Monday, May 27, 2013

Curse of the Demon (1957)

Original Title (UK): Night of the Demon 

("In the United States, the film was released as Curse of the Demon. According to Charles Bennett, the title was changed as the studio didn't want it confused with the similarly titled story of The Night of the Iguana" - Wiki)

Director:  Jacques Tourneur ("I Walked with a Zombie", "Cat People")

Starring:  Dana Andrews (Dr. John Holden), Peggy Cummins (Joanna Harrington), Niall MacGinnis (Julian Karswell)

Taglines: 

"Terrifying!! All the Dark Forces of Black Magic ... Hurled Against a Man And a Woman Who Dare To Scoff!"

"Who will be the next in line to defy the curse?"

Go to this link for the full movie:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9L4Mkbp58o


* * * * * * * 

What makes old movies a pleasure to watch in this modern age of CGI sfx and blood-pumping non-stop scares and action in movies? It's because old movies make up for their technical shortcomings with an engaging & intelligent plot, a good script, solid acting, and well-planned shots/photography. Add in a touch of vintage cinematography, physical effects, and musical score -- and we're in for a fun ride.


Curse of the Demon has all that.



The story itself is really simple. There's this murderous cult leader trying to save his ass... A skeptical psychologist, a man of science, trying to expose the cult leader as a fraud, and who refuses to believe in the paranormal despite of the curious events happening around him... the leading lady who's accused of being hysterical for trying to solve the mystery regarding her uncle's death and also to save Holden from being Karswell's next victim... There's also Mrs. Karswell, an adorable, motherly character who just wants to right her son's wrongdoings.... oh and yeah, there's a demon too. :)  Despite the simple plot, the script was well-written, and the story has this mysterious aura that keeps you focused all throughout your viewing experience. 

The cast played their characters really well, especially MacGinnis as Karswell. Dana Andrews as the skeptical "man of science" is also entertaining to watch, with every scoff and snide comments towards anything pointing to supernatural causes.

Photography and the camera shots are superb. The manipulation of dark and light was played very well, resulting to an eerie and tense setting and atmosphere. The use of long dark hallways and creepy musical score, Holden in a dark room using a match to look for a book, the hand on the staircase banister with that sound effects, the cat - no matter how cliched it is still scared the crap out of me, the smoke effects, the wind/storm... it just worked fabulously! 

The demon, while it may have been terrifying during that time, looks cheesy now... a mixed breed of a grotesque Statue of Liberty with a dog or goat genes and a bit of mold.... I've read that Tourneur and Andrews were against the idea of showing the demon, but Hal E. Chester (producer) insisted on including it. Those laughable close-up shots of the demon cheapened the movie a bit, but over all, it's easily forgivable because everything else was great. The demon shot at the film's conclusion was nice though :)


Honorable Mentions:


  • That scene with the hand on the banister, the cat, leopard, the woods....so chillingly creepy and edge-of-your-seat scary. CLASSIC!

  • The seance scene... hilarious and memorable! Mr. Meek and Mrs. Karswell! hahahahah. Adorable!
  • The confrontation scene at the train compartment where Holden tries to trick Karswell. Funny, engaging, suspenseful. 

Trivia:

Director Martin Scorsese placed Night of the Demon on his list of the 11 scariest horror films of all time.

Night of the Demon is one of the films cited in The Rocky Horror Show's opening song "Science Fiction/Double Feature".


The Verdict:

A true classic that deals with the subject of witchcraft and science that still stands the test of time. This movie is a great example why I love HORROR & OLD FILMS. This is a film with substance AND style. 


My Rating: 4.5/5 - a great watch for horror movie fans.



While Sam Raimi's Drag Me To Hell is more of a horror-comedy ala Evil Dead, it still has striking similarities with Curse of the Demon, which movie do you prefer?






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13 comments:

  1. I loved this movie, one of the best I have ever watched..... I tend to go with older classics as they are made with true acting, and not a lot of fabricated special effects taking away from the original charm of perfection, to keep one entertained..

    I think Dana Andrews is a talented actor regardless, especially the character he played in this film... Old Horror, " there is no comparison."

    This movie kept me on the edge of my own chair throughout, and the entire film was brilliantly managed to produce an outcome of sheer terror.....

    I would have to agree this film is one of the best horror movies of all times...

    Love your blog, enjoy reading you here and your opinions of movies....

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    1. That's easy ! The train scene, when Dana was trying to hand the evil one the goodies back to curse his evil ass, that entire scene was gripping and heart-racing, as time was growing nearer, and touche' " Dana wins hands down!!!" Also I must admit I loved the scene in the woods when Dana was leaving the house, and was told not to go into the eerie-evil dark woods,that was surely a " sit-on-the-edge-of the-chair moment . :)

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    2. me too i love that scene.. it's humorous but suspenseful! karswell was funny there, and i was at the edge of my seat trying to figure out how holden would outsmart him. =D

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    3. LOL And he certainly did .... :-) lol

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  2. And I loved the movie poster as well :) Nothing like good-ole classic horror :)

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    1. me too! old posters are more creative than most modern movies :)

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    2. Yes.... they certainly are !!! Are you sure we are not twins? In the horror-loving of movies in life ? lol

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    3. hahhahaha we probably are =P horror twins.. sounds monstrous. lol

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    4. wahahahahahahahahaha That was a gooood one :p You are soooo funny !!!!!

      For a Ghoul, I mean a Girl :) lol

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    5. ur the first one to call me a ghoul -_- most people are fond of calling me a witch. =P

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    6. Ghoul-Girl :p hahahahhhaa Are you flying around while saying this on your trusty broom ? hahahhhahah Witch in fact .. I Mean which in fact, ( lol) I am being a funny fan right now :p

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