Okay, my torrent says Curse of the Demon but the title card, Night, so hopefully I was badly misremembering the cuts between the two versions, except I remember there's a scene at Stonehenge that was cut. Phooey. According to the film, Stonehenge has runic carvings; (a) it doesn't, and (b) Stonehenge dates to the millennia BC while runic writing wasn't developed until the Middle Ages, or more correctly Late Antiquity; (c) ancient Celts and ancient Germans were two separate groups (never mind that Stonehenge is pre-Celtic, though I did go there the sunrise of the summer solstice in 1999, where the site was filled with self-styled druids who took it ultra-seriously and blah blah blah. One of my favorite family-vacation memories. We didn't go out of any conviction, we just happened to be in Salisbury the night before and we just said why not and went to see the sights); and (d) I forgot letter D. They had probably just heard of runestones, which are a thing, and misunderstood/conflated the two.
Those middle-aged bachelors like Karswell sure did like to live with their mothers back in the day, didn't they? I won't say that he needs to get out more because "Satan-worshipper" back in the day implied wild sex cults and the associated bacchanalia.
The demon is pretty hokey nowadays and it was controversial to show it even at the time, but not gonna lie, it's kind of freaky stoned. In the story Harrington I think dies of fright and Karswell is hit by falling masonry. But these deaths make for much better cinema.
The DAC in my receiver died. Cambridge Audio are a respected company, but I swear everything I've bought from them has turned out to be shit. I got my receiver (AXR-100, don't buy it) and had to RMA it after a couple of months. The replacement worked just long enough for the warranty to expire before the DAC crapped out. I'm using my 17-year-old Monarchy 18B and you know what? It works. It overloads sometimes and pops, scaring my dog, but the cheap $300 Chinese literal one-man operation has run circles around the hifalutin British boutique audio house (price of receiver, $500 though to be fair it has other functions that work just fine and I still use it as my primary music-thing).
People talk about the "looted" treasures from around the world in the British Museum but isn't it better to have them in the capital of a safe, stable country that AFAIK has friendly relations with everyone save perhaps Afghanistan? Sometimes colonialism is a good thing.
The main character's introduction to Karswell in the reading room is much better in the story. One reason I don't see the characters of the movie in my mind when I read the story is that the main character and the love interest in the film don't exist in the story at all. This all does make for better cinema. Also the story is Edwardian and the film is present-day.
They cut my favorite part of the story! The parts with the streetcar. And my other favorite part, the Freudian hairy "mouth with teeth" he finds under his pillow.
They COMPLETELY transmogrified and transfigured Karswell's relations with/activity towards the village children.
When I was really into Ultima in middle school I learned the runic writing (really just a letter-substitution cipher with a few characters for English digraphs, like ng and th) and believe it or not, it's actually very similar to Tolkien's runes, which I guess shouldn't be a surprise because it's based on them (Tolkien's are the more developed). Believe it or not you can sound out a lot of legit runic words if you learn the symbols. The fictional ones aren't that far removed from the real thing. I would write the alphabet over and over in class when bored and transliterate random words into runes, kind of like how I learned the Cyrillic and Arabic alphabets (the latter is harder because there are some symbols for sounds that don't exist in English and it's harder to sound them out. Arabic lacks the letter P, oddly -- Sprite is called Sbrite. (The Persians and others who did have a P sound -- every other language in the world, basically -- supplied the letter form.) I could probably pick up shorthand pretty easily and I'd gain a useful new skill, too. That could be a future project.
The protagonist correctly pronounces "doth" in reciting "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner", with the vowel as in "love", not "Goth". Very good. Switching to newer translations and updated prayer books breaks that tradition in the churches and hands it over to the evangelicals to depredate.
They missed a chance -- when Kumar at the hotel asks the protagonist, "are you ill?" My dad used to have this joke where when someone asked "are you sick?", he would reply in an affected Indian accent, "no, I am Hindu."
I don't remember the part at the cottage. Maybe this *is* a longer cut. I could have sworn the scene at Stonehenge was cut, but it's here, too.
If I weren't familiar with the story (and loved it, with all of M.R. James) I don't think I'd like this movie nearly as much. The séance scene is a dramatic disaster, though the wife -- not the mother -- is pretty fetching (then again I've been on a MILF/GILF kick lately).
The pizzicato string part in the music when the protagonist breaks into Karswell's mansion closely resembles the slow movement to Sibelius' third symphony, which is quite underrated. In my younger and less scrupulously lawful days I would sneak open the wrappers to BBC Music and The Gramophone magazines at Borders and steal the CDs they included in the wrapper. You could build up a little classical collection on the side like that -- for a celebration of the Hallé Orchestra's centenary or some significant anniversary BBC Music put out a commemorative album with that Sibelius symphony. I eventually threw out all the CDs in the kind of fit of conscience that you actually end up regretting. I wish I still had them. Good memories.
If you've never read Saki, btw, you really should. Friendly PSA.
Hmm -- black cats are unlucky. I had the opposite impression -- is that a common view? My grandmother would feed and tame black feral cats. She never actually touched or petted any of them; she just liked to have them around. Her mother did the same thing (and named them all Leroy).
Hobart is shot up with "pentothal and methyl-amphetamine" -- IOW literally meth and the lethal-injection tranquilizer. No wonder the poor guy freaks out.
"It is the night of the demon", said twice. So Night probably *is* the British original version. Note well.
Why do British concert posters and notices use 24-hour time when the British themselves at least often use AM/PM time? What do people say at five PM? "Seventeen o'clock"? Honest question.
Maaaan, the last ten minutes or so let this movie down. Not as badly as The Legend of Hell House, which I also recommend, but everything between the protagonist confronting Karswell on the train and him running on the train tracks is crap. None of the suspense in the original at all. The very end of the film is satisfying, though; the demon is effective, wonky or no. After all, getting bonked on the head by a falling block isn't very cinematic.