The Night of the Demon Blu Ray review

‘Its in the Trees, its coming…’ For Indicator fans they felt finally they could see the trees on announcement that Night of the Demon was to be released as number 48. As the official Facebook page notes ‘048 – Night of the Demon (Jacques Tourneur, 1957)’. Night of the Demon finds Dr John Holden (Dana Andrews), arriving in England. He is here on request from a friend, Professor Harrington (Maurice Denham) who has tasked his self with the job of exposing Dr. Julian Karswell (Niall MacGinnis), an apparent cult leader. However when Harrington is found dead, maybe the curse of Karswell is more than words…

So the best release and version of a film titled Night of the Demon hits our shelves. Personally, Jacques Tourneur never made a better film. Hollywood great Dana Andrews (battling a declining career and alcoholism even it seems during the film) gives a measured performance, Peggy Cummins executes a role with toned down charm and ups the vulnerability and trained Doctor and Surgeon turned actor Niall MacGinnis, is deeply unpleasant in a very British way. Tourneur seems to have relished this opportunity. Shooting tight, morphing the visual effects with a seriousness and adding a malevolent tone to the whole proceedings. I even felt that a very subtle homage to CAT PEOPLE could be seen in the shadow play inside the house and its framing. One person very often overlooked in terms of these works is composer Clifton Parker. Sounds are essential to the films tone. Crescendos reveal the demon but its the wind whistle and flutter. The rustle and hoot that leave you on your seat edge…

The disc. The new NIGHT OF THE DEMON release from Powerhouse, is eye watering astounding. From the four versions of the film, the longer running versions on disc one. The stand out long run is the 1.75: 1 version. 2K restoration from the BFI comes of its own in the black shadow of night. The woodlands and Karswell house. All of this is paired with a wonderful audio commentary from Tony Earnshaw. More from him on Andrews, Cummins, the life of MacGinnis and of course Tourneur. With some notes on the differences between versions however, the best covering of this on disc two. That houses the shorter versions and the resplendent extras. My favourites being the comparison of the cut version of the film via the BBFC and the distributor double header. The making of with the film with the no restored footage revealing the amazing restoration work on the 1.75: 1 version. The appreciations from Christopher Frayling, Kim Newman and Scott MacQueen all stand out. Frayling’s clocks in at 35 minutes. He saw it in the 80s on TV. Hitchcock comes up. Witchcraft and Karswell’s menance (he states its toned down but I disagree). All through a lense of Hitchcock and writer Bennett. Newman focuses on Tourneur and Lewton. The relationship that spawned a series of great horror films. MacQueen seemingly diffuses the B movie, A movie film industry place of Night of the Demon. Now my only point here is that the excess amounts of these appreciations will test a single seating, they will benefit from re watching and that is the value added in the set.   

• The BFI’s 2013 2K restoration of the 96-minute version
• High-definition remaster of the 82-minute cut
• Original mono audio
• Four presentations of the film: Night of the Demon – the original full-length pre-release version (96 mins), and the original UK theatrical cut (82 minutes); Curse of the Demon – the original US theatrical cut (82 mins), and the US re-issue version (96 mins)
• Audio commentary with film historian Tony Earnshaw, author of Beating the Devil: The Making of ‘Night of the Demon’
• Speak of the Devil: The Making of ‘Night of the Demon’ (2007): documentary featuring interviews with actor Peggy Cummins, production designer Ken Adam and historians Tony Earnshaw and Jonathan Rigby
• Dana Andrews on ‘Night of the Demon’: a rare audio interview with the actor conducted by Scott MacQueen
• The Devil’s in the Detail (2018): Christopher Frayling on Night of the Demon and acclaimed production designer Ken Adam
• Horrors Unseen (2018): a discussion of the celebrated director of Night of the Demon by Chris Fujiwara, author of Jacques Tourneur: The Cinema of Nightfall
• Sinister Signs (2018): an analysis by Kim Newman, author of Nightmare Movies
• Under the Spell (2018): the celebrated British horror writer Ramsey Campbell discusses the unique combination of M R James and Jacques Tourneur
• The Devil in Music (2018): a new appreciation of Clifton Parker’s score by David Huckvale, author of Movie Magick: The Occult in Film
• The Devil Gets His Due (2018): film historian and preservationist Scott MacQueen on the release history of Night of the Demon
• The Truth of Alchemy (2018) a discussion of M R James and ‘Casting the Runes’ by Roger Clarke, author of A Natural History of Ghosts: 500 Years of Hunting for Proof
• Cloven In Two (2018): a new video piece exploring the different versions of the film
• Escape: ‘Casting the Runes’ (1947): a radio play adaptation of James’ original story
• Super 8 version: original cut-down home cinema presentation
• Isolated music & effects track on the US theatrical cut
• Original US Curse of the Demon theatrical trailer
• Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography, including rare production design sketches from the Deutsche Kinemathek’s Ken Adam Archive
• New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Limited Edition exclusive 80-page book containing a new essay by Kat Ellinger, M R James on ghost stories, a history of the film’s production through the words of its principle creators, a profile of witchcraft consultant Margaret Murray, the film’s history with the BBFC, a look at the different versions of the film, contemporary critical responses, a look at Charles Bennett’s original scripted ending, and film credits
• Limited Edition exclusive double-sided poster
• UK premiere on Blu-ray
• Limited Edition of 8,000 copies

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