This is one of those British horror films of the 1950’s; so there isn’t much in the way of blood and guts. By and large, the thrills and chills are psychological. Dana Andrews plays an American psychologist, John Holden, who does not believe in demons and things that go bump in the night. Ah, but the audience sure believes! In the opening scene of the movie, the demon makes its appearance, and it is truly memorable. Again, when you consider the limited budget and the state of effects at the time, the filmmakers still manage to make the demon scary and menacing.
After that, Andrews starts to investigate what’s going on, and what happened to his friend – the man murdered in the opening scene. While he keeps searching for a logical explanation, everyone around him warns him of the dangers he’s facing. When he finds a slip of paper hidden in a file folder, it tries to throw itself into the fire. Upon examination, it has ancient runes on it.
Eventually, Andrews comes to believe that Dr. Karswell (Niall MacGinnis), the leader of a demonic cult is for real, and the paper is what he uses to summon the demon. So, he corners Karswell on a train and says he’s going to stay right by Karswell’s side. If a demon is coming, it’ll take both of them! When the police arrive, Karswell tries to slip away, and Andrews slips the paper in his coat pocket. As the midnight hour strikes, the demon makes a return appearance, and it’s just as chilling as the first.
If you enjoy good drama, and mind games that give you chills, this is a great film for you.