At the moment the webmaster has a special feature on Demons & Witches, giving an easy-to-access list of the best (and some of the worst) films. Getting a rave review is Night of the Demon, which is available on DVD in the US along with the cut-down American release Curse of the Demon. I wish it would materialise in Region 2.
I think the review makes one very valid point. It's conventional wisdom never to show a horror movie monster at the very start, yet in CotD Jacques Tourneur breaks that rule to bits. Not only do we see the monster, we get close ups at its kills poor Harrington. The argument in favour, however, is a strong one. The essence of the film is that Dana Andrews' star is a sceptical expert who (quite rightly) regards black magic as a lot of nonsense. Stories fit for for children can't really hurt anyone - but we know they can in this film! So all the business with the runes on the slip of paper, which the expert treats as an academic puzzle, we know to be a matter of life and death. No wonder it works so well. Throw in the superb black-and-white imagery, using light and shadow to wonderful effect, and you've got a classic.
Incidentally, in case you were wondering, the image at the top of the blog is from the movie. That's Dana Andrews vanishing down that corridor, possibly in search of a slip of paper. And here's an extract from the US cut, which is on YouTube in ten minute chunks, in which our hero gets it so badly wrong, for all the right reasons.
Kate Bush's tribute to the movie, her 'Hounds of Love' video, is still available too.