I look at Jacques Tourneur’s excellent western Wichita for my second “B Role” column at The House Next Door. The film deals with the Earp legend in very interesting ways, one of which is representing his origin story as almost pre-ordained and fated.
Tourneur’s visuals always evoke a sense of supernatural dread beautifully defining the goals of the Horror genre, and Night of the Demon has these moments in spades. But the film doesn’t come close to exhibiting the great sense of character seen in other Tourneur films (the best examples being Cat People or I Walked With a Zombie). It does have one scene to die for though, a stunning montage within the villain’s mansion leading up to Dana Andrews’ battle with a demon cat. With Andrews’ meddling scientist shrouded in the background of a dimly lit mise-en-scene, a lone hand enters the frame and rests in the foreground, waiting to pounce. In one shot, the Dark Arts come alive.