Cast and Crew: Jacques Tourneur (Director)
What It’s About: A frantic Professor (Maurice Denham) pleads with a Mr. Karswell (Niall MacGinnis) to save him, offering to call off his investigation. Karswell says he will do what he can and sends the man home. The clock rings-and the Professor, at his garage, sees a cloud of boiling smoke in the trees, which then materializes into a flaming demon-he backs up and runs into a telephone pole, knocking it over-he gets out, and something unseen kills him….
The Professor’s American compatriot, Dr. Holden (Dana Andrews), arrives on the scene and takes up the investigation, starting with this Dr. Karswell. The two begin to play a game of cat and mouse, with Karswell’s powers becoming increasingly obvious……
Why Watch it Today?: Alistair Crowley, a clear inspiration for Karswell, was born on this date in 1875. Night of the Demon is one of best horror films of the 1950s, leaving the eras usual science derived horror for an atmospheric questioning of the nature of Karswell’s apparent powers-is Karswell just a very skilled manipulator, hypnotist, fakir, and magician? Or is there really a supernatural entity at work?