It’s October, the month of Halloween and what would be more clichéd than doing a rundown of one’s top horror films, so fully admitting to being a walking cliché, I will be doing a series of blogs running down the films in my own personal top 20. Here’s the previous blog in regards #20, the fucking glorious Audition.
At 19 in my top 20 countdown is the superb 1950’s horror film Night of the Demon. Based upon the M.R James story, Casting of the Runes, it’s simply one of the most atmospheric horror films you’ll ever see. The plot is fairly thin; an American academic & sceptic visits Britain to help expose a Satanic cult and gets caught up in a very real demonic plot. It’s only a skeleton of a plot to hang on conversations about the nature of belief while generally scaring the shite out of the viewer through a series of images which will stick in your mind for years after seeing the film.
This one in particular has stayed with me since I first saw the film as a ten or eleven year old during a summer in the 1970’s when the BBC used to show late night horror double bills on BBC 2 on Saturday nights during the summer months.
I had nightmares about that image, and still do some 30 years later from first seeing it. It’s a terrifying image because we don’t quite know what we’re looking at in the dark, and we’re all scared of the dark in some shape or form so it’s this primordial horror emerging out of the blackness that frightens us and this film is full of this.
To go back briefly to those BBC horror double bills. They weren’t just an education in horror film history for kids across the country, but film in general. They were fantastic, but now late night television is full of crap game shows, repeats and just every now and then, the odd gem of a film. A channel bringing these double bills back would be great and yes, I’m looking at you BBC Four.
Search Night of the Demon out in it’s full uncut 96 minute long British cut. Also, check out the American trailer which contains a scene not in either the UK or US edits.
Lastly, here’s the Kate Bush song which starts with dialogue from the film & has a Night of the Demon inspired video…
Next time in my countdown-we are going to eat you!