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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Curse of the Demon (1957) Review


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.

7 comments:

  1. Great review! Where can I find this list of Fangoria Issue 300's list of the greatest horror films? Anyhow...don't worry about it being late. Technically you got it in on time! ;)

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  2. Okay cool! The list of Fango best horror movies is only in issue #300 as far as I know. Maybe I should post it here on my blog for those who missed it! It was a damn long list too.

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  3. It's cool to read someone else's thoughts on this movie. You have a point about the musical score--I didn't even think about that part much. And the smoke monster.

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  4. Mr. Exploit, now that I've read two very different reviews of CURSE OF THE DEMON (a.k.a. NIGHT OF THE DEMON), it's interesting to compare and contrast them. They both make for enjoyable reading in their very different ways. I liked your blog post for its breezy, playful writing style, while I liked Rachel's review from her blog THE GIRL WITH THE WHITE PARASOL for its rich details about the plot, acting, photos of crucial scenes, and the making of the film itself. Great job, both of you!

    Mr. Xploit, if you're a completist like me and therefore interested in reading Rachel's review out of curiosity, here's the link:

    http://thegirlwiththewhiteparasol.blogspot.com/2011/07/movie-review-night-of-demoncurse-of.html

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  5. Large Marge was scary in any decade! I like your take on this movie (I'm doubly sure I want to review it now) and I also want to see the Fangoria list.

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  6. This is brilliant, I didn't think anyone else had actually seen this movie. I watched it because it'd scared my dad to death when he was little and he wanted to revisit old demons. I was actually surprised by well I think it held over time. Sure, it's not going to creep anyone out like it used to, but it is something of "The Ring" before The Ring.

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  7. The Ring?! Is there something I'm missing?

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