Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Overlooked Movies: Curse of the Demon

Time to face the facts: Not all the horror movies of the '50s were as bad as The Killer Shrews.  A few of them were surprisingly good, and one of the good ones was Curse of the Demon (aka Night of the Demon).  Maybe it's good because it was directed by Jaques Tourneur, or maybe because it was adapted from a story by M. R. James.  Or both.  Oh, and Peggy Cummins is in it.  The movie's faithful to the spirit of James's story in that it doesn't go for cheap scares and relies more on suggestion and atmosphere.  Well, mostly.  The story is that the part that doesn't was added to the movie over the objections of the star, the screenwriter, and the director.

Dana Andrews is an American in England, looking into a satanic cult led by a man named Karswell, played by Nial MacGinnis in a nice performance.  Andrews is skeptical of Karswell's powers, but as things begin to happen, he starts to become less so.  Karswell says that Andrews will die in three days, and it seems as if his curse might very well come true.  There are some nice, eerie scenes, including a visit to Stonehenge and a seance that leads to a chase through a forest.  

This played as just another low-budget horror film and was advertised as such, but it was way better than most.  Check it out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I was very pleasantly surprised when I saw this one (in the 80s).

I'm sure you've noticed how most of these British-made horror movies seemed to spring for one familiar American "star" like Dana Andrews (who unlike most of them really was a star).