001 Director Jacques Tourneur is something of a hero of mine, having directed a number of film noir and horror films which rank amongst my favourites. Nothing in ‘Cat People’ or ‘Out Of The Past’ can prepare you for ‘Night Of The Demon’, however. Whereas Tourneur normally gets his effects through subtlety and suggestion, shapes in the shadows, here the producer rode roughshod over his tendency to ambiguity and inserted a stop motion demon. Tourneur hated it, but I rather like the way it sets out the stall and lets you know immediately that black magic is real, monsters are real, Satan is real, Hell is a real place and, if you’re not very careful, you’re going there.
005 There is a séance scene in which medium Reginald Beckwith speaks with the voice of a small, dead girl. I have become somewhat hardened to horror over the years, i.e. repeat use has left me difficult to scare. However, all of that means nothing in the face of a middle aged man speaking in the voice of a small, dead girl, which, for some reason, I find terrifying. I would also find a small girl speaking like a middle aged bloke scary. I suppose I just don’t do disembodied voices very well, especially if they sound rather plaintive and confused.
006 The scenes with or about Rand Hobart have a sickly, oppressive feel, the sensation of dreaming that you are caught in quicksand. Tourneur draws a picture of unspeakable depravity with the merest of suggestions, a brilliant counterpoint to the explicit horror of rampaging Chewit monsters.
007 I will be presenting ‘Night Of The Demon’ at The Showroom Cinema on November 2nd at 7pm in the company of my friend Matt Cheeseman from The University Of Sheffield . The screening will be followed by a DJ set from Adrian Flanagan, one of the electronic warlocks behind the excellent Eccentronic Research Council, whose Pendle Witch obsessed album ‘1612 Underture’ I should have recommended a long time ago. If you do come, come and say hello. I promise not to stomp you to death. More HERE.