Monster of the Day, #6

“I can’t stop it. I can’t give it back. I can’t let anyone destroy this thing. I must protect myself. Because if it’s not someone else’s life, it’ll be mine. Do you understand, mother? It’ll be mine.”

This is one of the most controversial monsters ever, because the director didn’t want it in there and it was inserted in post-production by the producers, radically altering the film.

But it’s so damn cool…

  • BeckoningChasm

    Funnily enough, Carlos Clarens (in his book on horror movie history) talked about how inappropriate the monster was to the film…yet his book had that very image on the cover! Talk about having your cake…

  • P Stroud

    Probably one of the few instances of that era where revealing the monster didn’t wreck the movie. Of course Curse of the Demon would be a really really really hard movie to wreck. Having seen this a dozen times I don’t think the monster’s reveal really hurts or changes the movie much if at all. Yes, it would have been better without it, but it is such a classic demon.

  • Ericb

    For something that was apparently a last minute add-on they certainly seemed to put a lot of work into it. I saw this movie as a youngster and frankly the demon is the only thing I remember about it.

  • P Stroud — Well, there I have to disagree with you, because the whole thing Jacques Tourneur (director of Cat People and I Walked with a Zombie for producer Val Lewton) was going for was a film where it was left to your judgment whether anything supernatural was in fact going on. Of course, most of us would have decided that it was, but still. In any case, putting the demon right in there obviously kind of ruined that idea, even if the demon was TOTALLY FRICKIN’ AWESOME.

    I think it’s a more interesting ‘what if?’ because most of us would usually and instinctively side with the director, but in this case love the demon. If a producer messes with a film and screws it up, it’s easy to side with the director, especially if those changes completely changed what the film’s about. Here, though, the changes resulted in something beloved, so you really have to be intellectually committed to the director as auteur theory to flat out say, “They never should have done that.”

    It would be nice to edit out the demon scenes just for contrast purposes, and then put that out with the version we know. In the meantime, we’ll just have to stick with the spectacular DVD, which features the extended Brit cut of the film under the title Night of the Demon.

  • Gamera

    Funny, I ordered several of the films from DeepDiscount DVDs last night that Ken pointed out in his post the other day. I also ordered a few others as well including this one after Ken piqued my curosity in his references to it compared to last years ‘Drag Me to Hell’. And speak of the devil, I bring up the site this morning and here the demon is. Maybe it’s a sign that after reading Ken’s site for years I should get off my lazy butt and post something! Thanks Ken and the other reviewers for all the hard work you guys put in here. Only now I’m not sure if when my shipment gets here if I want to watch this film or ‘The Giant Claw’ first!

  • My friend, that’s the very definition of a win-win situation.

  • David Fullam

    May still be the coolest, most monstrous movie demon ever.

  • P Stroud

    Well, Ken, point taken. And I understand the film maker’s attitude and sympathize with it. However I think that in the end the movie works just as well either way. YMMD.

    At least the producer didn’t insert a giant anti-matter buzzard.

  • Rock Baker

    Is it possible the demon was in the minds of its victims? As each who fell to the demon believed in its power, and we were allowed to see their self-hypnosized visions? Even with the monster, Curse of the Demon is still a detective story of sorts. Dana Andrews had good presence for crime pictures and brings that whole vibe to this picture. I haven’t seen the British cut, is there much more to it?

  • The British cut includes a scene where Andrews (extremely well cast here because he always came off as a bit of a prick) visits the farm where the guy in the hypnotism came from, and some other stuff. The American cut is fine, but the British one is probably a bit more textured.

    The director’s idea was to leave it to the audience whether the magical forces are real or not. You can see that version under the current one, and it’s very well done. However, the demon is SO cool that again I can’t imagine many fans wanting to let it go.

  • fish eye no miko

    BeckoningChasm said: “Funnily enough, Carlos Clarens […] talked about how inappropriate the monster was to the film…yet his book had that very image on the cover!”

    For the record, I don’t think authors always decide what’s on the cover of their books.

    Ken: Could you mention what movies the monsters are from in the future? I had no clue what this film was until I read the comments.

  • The monster isn’t really a classic “reveal” like in many horror flicks. So I think it’s fine, actually. Plus there is a pretty impressive aspect to the demon’s appearance which does not show up in the usual picture and which I will not mention for those who haven’t seen the flick.

    I realize that the director said after the fact that it was supposed to be all psycholog-mical and everything, but if you look at the film sans demon, you have to struggle really hard to make sense of a non-supernatural element. I think that’s at least in part a post-hoc rationalization on the part of the director not wanting to be part of a mere monster movie. Which it’s not, anyway.

  • Whenever I see this monster, it reminds me of the classic Uriah Heep album ‘Abominog’. Look for yourself and judge.

  • The Rev. D.D.

    I finally saw this a month or so ago (DVR’d it a while back and finally got to it). It’s definitely, for me at least, one of those rare movies that lived up to the hype. And HOLY COW that demon’s even greater in action than he was in still shots.

    I’m pretty much with everyone here; I could see how it might be different without the demon’s couple of appearances, but enjoyed it so much I can only conclude it’s better off with it in there. Really, except for that wonderful shot of the demon clawing at the guy near the end, it’s still well-crafted enough a mystery movie that you could easily still believe it’s just in people’s minds.

  • sandra

    If they were going to add a monster, they couldn’t have done it better. Given when it was made and the constraints of the low budget, they actually did an excellent job.