This review is part of Forgotten Classics of Yesteryear's 50s Monster Mash Blogathon. I'm getting mine in a little late, as you can see that it officially ended yesterday.
Curse of the Demon was directed by the same guy who directed the old, less erotic version of The Cat People. I chose this one because it was on Fangoria Issue 300's list of the greatest horror films. This movie begins with an investigator being killed by a goofy demon, while he's investigating a Satanic cult. Dr. John Holden is sent in to replace the dead guy as lead investigator into a cult lead by Dr. Karswell. Of course an attractive female (Peggy Cummins) comes into the mix as Holden's companion.
The stakes become higher when Holden is warned by the evil guy that he'll die in three days because of a hex he puts on him. Several cliched moments were obviously scarier in their time, such as a seance, creeping around an old castle, dramatic weather changes, cats coming out of nowhere and people disappearing into the night. The scares and revelations also come with too much emphasis on sharp rises in musical score. It reminded me of Pee Wee's Big Adventure. "Then the Large Marge I was riding with must have been.... HER GHOST!" Although that scene was significantly scarier. And that was a COMEDY! There's a scene where Holden is stalked by a growing puff of smoke too. Now I know where that idiotic show Lost stole its smoke monster from.
Note to filmmakers: 15 twigs do not a forest make. On the up side, the acting is pretty good as is the case with most older movies. Anyway, the intensity rises as the curse is passed back to the evil Karswell and we are minutes away from the demon reappearing to inflict the curse. When it finally does, I have to admit that it worked for me. The demon chases him in the air, sweeps him up in his palm and kills him. The demon turns out to be much bigger than it seemed at first which actually makes it scary, with help from wonderfully subjective camera angles. All in all I give it a 3 out of 5.