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DontEatRawHagis

[Film] Night of the Demon/Curse of the Demon

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DontEatRawHagis

Any of you ever seen this old movie? I got the DVD a while ago and thought that it was a bit like a Call of Cthulhu game. A professor dies under mysterious circumstances while investigating a cult. In response a collegue of his takes up the investigation along with a couple of other doctors and the dead man's daughter.

Pay no mind to the crappy look of the monster. Originally the monster was never going to be shown and would be left to the imagination whether it was really there. Then someone in production thought hey lets add a monster to try and get it as big as King Kong or Frankenstein.

Originally based of the short story "Casting of Runes" by M.R. James.

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yronimoswhateley

Love the movie, I see it once every couple Halloweens when TCM shows horror film "marathons".

 

I'm even fond of the dopey-looking puppet monster - I think it still holds its own admirably against your average modern low-budget CGI SyFy Channel specials :mrgreen:

 

And I agree - as something based on a story that pre-dates Lovecraft, it is one of the better "Lovecraftian" horror films out there, and one that feels like the plot of a good CoC investigation.

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Tony Williams

And, of course, you can link it to Kate Bush, so mega thumbs-up.

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PoC

Of course!

 

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eternalchampion

A very nice film indeed! It plays between paranormal phenomena and doctor's agnosticism. I had actually made a character out of the doctor in the movie.

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GBSteve

And not to forget Robert Lloyd Parry who is touring Casting the Runes at the moment, and a Podcast to the Curious who do a two parter on this story (a and b).

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PoC

Robert Lloyd Parry is excellent. We had the good fortune to seem him perform some of his M.R. James material at the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton a few years ago.

 

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Travern

One of the all-time greats. I even tried, in my cack-handed way, to edit out the rubber-suit version of the demon from a Youtube video I downloaded. I came away a confirmed member of the don't-show camp, although one cut of the looming demon's head isn't so bad - maybe it could have run after the closing credits as a final jump-scare.

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PoC

Something we may talk about on the next CBC...

 

monsters-miscreants-top-trumps-mr-james.jpg

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DontEatRawHagis

Something we may talk about on the next CBC...

 

Can't wait to hear. :D

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yockenthwaite

Just watched this. I've had it recorded in the Sky+ box to watch for quite a lot of months, and have been looking forward to it. And it did not disappoint.

 

The demon monster is a bit too cute for my liking. But even though you see it right at the start it doesn't detract from the film, which seems more about esoteric knowledge, old books, and dangerous magic. I particularly liked the way the "curse" was literally passed on throughout the film. And the actor playing Karswell was superb. Irish I see - a very large proportion of the cast (playing English sounding characters) were Irish, including the lead actress.

 

We went "Oooooh!" on seeing the old British Museum Reading Room. Trust us ;)

 

And it was also nice because it had a relatively small cast. It was very much focused around four characters, including Karswell's mother in there. It would be easy to visualise it as a theatre play, with a small core cast.

 

Of course now I want to read the original M.R. James short story the film is based on. I don't remember reading it before, so will remedy that shortly. Will be interesting to see how it compares with the film, and how much was changed for the movie version.

 

Anyway top film. Thoroughly recommend.

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prof_abercrombie

Just watched this. I've had it recorded in the Sky+ box to watch for quite a lot of months, and have been looking forward to it. And it did not disappoint.

 

The demon monster is a bit too cute for my liking. But even though you see it right at the start it doesn't detract from the film,

The monster was not in the original cut of the film. It was added by the studio because they wanted the audience to KNOW they were watching a horror picture.

 

What we would have seen,without their involvement, would have been the smoking heavy elephantine demon hoof-prints and the roiling cloud (without demon) at the very end. That was all Jacques Tourneur WANTED you to see.

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yockenthwaite

The monster was not in the original cut of the film. It was added by the studio because they wanted the audience to KNOW they were watching a horror picture.

 

What we would have seen,without their involvement, would have been the smoking heavy elephantine demon hoof-prints and the roiling cloud (without demon) at the very end. That was all Jacques Tourneur WANTED you to see.

Ah yes, that would have been good. Though part of me would still like to see a monster, this alternative would have been scary and atmospheric enough. And it would have left the possible ambiguity re psychological aspects still open.

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prof_abercrombie

Tourneur's approach to all of this was usually very much one of making it a "was it or wasn't it?" sort of thing.  That is also how he handled both his original Cat People film and it's sequel. The heroine and her brother changing lycanthropically in the 1980s remake was very much a concession to THAT audience.

The mood and atmosphere in Tourneur's films are always wonderfully spooky. Particularly if you chance to see them in a proper movie theatre with a like-minded audience.

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DontEatRawHagis

"Was it or Wasn't it" doesn't happen a lot any more. Too much do movies fall back in to CGI and high budgets to ruin the mystery.

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yronimoswhateley

That device seems to come in and out of fashion from time to time.  We have seen the "maybe magic, maybe mundane" thing on television at least as recently as "Houdini & Doyle", which seems to have been canceled, "True Detective", which seems to have veered back to safer police procedural territory and might have been canceled, and "The Leftovers", which struggled in ratings and is facing its last year before being canceled.

 

I, for one, enjoy it, but I suspect audiences have never really handled that sort of ambiguity in their entertainment very well.

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ReydeAmarillo

This excellent film and "The Devil rides out" are two of the main influences that got me into COC and continue to inspire much of my Campaign writing today.

 

Evil sorcerer, weird farmhands cult in a musty old farmhouse, and atmospheric UK settings.

 

Fantastic!

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Mrattnight

I really like this movie... Both versions. The monster doesn't even look half bad.A true gem.  I know what you mean prof_abercrombie, Val Lewton is a huge figure from my point of view. I'm in the don't-show camp... My brain can scare me way more than any CGI bologna you can cook up. 

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PoC

Still one of my favourite films (along with The Haunting). Here's Peggy Cummins introducing Night of the Demon at the BFI Monster Weekend event held at the British Museum (which I sadly missed).

 

 

Night of the Demon is now also available on Region-Free Blu-Ray [w/French booklet]. On a somewhat-related note, there's a reading of Casting the Runes by David "Poirot" Suchet on audible.

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Travern

Night of the Demon is now also available on Region-Free Blu-Ray [w/French booklet].

Crucially, they advertise, "This set contains both the American and UK release prints both lovingly restored."

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PoC

There's rumour of a UK-specific release but so far it's always been of the "jam tomorrow" variety...

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willmize

All this discussion and no mention of the lyrics referencing the movie in the main theme ("Science Fiction Double Feature") of the Rocky Horror Picture Show?  C'mon MAN!

 

"Dana Andrews said prunes gave him the runes, but passing them took lots of skills.."

 

- Bill

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Shrike

On a somewhat-related note, there's a reading of Casting the Runes by David "Poirot" Suchet on audible.

 

I always cringe when I see Suchet's long and varied career boiled down to one, albeit well-known, role.

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