Curse You, Demon of the Night!

Curse You, Demon of the Night!

According to film lore, director Jacques Tourneur didn’t want the actual demon in “Night of the Demon” (or “Curse of the Demon” in the U.S.) because he thought it was too obvious. What’s obvious is the man, who admittedly had a way with the spooky, clearly didn’t realize the importance of a giant fanged monster with great big claws to the audience.

Especially the audience at the drive-in. These people were easily distracted — by the speaker falling off the car door, by the soda spilling on the front seat, and by the young woman’s breasts in the tight sweater.

Dana Andrews is Dr. Holden, a no-nonsense psychologist who goes over to England to help sort out some bushwa about a devil cult. Unfortunately, the evil Dr. Karswell (Niall MacGinnis) is no phony, and soon Dr. Holden gets the parchment and has only a couple days to live, which he spends getting blown around Karswell’s house and gazing at Peggy Cummins and her sweater.

The “Curse” version is the U.S. release and is about 10 minutes shorter, from what I can gather. I watched “Curse” but not the slightly longer “Night” because what got cut was plot that could only have gotten in the way of the story. Some excellent creepiness. Take the cheesy demon out and this is straight film noir. Dana Andrews looks like my friend and fellow CACA member Thos. Good stuff. Three honest coils.

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