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Night of the Demon - Limited Edition Blu Ray [Blu-ray]
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Based on M R James' classic tale of terror, 'Casting the Runes', and adapted for the screen by regular Hitchcock collaborator Charles Bennett, Jacques Tourneur's (Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie, Out of the Past) Night of the Demon is considered to be one of the seminal horror films of Twentieth-Century cinema. Released on Blu-ray for the very first time in the UK, the film is presented here in four different versions, and is accompanied by an incredible array of new and archival special features. Also includes a Limited Edition exclusive double-sided poster and 80-page book.
INDICATOR LIMITED 2-DISC BLU-RAY EDITION SPECIAL FEATURES:
- Night of the Demon the original full-length pre-release version (96 mins)
- Curse of the Demon the US reissue version (96 mins)
- 2K BFI restoration presentations at 1.75:1
- High Definition remaster presentations at 1.66:1
- Original mono audio
- Audio commentary with film historian Tony Earnshaw, author of Beating the Devil: The Making of 'Night of the Demon'
- Night of the Demon the original UK theatrical cut (82 mins)
- Curse of the Demon the original US theatrical cut (82 mins)
- High Definition remasters at 1.66:1
- Original mono audio
- Speak of the Devil: The Making of 'Night of the Demon' (2007, 20 mins): a documentary featuring actor Peggy Cummins and production designer Ken Adam
- Cloven in Two (2018, 23 mins): a video essay exploring the different versions
- Hal E Chester at the Manchester Festival of Fantastic Films (1996, 51 mins): a rare archival video interview with the producer
- Dana Andrews on 'Night of the Demon' (1972, 10 mins): a rare audio interview with the actor conducted by film historian and preservationist Scott MacQueen
- The Devil s in the Detail (2018, 36 mins): Christopher Frayling discusses the film and Ken Adam
- Horrors Unseen (2018, 27 mins): an interview with Chris Fujiwara, author of Jacques Tourneur: The Cinema of Nightfall
- Sinister Signs (2018, 21 mins): an analysis by Kim Newman, author of Nightmare Movies
- Under the Spell (2018, 19 mins): a personal appreciation by horror writer Ramsey Campbell
- The Devil Gets His Due (2018, 23 mins): Scott MacQueen details the film s release history
- The Truth of Alchemy (2018, 22 mins): a discussion of M R James by author Roger Clarke
- The Devil in Music (2018, 11 mins): David Huckvale on composer Clifton Parker
- A Note of Fear (2018, 10 mins): Scott MacQueen discusses aspects of the film s score
- Casting the Runes (1984, 53 mins): an audio recording of Michael Hordern reading M R James original story
- Escape: 'Casting the Runes' (1947, 30 mins): a radio adaptation of the story
- Super 8 version (7 mins): original cut-down home cinema presentation
- Isolated music & effects track
- Original theatrical trailer
- Image gallery: promotional and production material
- New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
- UK premiere on Blu-ray
- Limited Edition exclusive 80-page book containing a new essay by Kat Ellinger, M R James on ghost stories, extensive writing on the film and its history, archival materials, and film credits
- Limited Edition double-sided poster
- Limited Edition box set of 10,000 numbered copies
THE STANDARD BLU-RAY IS AVAILABLE - ASIN: B07JVF7L8G
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The film is well described elsewhere so I won't venture any spoilers. The release is beautifully packaged, as described on the Amazon website. I haven't worked my way through the materials yet, but have watched the BFI restored 2K Night Of The Demon. I think that's about the best that I've seen the 1957 film look, which was clearly made on a budget. Audio is mono, and although I don't think that it's received much, if any attention, it sounds OK.
Having watched the film umpteen times now I still find the plot inconsistencies irritating, but they're easily forgiven. It strikes me, and I've yet to confirm this, that the film was actually made in the UK for the American market -- the lead actor is American, a some of the language used by the characters is clearly American English, and so forth.
The film works both as entertainment and as a social commentary about 1957 in the UK (well England), the year that I was born as it happens.
If you're a fan of the film or this type of film in general, grab a copy as soon as you can. The set is being limited to only 10000 copies, and mine was numbered well into the 5000s. This release will clearly become a collector's item.
Charles Bennett was a former associate of Alfred Hitchcock and wrote most of his early classic screenplays including 'The 39 Steps'. He owned the rights to M R James's classic ghost story, 'Casting the Runes'. Producing a screenplay, it was picked up by Chester who eventually offered the directing gig to Tourneur. Tourneur turned to his friend Dana Andrews to star as Dr Holden in the film. The role of the villain Karswell would go to Irishman Niall MacGinnis while other British character actors [Seyler, Denham, Redmond] would fill out the cast. Changing a male character in the short story for a female in the screenplay provides a heroine and gives an opportunity for good bi-play between Andrews and Peggy Cummins. Karswell is the leader of devil worshippers who can summon up the winds and demons to do his bidding whether to terrify or to, murder. There follows a battle of wits between Holden and Karswell. It's claimed that the villain is based on Alistair Crowley, the self styled 'wickedest man in the world' but this is unlikely to be the case given he was unknown to M R James when the story was written. Much more likely is the academic, Oscar Browning, according to one of the many excellent documentaries on this special edition.
Night of the Demon is a difficult film to describe, other than to say, an avowed sceptic [Dana Andrews] enters the world of magic and curses and comes to believe in it. The rational against the irrational. Science verses mythology. Reason versus the devil. It's likely that Tourneur intended to use the 'suggestion' of the demon, in the same way he had done with 'Cat People'. There would probably have been a 'demon' at some point but Chester began interfering annoying both director and star. Supposedly, against the director's wishes, Chester included the demon at the beginning which missed the whole point of the picture. Personally, I like it, with its odd expression, probing tongue and boss eyes. It's not scary unless you're under ten but the weird swirling clouds that accompany it are creepy and disconcerting. Harryhausen could have used his stop-motion effects for the monster [which wouldn't really have worked] but he was diplomatically working elsewhere rather than having to put up with Chester again whom he disliked. Despite Chester's meddling, it nevertheless, remains a minor masterpiece and is justly regarded as one of Britain's finest b-horror movies.
I wanted to write a review of the superb Blu-ray Italian release [La Notte Del Demonio] with 2 cuts of the movie but I never got around to it. This Indicator release shares that wonderful image with its pleasant film grain and its solid audio. You can see with the product spec that the Indicator Blu-ray is loaded with extras. There are both cuts [the UK/US and the European], a 'making of' featuring Cummins, contributions from Christopher Frayling [swapping his poncho for a mac], the affable Kim Newman, an anaylsis of the Clifton Parker score, superfan Scott MacQueen, a commentary by Tony Earnshaw [who pointed out things I've never noticed before], a booklet and a poster, all housed in hard cardboard case. Watch it for Halloween, you know you want to.
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