Curse Of The Demon

Masterful director Jacques Tourneur made this outstanding supernatural horror film without the guidance of producer Val Lewton, with whom he had collaborated so successfully on I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE and CAT PEOPLE. Skeptical American psychologist John Holden (Dana Andrews) journeys to England to assist Professor Harrington (Maurice Denham) in his attempt...read more

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Masterful director Jacques Tourneur made this outstanding supernatural horror film without the guidance of producer Val Lewton, with whom he had collaborated so successfully on I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE and CAT PEOPLE. Skeptical American psychologist John Holden (Dana Andrews) journeys to

England to assist Professor Harrington (Maurice Denham) in his attempt to expose a satanic cult led by Dr. Julian Karswell (Niall MacGinnis). While Holden is in transit, Harrington confronts Karswell, but during his drive home, the professor is killed by a demon dispatched by Karswell. Holden is

shocked to learn of Harrington's death and, although he does not believe in witchcraft or the devil, decides to continue the investigation. Exceedingly eerie and suspenseful, CURSE OF THE DEMON succeeds brilliantly despite the ham-handed intervention of producer Hal E. Chester. Used to working

with Lewton, both screenwriter Charles Bennett and director Tourneur were shocked by Chester's insensitivity to the material. The producer brazenly rewrote much of Bennett's script and forced Tourneur to insert shots of a smoke-breathing demon who makes his first appearance only five minutes into

the movie! So much for Lewton's horror of suggestion. Luckily, Bennett's literate script and Tourneur's atmospheric visuals overpower Chester's tinkering. As in any Tourneur horror film there are some unforgettably nightmarish sequences, including a children's outdoor birthday party which is

interrupted by a terrific storm summoned by Karswell, who is dressed like a clown; Holden's solo walk through the woods at night just after confronting the satanist; and the climax, in which Karswell chases a sacred parchment as it is blown down some gloomy railroad tracks. Although CURSE OF THE

DEMON's original English release had a running time of 95 minutes, its American distributors removed 13 minutes from the film; however, the uncut version has been restored on videocassette.

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