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

Cast overview, first billed only:
... John Holden
... Joanna Harrington
... Doctor Karswell
Maurice Denham ... Professor Harrington
... Mrs. Karswell
... Mark O'Brien
Reginald Beckwith ... Mr. Meek
... Lloyd Williamson
Peter Elliott ... Kumar
Rosamund Greenwood ... Mrs. Meek
... Rand Hobart
... Inspector Mottram
... 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:

Horror! Most terrifying story the screen has ever told! 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

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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

The source story for this film, "Casting of the Runes", was also adapted into a radio play of that name for the anthology radio programme "Escape". The story was also adapted twice for British television, first as an episode of the anthology series "Mystery and Imagination" in 1968, and again as an episode of "ITV Playhouse" in 1979. See more »

Goofs

On the railway car, Karswell has his arms crossed across his chest. On several shots he has his left hand tucked inside and a few shots of his left hand on his right elbow. This is quite noticeable in the shots when Holden is trying to hand Karswell a piece of paper just after Joanna comes out of her trance. 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 Shrieker (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
Tourneur strikes again
14 August 2001 | by See all my reviews

This film comes with two quality labels: it stars Peggy Cummins (best known for 'Deadly Is The Female' a.k.a. 'Gun Crazy') and is directed by Jacques Tourneur who had already shown his talent for suspenseful films with the RKO classics Cat People and I Walked With A Zombie. So you know what to expect: suspense and quality.

By now of course, technology changed a lot of how films look and it is the "show less - scare a lot" attitude of Cat People and I Walked With A Zombie that made them into the classics that they are. 'Night of the Demon' (a far better title than the American 'Curse of the Demon' - and if you see the film, you'll know why) has one nasty side effect: you see the demon and it's a film demon from the 50s. No matter how scary the film makes the demon, he looks like the thing you see on the cover of the movie box. It could be scarier. But now comes the best part... it doesn't matter! Because the suspense comes from something else in the movie and that is what makes this film so great. Dana Andrews is coming to England to prove that a so-called satanic cult is nothing more than a bunch of fakers and illusionists. The cult leader, however, puts a spell on him and warns Andrews that he will die in a few days. Other 50s film that depend more on the monsters and demons do have that problem: e.g. Roger Corman made some movies that could've been a lot better and scarier if the monster had either been more convincing or given less screen time.

Like in the other two films by Tourneur I mentioned, you always sense something scary could happen. That is what makes films work. In 'Night of the Demon Tourneur' succeeds in scarying you on some occasions when you least expect it. Combine that with cleverly built-up suspense and you know why you should watch this classic. Even if you don't like horror films in general.


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