Also known as: Night of the Demon (original title)
Release Date: November 9th, 1957 (Birmingham UK premiere)
Directed by: Jacques Tourneur
Written by: Charles Bennett, Hal E. Chester
Music by: Clifton Parker
Cast: Dana Andrews, Peggy Cummins, Niall MacGinnis
Sabre Film Production, Columbia Pictures, 95 Minutes
“All good scientists are from Missouri: in other words, they should continually be saying, ‘Show me’.” – Dr. John Holden
This is one of the first classic horror movies I saw that wasn’t either Universal Monsters related, made by Hammer or didn’t star Vincent Price. That being said, I remember seeing it for the first time because it left a hell of impression on me because of it’s incredible, terrifying monster.
Curse of the Demon, also originally called Night of the Demon, still has one of the greatest cinematic monsters of all-time. And while not much is known about the monster, other than it is an evil force of nature, it still looks so f’n cool and intimidating that it’s still an effective scare in spite of the technical limitations of this film’s era.
The monster is just a giant demon that appears from thick fog and chases its victims until it eventually grabs them and crushes them in its demonic grip.
This film might not have been anywhere near as good with a director other than Jacques Tourneur. He’s a director that I consider an underappreciated legend, who started out making great horror pictures, transitioned into film-noir, but then would go back to horror after noir started dying out. I’ve reviewed several of Tourneur’s movies and honestly, I’ve yet to find one that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy.
Curse of the Demon also benefits from the acting talents of Dana Andrews and Peggy Cummins. Andrews starred in some of the best film-noir pictures ever made and Peggy Cummins is actually on the banner to this website due to how great she was in one of my all-time favorite noir pictures, Gun Crazy.
All these years later, this movie still has one of the best openings and closings in horror film history. It actually kind of amazes me that no one has remade this yet. I’m not calling for that, at all, but Hollywood does nothing but remakes, reboots and reimaginings anymore and this movie’s monster is just too cool for someone not to steal and fuck up.