Literary Horror discussion

Cinematic Horror > Curse of the Demon (1958)

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message 1: by Dan (last edited Aug 18, 2018 12:51PM) (new)

Dan | 355 comments Turner Classic Movies (TCM), a favorite cable channel for me because they select classic films to broadcast and don't interrupt them with commercials, has one worthwhile horror offering this week I thought I would alert everyone to. It's a black and white film titled Curse of the Demon (1958), airing Wednesday, August 22 at 3:15 pm EST. It was originally a longer British film titled Night of the Demon, released there in 1957. For its American release the slow parts were removed, trimming the film down to a more thrilling 83 minutes. This is the version TCM is showing.

I want to start mentioning great horror films more often in our group, not only because they're classic and thus of probable interest to many of us, but because so many are based on literary works. For example, Curse of the Demon is based on a short story by one of our favorite authors, M. R. James, titled "Casting the Runes" (1911). I found the story available for free on Gutenberg in this story collection: If you really want to make it easy on yourself, there's even an audio version (just under 54 minutes long) here:

Does anyone else care to read the story with me before seeing the film next Wednesday?

message 2: by Dan (last edited Sep 20, 2019 07:59AM) (new)

Dan | 355 comments The movie was really quite a pleasure to view. I like how it kept the character names and the basic plot intact, updating only the circumstances so they took place in the 1950s instead of fifty years earlier. I see why the director objected to actually showing the antagonist. It did make the visual side of the story seem cheesy. But I am not sure failing to show the demon could have worked.

This is one time it was better to see the movie before reading the short story. I did it the other way and somehow missed the importance of the key tactic Dunning used to save himself. The movie makes it obvious. So that upon rereading James's story, I saw and appreciated what I missed the first time.

message 3: by David (new)

David Brian (davidbrian) | 39 comments Dan wrote: "The movie was really quite a pleasure to view. I like how it kept the character names and the basic plot intact, updating only the circumstances so they took place in the 1950s instead of fifty yea..."

I remember (somehow) getting to watch this movie when I was ten. Scared the crap out of me! :)

message 4: by Tim (new)

Tim | 117 comments Randolph wrote: "I hate when they show the monster though."

This completely. I actually love the movie, but I think it would have worked much better had it not been shown. It would have added a bit more of a psychological feel to the film, while also keeping it more in line with the classic Val Lewton films from the same period.

message 5: by Tim (new)

Tim | 117 comments Seventh Victim is excellent, but my personal favorite Val Lawton is The Body Snatcher, which I think has one of Karloff’s best performances.

message 6: by Dan (last edited Apr 17, 2019 09:02PM) (new)

Dan | 355 comments The Leopard Man (1943) really looks interesting: "A seemingly tame leopard used for a publicity stunt escapes and kills a young girl, spreading panic throughout a sleepy New Mexico town."

Top-rated horror movies of the 1950s and 1960s according to IMDB:

Diabolique (1955)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Peeping Tom (1960)
Psycho (1960)
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
The Birds (1963)
The Haunting (1963)
Repulsion (1965)
The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967) Roman Polanski film
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Night of the Living Dead (1968)

They then go on to list 23 horror classics from the 1970s alone, although I have my doubts King Kong (1976) really qualifies. I wonder what The Hills Have Eyes (1977) was all about and why I never heard of it?

message 7: by Merl (new)

Merl Fluin | 92 comments Dan wrote: "I wonder what The Hills Have Eyes (1977) was all about and why I never heard of it?"
It's an early Wes Craven movie. Personally I don't think it lives up to it's beautiful title, although I seem to remember it scared the bejesus out of my mother when she went to see it at the cinema.

message 8: by Scott (new)

Scott Mimi wrote: "Have you seen any of Ti West's movies? 'The House of the Devil' is quite funny, and 'The Innkeepers' old-school homages."

Loved both of these! Wouldn't say The House of the Devil was funny though...

message 9: by Michele (new)

Michele Randolph wrote: "I think I remember that The Hills Have Eyes was one of those inbred mutant family thing that are harassing some innocent suckers that get stranded in the wilderness. Kind of iconic for this sub gen..."

It's social commentary on the "nuclear" (ha ha) family. Seriously, it really is.

message 10: by Tim (new)

Tim | 117 comments Randolph wrote: "I’m a big fan of the Stuart Gordon Lovecraft “adaptations” but you have to go in with a certain attitude because they are so over the top. However, they have their moments."

Re-Animator and From Beyond are both brilliant. While Re-Animator is probably the better of the two, I have a love of From Beyond and some of the bizarre choices they made throughout.

Mimi wrote: "Have you seen 'May' when you were discussing 'The Brains of Rats' made me think of it, it's directed by Lucky McKee; thought that was very memorable."

It's one of my favorite lesser known horror movies of the 2000s. Definitely worth a watch for those who have not seen it.

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