Night of the Demon (1957)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Supernatural Horror, Gothic Film  |   Release Date - Dec 17, 1957 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 95 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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One of the finest horror films ever made, Curse of the Demon is a frightening, fast-paced, and unrelenting chiller that only gets better with passing years and repeated viewings. Directed by Jacques Tourneur from the M.R. James story Casting the Runes, Curse stars Dana Andrews as a psychologist out to disprove the black magic of co-star Niall MacGinnis. Peggy Cummings also stars as the daughter of a scientist killed by the title creature during the shocking opening. Tourneur was a master at scaring an audience by the power of suggestion, and Curse accomplished this with one exception: the director didn't care for the studio's decision to show the demon in the beginning. That aside, the film is a masterful collage of fine filmmaking from its sharply written story, characters, and dialogue to Clifton Parker's spine-tingling score and the spectacular special effects, highlighted by production designer Ken Adams' terrifying demon. The performances are excellent across the board, with Andrews solid as the boorish non-believer who refuses to become convinced of the curse placed on him. MacGinnis' character is the real gem, a devilish trickster whose devious delight in the black arts hides a surprisingly bratty and less-than-sinister bad guy. This character was loosely based on the famed occultist, Aleister Crowley.