Night Of The Demon (1958)

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I was looking forward to this one as I’d read a lot of great things about it, but unfortunately these high hopes were thoroughly crushed.

Dana Andrews plays a scientist setting out to debunk “witchcraft” when he encounters a sinister cult headed by Niall MacGinnis – not one, but both characters being introduced by the old “newspaper headline” exposition trick. Cue Peggy Cummins as the typically sexist B-movie love interest and what follows is a catalogue of absurdly pointed dialogue,  which is even punctuated at various intervals by a thunderclap sound effect. Andrews does little more than go round repeating the same Scullyisms to eccentric scientists who in retirn spout the usual “Scientists have become too arrogant! We must open our minds to mumbo jumbo!” platitudes so favoured by fundamental Christians.

True, Jacques Tourneur does have a nice eye for composition and there are a couple of atmospheric scenes, but the demon looks laughable and despite it’s classic status the whole affair is clumsy, absurd and was a real disappointment to me.

3/10

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