Night of the Demon (1957)

night1First of all, an admission- this wasn’t the film I was expecting. I’d seen that Indicator was releasing a great old British horror film titled Night of the Demon, and somehow got my wires crossed with another film (it may have been The Devil Rides Out, but I was certain the film I was thinking of was in black and white, and I know that Devil Rides Out was in typically gaudy Hammer colour, so anyway, it remains a mystery- anybody have any suggestions?). Well, as it turned out, contrary to my expectations, I hadn’t seen Night of the Demon before.

Well, lucky me. This film was brilliant. A genuinely unnerving British horror film from 1957 that somehow passed me by in all these intervening decades until Indicator’s superlative Blu-ray dropped through my letterbox. I have to say, if I’d watched this thing as a kid, it would have scared me shitless and scarred me for life (then again, that lamentable 1941 Arthur Askey flick The Ghost Train scared the willies off me as a kid – but admittedly scares me for different reasons when forced to watch it these days: Night of the Demon seems to have aged better).

It should indicate the qualities of this film that it made me uneasy throughout, and actually made me jump a few times. Sure, some of the effects have dated and the titulat demon likely gets titters of laughter from foolish young ‘uns today more accustomed to CGI stuff, but that’s what suspension of disbelief is all about. You have to work with films of this vintage and make allowances, and in this case that effort gets richly rewarded. Like The Blood on Satan’s Claw, this is a really great British horror film, and I can’t wait to rewatch it- this one really is a classic.

Oh, and this edition has enough different cuts of the film to qualify it for some kind of Blade Runner award; bravo, Indicator, another excellent release.

4 thoughts on “Night of the Demon (1957)

  1. A superb film. Director Tourneur cut his teeth with Lewton at RKO and, this combined with his natural subtlety, led to the production of some great movies over a long and distinguished career.

    I wonder if the movie you confused this with might have been Night of the Eagle, directed by Sidney Hayers and starring Peter Wyngarde? It’s another very good picture.

    1. Its not Night of the Eagle, I just played the trailer for that and it’s not a film I’m familiar with (although it does look good, so its certainly on my watchlist now).

      I’m beginning to think I’m remembering The Devils Rides Out after all, but maybe from years ago when we had a b&w set. Not convinced though. I think this mystery is going to bug the hell out of me for some time yet!

      Anyway, back to Night of the Demon, yes a fantastic movie. Together with their Hammer sets, Indicator are really doing film fans a great service bringing some (possibly obscure) films to their attention. And in such fine quality too- tv network airings are never as good quality as these HD releases, as even now some really bad prints air on tv. I haven’t had chance to delve into the extras yet but am certainly looking forward to it.

      1. Indicator are doing superb work – the packages and presentations they are putting out are second to none right now.

        One more suggestion on your elusive film – maybe City of the Dead/Horror Hotel?

  2. Pingback: Gun Crazy (1949) – the ghost of 82

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