British Film Institute shows three restored classic movies in the forecourt of the British Museum, opening its BFI Gothic festival
Opening night : restored version of Jacques Tourneur's Night of The Demon to be followed by newly restored versions of
Hammer's The Mummy
(tickets still available I think)
Amazing setting though we are very lucky with the weather. Chilled out music helps create an early atmosphere - Siouxsie and Banshee's Cities in Dust could have been written to be played against the immense columns in the British Museum forecourt before a restored horror movie.
Quickly it becomes apparent why these restored old British movies are being shown here.
- Night of the Demon has a long crucial scene set in the British Museum (cue woops from audience as we zoom through the forecourt in 1957)
- Bram Stoker researched Dracula in the British Museum reading room
- The British Museum is of course full of dusty old Egyptian horrors.
Her glowing BFI introduction was not hype, she is the secret star of the movie: fiesty smart and managing to make that young Thatcher appearance and attitude seem very engaging and cute (in 1957).
Interesting that she fends off the male lead throughout, and like recent Pacific Rim, this does not end with a kiss. A scientist as rational as Dana Andrews she is also rational enough to realise that whatever is going on
supernatural or otherwise, is a real threat and needs to be taken seriously. A role model for female characters in the 1950s, it's easy to see why this film has so many female fans.
Night of The Demon (Curse of the Demon in the US) remains a very smart movie for the most part showing what it takes for a scientist to accept the supernatural.
I obviously need to watch Sam Raimi's Drag Me To Hell again, virtually a remake. Is the nasty female lead played by Alison Lohman in DMTH an evil version of Peggy Cummins? Similarly it ends at a railway and in Demon there is lots of effective use of woods and trees at night - all very Raimi.
A wag might say
BRIEF ENCOUNTER + DRAG ME TO HELL = NIGHT OF THE DEMON
More updates on tonight (DRACULA 1959) and tomorrow (Hammer's THE MUMMY) will follow
on my blog