Following the same mantra as in "Cat People", the film delves into a no man's land of events that defy rational explanations, where the stronger the light of science, the darker and more ominous are the shadows it casts on the characters and the viewers alike, one of Tourneur's preferred principles while working on the horror genre.
"Es mejor no saber" dice el hombre de las ciencias y le da la espalda a la desconocido, aún sabiendo que caminó cerca del diablo. Jacques Tourneur, dueño de las sombras, abraza aquello que nadie conoce pero todo saben que existe, ese otro lado que aguarda detrás de cada puerta y que es capaz de poner patas para arriba cualquier creencia. Hace un doble programa satánico estupendo con "Drag Me To Hell" de Sam Raimi...
Rounding out an early horror double feature with this film after a disappointing first watch and I was wholly delighted. The pacing and dialogue are spot on, the cinematography is elegant and atmospheric. I am in the camp that found the creature effects both impressive and effective. I'm looking forward to diving into Tourneur's oeuvre.
If you can get past the plastic demon-monster-thingy, the stuffed puma and other aged special FX, there is some charm in this traditional science-vs-religion story. Obviously the scientist has to yield in the end, but before you’re there, the film has many clever twists to offer. But I also got the feeling that the film was old-fashioned already when it was published in 1957.
Beautifully shot horror film from Tourneur, with some astonishing practical FX sequences. The chief drawback is that there's precious little narrative material to fill 95 minutes, so the soggy midsection is mostly taken by Dana Andrews being moronically stubborn. Points deducted for making Peggy "Gun Crazy" Cummins so respectable. Points added back for cinema's most authentically satanic facial hair.
The oft criticized appearance of the demon at the beginning is necessary. The knowledge that there is a real malign force out there paired with Dr. Holden's denial of the unknown, of death, is what drives the narrative. It's crucial for the film's themes and ability to sustain tension that the viewer know the reality of his impending doom. Pitting rationality with the unexplainable; confronting him with the abyss.
Quintessential 1950s British horror. You can argue for or against the inclusion of the grizzly muppet demon but what really counts here is the directorial clarity and efficiency: all the key elements - script, performances, cinematography - are on the button, nothing flashy, just well judged. Lacks the psychological complexity of, say, Cat People, but admirably atmospheric nevertheless.
Oh, boy! This one is a gem! I've started watching it lying down and by the final moments, I was sitting up straight, my eyes fixed on the screen, already aware of what was about to happen, but totally interested on how it would be presented. It's not totally original, but its delivery makes it worthwhile. For what matters, both the acting and cinematography are nicely done. But here, above all, lies a great script!
Never trust the man with a pointy beard, especially if he's a kids party magic hobo clown in his leisure time. A B-Movie that's feels quite antiquated and on a more ambling pace compared to its small town American contemporaries. Despite having the potential to be rather menacing, the psychoanalytic mumbo-jumbo & the naff monster payoff right at the start (shoulda just kept the evil fog) hamper the course of events.
Tourneur at his best. Having learnt his trade directing and editing countless B-movies, his directorial style is lean, refined and disciplined, with the efficiency and economy and of Roger Corman. A creative and imaginative eye for cinematography and lighting also set his films apart from other generic productions. And this film, though notably later in his career, is no exception.
Part of what we're now coming to call 'folk horror' or the 'english eerie'? The problem with the demon isn't whether it convinces, but rather that it's reveal comes far too early, thus undermining much of the film's subtlety, even if it does exchange some of James' original tone for something more transatlantic. I rather like it's outsider's view of England in the 50s. Great horror, however you wish to classify it.