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

Hey Synchers,
20 days to go till the Bash! Will you be there?
I am thrilled to share together with you this super classic, probably my fifth lifetime viewing, and it has been a while. I think this is my favorite Supernatural Film (witchcraft, occult etc.). So lets get to NIGHT OF THE DEMON.
I am choosing Night of the Demon because it is longer. What is the difference, do you know?
Dana Andrews, great in many noir films and Best Years of Our Lives
Nial MacGinnis, Zeus in my favorite fantasy film Jason and the Argonauts
Ken Adam - Pre James Bond designer!
Great music by Muir Matheson.
Intelligent suspenseful set up, a classic idea, evil doings amongst the seemingly normal.
Here comes the Demon! Cool effects! one of my favorite monsters to grace the cover of Famous Monsters. As anyone made a model of it? I would love to see a CGI updating with the same figure.
Sleeping on a plane, Mr. Andrews captures it brilliantly.
A little slapstick to lighten the mood.
Has Dana been dubbed to sound less American? I´ll check the American version at the end.
The British Museum! I hope to go there in July!
Passing the parchment. I think he will be believing before the movie is over!
I don´t know what his racket is, but it pays very well.
The evil, mild mannered devil worshipper playing with kids...creepy!
Good little shock with the kids in masks!
¨It wouldn´t be too amusing for the children if I conjured a Demon from hell for them!¨
If they were monster kids, they would probably love it!
Effective storm.
In the halls, good use of sound and music to generate dread, fear and suspense.
That parchment! How a piece of paper can generate so much terror!
Lightening the mood again with the goofy seance!
It would be easier to stop a demon than a woman who has her mind made up.
Classic suspense as he searches the house, music and shocks, used often in these movies, but they work again here.
Oh just a minor demon to protect the room.
A walk through the woods, what awaits the doctor there?
Scary branch!
The demon! Cool foot print and smoke effects.
Does he believe now?
Nope, he has an explanation for everything. Just a bad halloween joke.
Frightening scene at the conference.
Classic ending! I am going to sit back and enjoy this.
Great suspense as he tries to pass that parchment!
Gotcha! Goodbye Dr. Dr. Karswell!
I love the way the demon rips up the doctor.
Maybe its better not to know...
Wow, I cannot hurl enough praise at this fantastic movie, it loses nothing with repeat viewings, one of the best. A perfect blend of suspense, terror, humor and even a little romance, great acting, intelligent script. I love this movie!
Next week, Corman Price and Poe, a fantastic combination - The Pit and the Pendulum! See you then...
Ken Blose
San Luis, Mexico

What a great film! I watched the British version "Night" instead of
"Curse" As far as I know the only difference is the British version is
longer by about 15 minutes. Dana Andrews is excellent as the know it all
psychologist who has his beliefs challenged. I like how downright nasty
he is to the guy conducting the seance, I think this makes his gradual
acceptance that something strange might indeed be going on seem all the
more realistic. Love the lighting in the scene when he's broken into
Karswell's house at night. Speaking of lighting and just the general look
of the film, I have a fond spot for this era of film shot on location, no
stagey sets, I think it keeps your focus on the characters and what's
going on in the plot.

Niall McGinnis is wonderful as the villain
Karswell. I especially like the way he plays the growing fear at the end
of the film and how careful he is not to accept anything from Dr. Holden.
The monster itself looks great at a distance. When it's first coming
through the trees it's a pretty cool sight. The close ups work too I
think because they don't linger too long. It's almost too outrageous a
creation but it works.

I first saw this film a few years back and had never realized that one of
my all time favorite albums uses a line from the film. Fans of Kate Bush
and her "Hounds of Love" album will know what I'm talking about.
Okay, one question to see if anyone else noticed this - didn't they say
that Karswell was on the 8:45 train? when it pulled out of the station the
clock said 9:45 and that was an essential element since 10 o'clock was the
magical hour. I might have misheard the time, but I think it might have
been a slip.

All in all, though it's always a great film to watch with no wasted moments.
"It's in the trees! It's coming!!"
-Kevin Slick, Colorado

Hey everybody,

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.
Its amazing that after all these years and numerous viewings this movie still scares the you know what out of me.

The following scenes always sends chills down my spine:

1. Prof Harrington first glimpse of the fire demon coming down the road after him.
2. O'Brien finding that the pages after the 28 th in Prof. Holden's day planner had been ripped out.
3. Holden at Stonehenge and discovering the runes on the parchment are the same on the stone.
4. Hobart throwing himself out the window after Holden shows him the parchment.
5. And the final scene of Dr. Karswell running down the train tracks chasing the parchment and then in turn being chase by the fire demon.

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.
Bob Swaney
Manalapan, NJ

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.
The sexy Peggy Cummins is his love interest and does her part well. There isn't a bad part in the film, and the monster is very scary indeed. Some argue it wasn't needed in the movie, but I disagree, it helps the tone even more.
-Kevin Coon TWIN FALLS, ID

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, 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., 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.

Hi Ron,
Here are my thoughts on CURSE OF THE DEMON.
I love the menacing music played over the intro as the Columbia lady holds her torch aloft.
Gee, and I always thought that Stonehenge was a harmless tourist destination!
A devil worshiper with a friendly mom – now that’s a quaint touch.
Prof. Holden is just a bit on the smug side. I suppose he has to be to make the script work but he seems so sure of himself that he is just begging to be taken down a notch.
Great cat and mouse game between Karswell and Holden. Karswell always seems to be hinting at things that are left unspoken.
If they gave Oscars for horror films, I’d award one to Niall McGinnis. His performance as Karswell is fantastic.
Karswell as a clown – evil with a smiling face. He sure owns some great digs too.
The parchment trying to fly into the fireplace, as though it had a mind of its own = a great little scene.
Visiting the Hobarts is like stepping into the 16th century.
The seance almost plays like comic relief (“Cherry ripe, cherry ripe”).
The black and white look adds a dream quality to the film. I don’t think it would be as effective if it had been filmed in color.
The hypnosis scene is another great moment. Dead quiet followed by a sudden scream. Hobart confirms everything that Holden has been denying then breaks away and leaps to his death. Wow!
Great finale – the confrontation on the train, the passing of the parchment, the desperate race to retrieve it and the demon’s final attack. Four stars.
The age old debate - to show or not show the demon? In my opinion, the sight of the old fire breather adds a nice punch to the climax. The long shots of the demon look a bit too much like a puppet. But, boy oh boy, that face is a keeper! And I love the sound that the demon makes, like satanic castanets.
CURSE OF THE DEMON rates very high in my book. The script is chock full of great dialog and it doesn’t treat the subject matter in a condescending way. Lots of subtle but effective touches – sudden sounds, unexpected close-ups, hallways that look like something out of Caligari, that wonderful use of light and shadow. It all adds up to a horror package that really delivers.
“Sometimes it’s better not to know.”
Steven Thornton
LaSalle, MI

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.

Favorite scenes:
· How disconcerting to see a demonologist entertaining children with magic tricks. Or making small talk with the innocent niece of his victim.
· I love séance scenes. This one is pretty good … not “The Changeling” good, but very good.
· The hypnotism scene near the end is effective. It leads nicely to the climax of the film.
· And what a climax in the train car! I’ll admit that the scene of the demon’s pursuit isn’t bad… but the attack itself is a little silly.
To conclude … wonderful. I wish the producer hadn’t insisted on getting the demon on film. I believe it detracts from what could’ve been a masterpiece of mystery and slowly-building horror. Let our imaginations conjure up the actual demon … let us decide if the demon is real at all.

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).
Neil Kerr

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.


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