230 user 99 critic

Curse of the Demon (1957)

Night of the Demon (original title)
Not Rated | | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery | 30 March 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.


Jacques Tourneur


Charles Bennett (screenplay), Hal E. Chester (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »




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


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


Who will be the next in line to defy the curse? See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Listed by Martin Scorsese as one of his favorite horror movies. See more »


When Karswell is chasing after the parchment, passing through several train cars in the process, the sound suggests that the train is still moving and at high speed. In the next cut Karswell is jumping out of the train that has suddenly come to a full stop at the station. The transition between fast moving train and stopped train is too abrupt. See more »


[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 »

Alternate Versions

The original U.S. release version was edited down from the British version. Among the differences was a reduction in the opening airport scene (where Holden is asked questions by the reporters), the removal of Karswell telephoning Holden in his hotel room, a reduction in the scene at Lufford Hall (missing out completely the conversation between Karswell and his mother), and most significantly the entire removal of the scene where Holden visits the relations of Rand Hobart at their farm. See more »


Plain Song
Music by Fela Sowande
Chappell Recorded Music Library
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User Reviews

Crafty, stylish thriller with one hell of a demon...
7 July 2007 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

Dana Andrews as an American psychologist, newly-arrived in England to attend a convention, who ends up investigating the death of a colleague which may stem from witchcraft. Delectably sinister and crafty UK occult entry from director Jacques Tourneur, who creates a shimmering and eerie mood from Hal Chester and Charles Bennett's screenplay. The two writers, adapting Montague R. James' book "Casting the Runes", reportedly quarreled over the occult elements in the script--with Bennett's attempts at a more subtle approach going unrealized (arguably, we get too many close-ups of the titular demon, but he's a scene-stealer nevertheless!). Tourneur weaves this Hitchcockian tale with a great deal of hypnotic style, and gets fine performances from Peggy Cummins as the daughter of the deceased as well as the always-reliable Andrews (one might say the actor seems a bit stolid here but, since his character is a born skeptic, he should look tense and uncomfortable). Niall MacGinnis is nothing short of amazing as Dr. Julian Karswell, sort of a mama's boy/devil cult leader and one of the very best villains in 1950s cinema. Supporting performances are all first-rate, the picture looks fantastic in chilly black-and-white as photographed by Ted Scaife, and the satisfying finale leaves one both smiling and hungry for more. Initially released in the US as "Curse of the Demon", missing 15 minutes from its original running time of 95 minutes. ***1/2 from ****

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Release Date:

30 March 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Curse of the Demon See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Sabre Film Production See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (edited)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »

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