weeks. Having watched it recently and at night
still makes you think, and put your head under the... Read more
Bought this for a friend. Unfortunately, there was no 24 page booklet included.Published 3 months ago by stickman
50s horror with dated effects, but still good for the period.Published 4 months ago by Geordie Muffin