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Curse of the Demon (1957)

Night of the Demon (original title)
Approved | | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery | July 1958 (USA)
American professor John Holden arrives in London for a parapsychology conference, only to find himself investigating the mysterious actions of Devil-worshiper Julian Karswell.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Joanna Harrington
...
Maurice Denham ...
Professor Harrington
Athene Seyler ...
Mrs. Karswell
Liam Redmond ...
Mark O'Brien
Reginald Beckwith ...
Mr. Meek
Ewan Roberts ...
Lloyd Williamson
Peter Elliott ...
Kumar
Rosamund Greenwood ...
Mrs. Meek
Brian Wilde ...
Rand Hobart
Richard Leech ...
Inspector Mottram
Lloyd Lamble ...
Detective Simmons
Peter Hobbes ...
Superintendent
Charles Lloyd Pack ...
Chemist (as Charles Lloyd-Pack)
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Storyline

Dr. John Holden ventures to London to attend a paranormal psychology symposium with the intention to expose devil cult leader Julian Karswell. Holden is a skeptic and does not believe in Karswell's power. Nonetheless, he accepts an invitation to stay at Karswell's estate, along with Joanna Harrington, niece of Holden's confidant who was electrocuted in a bizarre automobile accident. Karswell secretly slips a parchment into Holden's papers that might possibly be a death curse. Recurring strange events finally strike fear into Holden, who believes that his only hope is to pass the parchment back to Karswell to break the demonic curse. Written by Rick Gregory <rag.apa@email.apa.org>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Chosen... singled out to die... victim of his imagination or victim of a demon? See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

July 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Curse of the Demon  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (American Release is 13 mins shorter than original)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dana Andrews was so impressed with director Jacques Tourneur that when he returned to the United States he had Tourneur direct his next film, The Fearmakers (1958). See more »

Goofs

Joanna refers to herself as a 'Kindergarten teacher', though she is British and that term is not used in Britain. She would have referred to herself as a 'nursery school teacher' or 'primary school teacher'. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: It has been written since the beginning of time, even unto these ancient stones, that evil supernatural creatures exist in a world of darkness. And it is also said man using the magic power of the ancient runic symbols can call forth these powers of darkness, the demons of Hell.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Legends of Tomorrow: Night of the Hawk (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Plain Song
(uncredited)
Music by Fela Sowande
Chappell Recorded Music Library
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User Reviews

Ever wonder where the RHPS line "Dana Andrews said prunes, gave him the runes" came from? This is the movie!
30 November 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Curse of the Demon" (aka "Night of the Demon") is one of those weird little lost films that everyone agrees is wonderful and yet very few people seem to have actually seen. This is one of those rare British movies that is set, not in the city, but rather in the chilly, fog-choked countryside where little seems to have changed since Stonehenge was built. Niall McGinnis holds sway here as the impish leader of a Satanic cult, who swiftly dispatches of his critics by summoning a huge, horrific demon to rip them to shreds.

Into this isolated world walks psychologist John Holden, played by yet another seriously underrated actor, Dana Andrews. Andrews, who made a name for himself playing tough guys in films like "Laura" and "The Best Years of Our Lives" is wonderful here as the skeptical, even slightly smarmy, American who absolutely refuses to believe in demons, even when strange, unexplainable things begin to happen to him. Peggy Cummins is his love interest, the open minded schoolteacher whose uncle may have been a victim of the Demon. Niall McGinnis is disturbingly likable as the head of the Demon Cult, chucking aside a chance to play Aleister Crowley and opting for Benny Hill instead. He is very disarming as the films central villain, and Andrews confusion mirrors our own as the movie stalks relentlessly through a seance, a stormy Halloween party and a frightening hypnosis session to its surprisingly violent conclusion.

This movie is, by turns, sarcastically funny, suffocatingly tense and shockingly scary. The demon looks a little corny nowadays, and was revealed much too quickly with no suspenseful build-up, but the movie is so smart, so moody, so creepy and well done with an excellent cast to boot, that one can easily forgive the demon, which looks a lot like a slightly deformed bear with a pig nose and goat horns.

This is an excellent adaption of the short story "Casting the Runes" by M. R. James and still has the power to scare even 50 years later. Highly recommended!


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