CREEPY CLASSICS presents...
Every weekend we're watching movies together...whether you're in Pennsylvania USA, or Sydney Australia. It's a throwback! Back to the days when you had the anticipation for waiting till the weekend to see the classic horror or science fiction film that was listed in the TV Guide. The plan is to watch a movie at 7:30PM on Saturday night in your own time zone. Or, if you can't Saturday night...anytime during the weekend. Then, we'll all get together and e-mail our thoughts on the film...a few paragraphs...or simply a sentence if you'd like. They after-viewing reviews appear on our Creepy Classics/Monster Bash News Page. See the latest thoughts posted by viewers ther now.
Concept submitted by Mike Adams of Carteret, New Jersey.
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Creepy Classics Spotlight Movie Last Weekend - CURSE OF THE DEMON (1957)
Every week, readers here are selecting a movie to view...then we all try to watch it together utilizing our DVD/video library. This past Saturday night, many of us watched CURSE OF THE DEMON (1957). This was suggested by by Bob Swaney, Manalapan, NJ. Details about movie nights to come are HERE. Please include your name and location after your comments, so we can see how we're all joining together from diffeent locals around the globe! Let's all Synch-Up Saturday nights at 7:30PM, or catch it sometime over the weekend!
I can remember seeing this for the first time on New York City's "Chiller Theatre" on Channel 11 back in hte early 70s. I'm thinking about 1970 or 71. As soon as I saw that smokey fireball chasing Dana Andrews, I knew I was in for a ride. That dog-faced giant demon was enough to make me keep looking over my shoulder whenever I walked in the woods for years. The whole passing of the rune thing was truly frightening. Lines like "your time allowed" and "some things are easier started than stopped" really put this high on my personal chill-meter! As an adult I see the photography and overall scripting as nothing short of a masterpiece. My wife even has an interest in the film because of the line "In the trees! It's coming!" which one of her favorite singers, Kate Bush, used from the film in her song Hounds of Love. What a great movie. -Ron Adams, Ligonier, PA
What a great film! I watched the British version "Night" instead of
Niall McGinnis is wonderful as the villain
I first saw this film a few years back and had never realized that one of
All in all, though it's always a great film to watch with no wasted moments.
This past Saturday night I came home from work in anticipation of watching Curse of the Demon (my movie suggestion) when to my surprise I find that my wife had invited friends over. I made my greetings and then went to my son's room to watch the movie on his DVD and nineteen inch TV. Reminded me back when I was a kid and me and my sister along with our friends had to watch Chiller Theater WPIX-NY in the spare bedroom on a small fuzzy thirteen inch black and white TV. Anyway on to the movie.
The following scenes always sends chills down my spine:
1. Prof Harrington first glimpse of the fire demon coming down the road after him.
The cast is first rate Dana Andrews as Prof. Holden looks like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders, Peggy Cummins as Joan Harrington is concern for Holden's safety but blows off his advances which I thought was great. And Niall MacGinnis as Dr. Karswell playing the perfect villain right down to his devil beard. Then there is Jacques Tourneur direction, showing what he had learn while working with Val Lewton. Last but not least is the fire demon itself. Its amazing that I remember reading in Famous Monsters that there were some critics out who felt that the demon should not be shown. I think you would of had a completely different film instead of one of the greatest horror movies of all time. Sorry if this went on a little too long but when my kids asked me what is my favorite horror movie I always respond Curse of the Demon.
One last thing, one night when I was on my honeymoon in Maui me and my wife had just come back to our room from dinner. While she was in the bedroom changing (why I was not in there with her I don't know) I was flicking around the channels on the TV when I came across the movie in progress. When she came out I made her sit down with me and watch the rest of the movie. When it was over she look at me with a concern look on her face and asked "is there anything else you haven't told me about." After eighteen years we're still together.
Talk to you guys later.
Easily one of the 10 best horror films of the 1950's, this Jacques Tourneur classic stars Dana Andrews as a man who attempts to expose a devil worshipper as a phoney, but ends up in a fight for his life against supernatural forces he doesn't understand.
A great suggestion for spooky viewing - thanks & cheers to Mr. Swaney & Mr. Adams of New Jersey for making this possible! I'll share a few of my thoughts on this movie that come to mind about this classic. The first obvious question would be 'to show or not to show' the demon itself. I've read that Tourneur did not wish for the demon to be shown at all; I've also read that a) these opinions were not voiced by Tourneur until well after the movie was released, and b) the visible demon was in the script all along. IMHO,it's a toss-up: the story would play out wonderfully without showing him, letting each viewer decide for themself whether it existed or not. On the other hand, the visual representation of the demon could be seen as what the victims are seeing in their hysteria-influenced final moments. And of course, the demon itself is one of the greatest looking Famous Monsters to hit the shiver...er, silver screen!
Watching this film brought a couple of others to mind. First were the scenes of "occult" practices taking place as common occurrences. The seance scene and especially the Halloween carnival scene reminded me of The Wicker Man, showing people accepting Pagan or occult practices as normal and everyday, as opposed to somber acts that must be performed while wearing black robes. Also, the (seemingly) pleasantness of Mr. Crowley...er, Karswell, reminded me of Lord Summerisle. Dr. Holden's attempt to pass the accursed item back to the one that gave it to him made me recall Sam Raimi's recent film Drag Me To Hell . But besides the aforementioned cool demon, the thing that will stick with me from this film is Snakes and Ladders. I was curious about the explanation of the game given by Dr. Karswell, as well as the similarity to the game Chutes and Ladders. Looking it up (thanks Wikipedia!), proved very interesting and informative. Therefore, as all of us already know, Monsters are good for you, and can teach you something unexpectedly as well!
Sincerely, David Dodd in Exeter, CA.
This is only my second viewing of this movie. The film succeeds best when it is subtly mysterious. I love the references to the occult, the woodcuts of the demons, the discussions of hypnotism and witchcraft ... great stuff. It succeeds far less when it sticks a giant demon in your face and with the sometimes overbearing monster-movie score.
Karswell is played beautifully by Niall MacGinnis. Peggy Cummins is a strong leading lady. She, too, does a superb job. Our protagonist seems like a run-of-the-mill stubborn hero. Dana Andrews does alright ... as the film goes on, his character starts coming unhinged, and the actor shines a bit more.
Special effects are not bad. The cat-wrestling scene was dreadful, but the smoking footprints make up for it. And as much as I hate seeing the demon itself, the smoke that precedes its appearance is nicely done. But the subtle scares are better … the pages torn out of his planner, the discovery of the runes.
I also read the short story "Casting the Runes", on which this is based. The movie adapts many details from the story, including the “escaping” paper, the reference to the Ancient Mariner, the climax on the train (sans giant demon).
Hey Ron and all fellow Creepy Classics Synchmates out there in horror movie heaven.....I just watched the British cut of "Curse Of The Demon" titled "Night Of The Demon" this past Sunday not once but TWICE and her are my astute observations on this British horror film classic: 1) Great Kudos must go to director Jaques Tourneur, who through his expert use of light and shadows, is able to instill an aura of not only intense suspense throughout this film, but of brooding, foreboding and inescapable evil as well. Diehard, knowledgeable horror fans should recognize him from the films he directed for the great producer Val Lewton which include "Cat People" (1942) "The Leopard Man" (1943) and "I Walked With A Zombie" (1944) as well as the classic Twilight Zone eposide "Night Call" (1964) starring Gladys Cooper. He also directed the classic laugh fright-fest "The Comedy Of Terrors" (1963) starring Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre and Basil Rathbone. 2) The music score by Clifton Parker in this supernatural thriller is one of the BEST ever done in the history of horror films in MY opinion! It really elevates the amount of tension between the characters in this film when necessary (between Dr. John Holden and Julian Karswell in the library scene and at the Halloween party with the children outside- when Karswell summons up a brutal windstorm to prove his point to the skeptical and unbelieving John Holden.....) Other cues throughout the film are also used with great effect too!.... (when Holden is chased through the forest by the cloud from hell) and at the terrific climax (when Karswell gets his just desserts and "reaps what he sews" so to speak!!) 3) Although many people, including the director himself, felt/feel that the demon would have been better left unseen in this film, IN MY OPINION, the fact that it is shown adds something to the "demonic" and supernatural element to the story- and makes you realize the terrible price that devil worship (the black arts) has on a human being. When Karswell gets torn apart by the beastly apparation from hell at the conclusion of the movie and Holden says to Joanna Harrington (who`s uncle was killed by the same monstrosity)-"Maybe It`s Better Not To Know" (That Classic Closing Line!)- YOU REALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT HE`S TALKING ABOUT!!!! (especially considering that it comes from the once smug, self-assuring, confident and "sane" John Holden himself!!!) The look of the demon itself, in my opinion, stands up very well through time (and is much creepier than some monsters done for films today) 4) The production designer on this film was none other than Ken Adam, who would later become famous for creating many of the gigantic sets on the various "James Bond" series of films! 5) I LOVE the cast in this film!- I have always been a BIG Dana Andrews fan- and I really feel he does a NICE job potraying a self-assured, over-confident and naive individual (he plays a prominant psychologist) who through time, circumstance and fate eventually gets "HIS BUBBLE BURST" so to speak, and discovers to his own horror, that he is about to meet an untimely and gruesome fate (his price for continuing the investigation into Karswell`s cult) unless he can pass the runic symbols back to Karswell before the stroke of 10:00!! Dana Andrews is nicely supported by the VERY STRONG actress Peggy Cummins, who is simply wonderful in her role as Joanna Harrington- the late Henry Harrington`s neice who is trying to investigate her uncle`s untimely, mysterious and grisly death. She also shines in a fewer quiet moments when she is alone with Andrews and they are not being menaced by the forces of darkness. But the TRUE power of this film, from an acting standpoint, in my opinion, comes from the FANTASTIC performance of Niall MacGinnis as Julian Karswell. Case in point, the aftermentioned children`s Halloween party. In one moment, he is potraying a welcoming, playful and quite receptive guest who offers ice cream and a brief chat to his guests AND THEN a few moments later, plays the willful, obstinate, angry and quite dangerous magician who conjures up a gale just to prove his evil mettle to Holden`s character (and frightens the children and ends the party in the process) Nail McGinnis, in my opinion, was never better in a film! (although I have not seen his entire body of work) Lovers of horror/sci-fi/fantasy films should recognize him in these movies as well: "Never Take Sweets From A Stranger" (1960) "Jason And The Argonauts" (1963) -where he played a great "Zeus"! "Island Of Terror" (1966) "Torture Garden" (1967) and "The Viking Queen" (1967) 6) Lastly, when considering the story, script, music, special effects, acting, cinematography, direction and editing on this picture, there is NO QUESTION in my mind that this film is one of the greatest British horror films ever made (TOP 10) It belongs right up there with "The Horror Of Dracula" (1958) "The Curse Of Frankenstein" (1956) "The Quatermass Experiment" (1954) "The Brides Of Dracula" (1960) "The Devil Rides Out" (1967) "The Nanny" (1965) "Dr. Terror`s House Of Horrors" (1964) AND "City Of The Dead" a.k.a. "Horror Hotel" (1960) My rating for this classic folks: 4.75/5 stars!! A TRUE CLASSIC!!!! ----Dan Brenneis- Strongsville, Ohio- Monster Bash Staff Member and LifeTime FilmFan Extroadinairre.
You can get the Columbia DVD of CURSE OF THE DEMON (1957) in the Complete DVD Catalog in-line at Creepy Classics.