Night Of The Demon (aka Curse Of The Demon) (1957 91min.) [Film4 12.50am wednesday &+1]
Horror based on the story by MR James, starring Dana Andrews. American psychologist John Holden remains sceptical of the work of sinister occultist Dr Karswell, until his own life is threatened.
Director Jacques Tourneur, who made several classic psychological thrillers for Hollywood in the 1940's (including the brilliant Cat People) was brought to England to handle this adaptation of the MR James story Casting the Runes.
Dana Andrews plays the rational scientist who tangles with a reclusive mystic (superbly played by Niall MacGinnis). The film is an exercise in creating tension and atmosphere from the story, rather than stringing together a series of shocks.
In fact, Tourneur fought hard against the studio's insistence on showing the monster at the climax of the film (and lost) ; however the compromise makes for a genuinely thrilling ending to a superbly constructed and delivered example of film making on a limited budget.
Terrific cast, locations, sets and superb direction combine to deliver a classic of British fifties cinema.