Hollywood Gothique
The Vault

Curse of the Innocents!

I guess the American Cinematheque is having a little joke with its annual Festival of Fantasy, Horror & Science Fiction films. Tonight’s double bill features THE INNOCENTS (a 1960 ghost story starring Deborah Kerr) and CURSE OF THE DEMON (a 1957 horror film starring Dana Andrews as a psychiatrist trying to debunk a warlock).

Besides the genre, the only link between the two films that occurs to me is that both are based on classic terror tales by authors named James: INNOCENTS is based on Henry James’ “Turn of the Screw” and CURSE is based on M.R. James “Casting the Runes.”

Whether this would have amused the two Victorian authors, I do not know, but I suspect not. M.R James ended an essay titled “Some Remarks on Ghost Stories” with this: “I will only ask the reader to believe that, though I have not hitherto mentioned it, I have read Turn of the Screw.”

In any case, the Cinematheque timing midly ticks me off. They just screened CURSE OF THE DEMON a month or two ago during their British horror film festival, but I wasn’t able to make it out, so I opted to buy the DVD instead. Now that I’ve just recently watched the film at home, I find it hard to bring myself to go out and see it in a theatre, in spite of my preference for theatrical settings. Oh well…

The double bill starts at 7:30pm at the Aero Theatre. The print of CURSE OF THE DEMON will be the completely restored 95-minute version (which was originally released in England as NIGHT OF THE DEMON), not the truncated 82-minute version released in America back in 1957.