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Night Of The Demon (1957)

Rightly regarded as a genuine high point in both British horror and British cinema, Night (or Curse) Of The Demon is that rarest of rare things - an actually scary horror film.

Forget the monster (it's as crap as everyone says it is). It doesn't matter. From the opening scenes - where a man is chased by something through a spooky dark wood - to the shock ending on the railway station, this film is a classic in every sense of the word.

The makers of tripe like The Sixth Sense could do worse than looking at this for chills - there's not a drop of blood to be seen, there's few shock-horror sudden leapings at the camera, just a sense of unease that permeates through everything - and all caused by a little slip of paper. Brilliant.

Watch in terror as our hero is pursued through a house by an unseen person, then attacked by a ghostly cat. Cower in fear as Foggie from Last Of The Summer Wine jumps to his death through a window. Cheer in bewilderment as our hero refuses to believe that the baddy has any special powers - despite being treated to his own personal hurricane on an otherwise balmy summer's day.

Then go and make a cup of tea or something in a bid to miss the vaguely comical monster. Shooting was too good for the bloke who decided that was what this otherwise brillo film needed.

You have been warned - watched in the right mood, Night Of The Demon could be the scariest film you've ever seen. But whatever way you look at it, it's a fantastic vindication of your love of old Brit horror.

And remember, once you've seen it, you can regail bored friends with tales of exactly where Kate "Mad As A Box Of Frogs" Bush sampled "It's in the trees... it's coming!" from.

Director: Jacques Tourneur Writer(s): (in credits order) M.R. James (story Casting the Runes) (as Montague R. James), Charles Bennett and Hal E. Chester

Cast: Dana Andrews - Dr. John Holden, Peggy Cummins - Joanna Harrington, Niall MacGinnis - Dr. Julian Karswell, Maurice Denham - Professor Henry Harrington, Athene Seyler - Mrs. Karswell, Liam Redmond - Professor Mark O'Brien, Reginald Beckwith - Mr. Meek, Ewan Roberts - Lloyd Williamson, Peter Elliott - Professor K.T. Kumar, Rosamund Greenwood - Mrs. Meek, Brian Wilde - Rand Hobart, Richard Leech - Inspector Mottrarn, Lloyd Lamble - Detective Simmons, Peter Hobbes - Superintendent, Charles Lloyd Pack - Chemist, John Salew - Librarian, Janet Barrow - Mrs. Hobart (deleted from US print), Percy Herbert - Farmer (deleted from US print), Lynn Tracy - Air Hostess (deleted from US print), Ballard Berkeley - 1st Reporter, Shay Gorman - Narrator, Walter Horsbrugh - Bates, the Butler, Michael Peake - 2nd Reporter, Leonard Sharp - Ticket Collector

 

Last updated: February 25, 2010

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