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COMPARING 'CURSE OF THE DEMON' WITH 'NIGHT OF THE DEMON'

Art for NIGHT OF THE DEMON w/ Dana Andrews & Peggy Cummins
This won't be worthwhile reading unless you've seen and know all about both CURSE OF THE DEMON and NIGHT OF THE DEMON...

The second, NIGHT, is the original British cut while CURSE was edited for American audiences. But that doesn't mean CURSE is just a chopped version of NIGHT as each film has its own order, aura, and fans who decide which one they prefer. So perhaps this reexamination rundown will help with that decision, or even change it...

On the airplane, following the demon-killing intro that's the same in both versions, in NIGHT OF THE DEMON Peggy asks the stewardess is she can move seats because she bothered Dr. Holden. He's trying to sleep and she's writing a letter to the kids in her classroom. Also in NIGHT, Holden speaks longer to the professors greeting him into the airport baggage claim and then walking out the door. CURSE cuts from him going down the escalator to being right outside the airport...

Dana Andrews meets Karswell for the first time in CURSE
Inside Holden's hotel room, CURSE cuts after the wise Indian doctor says he believes in demons, while NIGHT continues this conversation until Holden, answering the phone, talks to Karswell: for the first time.

So CURSE has Holden first meeting and speaking to Karswell in the library while NIGHT has the library the second time following the call: although it's the first time in person. But there's no dialogue to address that he's spoken to him before...

"I'm Julian Karswell" is how he introduces himself, which could mean, "I'm the guy who called you" or "I'm the guy you're about to write about." And in NIGHT, after the library, Holden checks the vanished signature from Karswell: This makes sense because he had just gotten the card. In both CURSE and in NIGHT, there's another scene involving the vanishing-ink checker also calling Holden while Holden is being visited by Peggy... Basically, CURSE uses this one scene disclosing that there was no signature on the card while NIGHT shows it twice...

Niall MacGinnis with Dana Andrews discussing curses
NIGHT: from the signature check we go straight to the funeral of Joanna's uncle, who was killed in the prologue...

In CURSE, Holden goes from the library into the ominous hotel corridor where he hears the music he had just heard when he saw Karswell leaving the library... This fits since we had just heard the music as well...

In NIGHT, after the funeral, Joanna meets Holden in his apartment, like she said she would... In CURSE she also visits his apartment after the funeral, but the funeral is right after checking the validity of the signature, and the corridor scene happens after he visits Karswell at his vast castle/estate. So in NIGHT the important spooky corridor scene is after visiting Karswell's estate...

Dana Andrews and Niall MacGinnis talking shop
In CURSE, while at Karswell's estate, the final scene, as Holden and Karswell are inside Karswell's study after he had caused the wind storm outside, cuts with Karswell warning Holden "the choice is yours" when Holden refuses to stop the article...

In NIGHT this scene continues into another room, where Karswell enters to speak to Peggy and his mother... Followed by a private conversation between Karswell and his mother: It's interesting dialogue, but when Karswell tells ma that the power (i.e. the curse of the demon) can also destroy his own life, it winds up being revealed later to the audience when the farmer Hobart, being hypnotized by Holden, tells him about passing the parchment to someone else. And then it's the climactic decision Holden makes to trick Karswell into being around when the demon arrives. So in CURSE this information is more of an 11th hour twist being that it's cut from this scene early on.

Dana Andrews walks the spooky corridor
In NIGHT, Peggy drops Holden off outside his apartment, where they talk about having dinner... In CURSE, the dinner happens right after the Karswell Estate scene without the dialogue about having a date... So in CURSE, instead of planning the date, they're simply on the date, which makes sense because they've been inseparable for the last few scenes... Plus, this "date" is more about plot exposition...

Most important is, in NIGHT, after the estate scene, is the scene with Holden inside the corridor, the spooky corridor scene which, if you remember, happened in CURSE directly after the library sequence where he hears the same noise. Then, in both movies, he speaks to the English doctor and the Indian doctor for a nightcap, which is one of the most important scenes of dialogue/exposition. In NIGHT, he received the date of his death from Karswell; and then the date is revealed here, which is the strongest case for NIGHT because it's in this scene that he shows the torn up calender with the missing pages following his death date mentioned in the last scene. In CURSE, the scene where he gets his death date is cut, so it's shown for the first time in his apartment as if he already knew.

Dana Andrews and Peggy Cummins catching up on curses
In NIGHT the date/dinner scene with Joanna happens after the corridor scene/meeting with the doctors, while in CURSE this scene happens right after the estate scene... Again, the only thing left out is them making the date...

In NIGHT, there's an entire scene that's not in CURSE at all, and it entails Holden visiting the property of Hobart, the farmer and former Karswell cultist who went crazy after seeing the demon... Ironically, in the British version, this scene feels like something from a Hammer film with the townspeople looking gaunt and Gothic, and not wanting to tell Holden anything... But it's not a entirely necessary scene except that the townspeople tell Holden that "he has been chosen," and that "no one can defend him," but again, this is redundant when Hobart winds up disclosing the information to Holden later on, while hypnotized...

This famous shot is not in either version: it's a closer shot instead
Straight to the famous Stonehenge scene: in NIGHT it's after the hushed villagers and in CURSE it's after the date... Interestingly enough, one of the most famous images, which is a medium shot of Holden holding up the parchment, is, in both versions, a closeup instead, so that shot must have come from a lobby card or a still photo. It's since been the signature image of the entire film... Of both versions...

Also in both versions, it goes from Stonehenge to what's the corniest scene: Holden and Joanna at a seance with Karwell's mother and her friends: Where an old man channels Joanna's uncle (who died in the beginning)... It's the only truly campy part of the film, and in NIGHT it goes on even longer... So the fact it's cut short in CURSE is a good thing: The part cut is when the old man's voice channels a little girl, and it's the actual voice of a little girl instead of him imitating her, and obviously not coming from him at all.

Dana Andrews and the hate of fate in CURSE and NIGHT
After this, both movies are actually quite similar... Most of the editing-down and rearranging of scenes happens during the first half...

And in both, after the seance is one of the best scenes, where Holden breaks into Karswell's estate to steal the book and, perhaps as homage to Jacques Tourneur's Val Lewton produced CAT PEOPLE and THE LEOPARD MAN, Karswell's pet cat turns into a black panther, attacking Holden: only to change back since it was a spell that altered it. "Just a minor demon that I sent to protect the room," Karswell states. And after this entire sequence, which follows Holden in the forest being chased by a mysterious yet palpable force, and then with both of them trying to convince the police, in NIGHT, Joana calls Holden, who's with the doctors and is about to go to the demonstration to hynotize Hobart. Then she makes a second call, to Karswell's mother, who warns Joanna about how real the situation is... This is followed by Joanna going outside, and suddenly being surprised as Karswell is standing above her, about to kidnap her...

Dana Andrews buying his ticket to ride
But in CURSE, Joanna only makes one call: the one to Holden, who doesn't want to speak with her, and then, right after, she goes outside and gets kidnapped...

So in CURSE, not showing Joanna talking to Karsell's mother (who tells her about the curse being handed-off) again makes the ending more of a twist, relying on Holden figuring to trap Karswell with his own demon since, basically, the mother is warning Joanna about what Holden needs to work out on his own...

Also, there are two scenes in NIGHT showing the ambulance with the shock-loud siren taking Hobart to the hospital: one during the day, while Holden is avoiding Joanna's call, and then, in both versions, one when Karswell appears before a surprised, soon-to-be-kidnapped Joanna. The siren works perfectly to sum up the shocked reaction we don't witness with Joanna: in both versions...

Dana Andrews offers an 11th hour smoke to Peggy Cummins
Also, both versions lead to the hypnotizing scene, which is overlong in each, and again, as mentioned already several times... in CURSE, when the hypnotized Hobart talks about giving the parchment to someone else, which would kill that person instead of the bearer of the parchment, this is the first time it's mentioned...

This unlike NIGHT, when we'd heard about it during the scene when Karswell tells his mother about the curse (right after Holden and Joanna visit his estate). Eludeing to this idea of handing off the parchment, which Holden proceeds to do in the train where Karswell is keeping a hypnotized Joanne. Meanwhile, the ending is the same, and all the stuff cut from CURSE OF THE DEMON actually makes both versions their very own motion picture: Each with a power and significance all their own. Just know this: a shortened version of a movie doesn't always mean it's the same exact movie with less time. Editing means both cutting and rearranging.
Dana Andrews and Peggy Cummins talk CURSE on their date NIGHT with a DEMON on his trail
And some Poster Artwork for CURSE OF THE DEMON
The closeup where Dana Andrews holds the ruins scroll as opposed to the well known medium shot
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