Mention the British horror film "Night of the Demon" to a group of film buffs and an argument is only moments away. The argument is course over the shots of the fire demon that producer Hal Chester had inserted into the film at the beginning and end. As we all know, director Jaques Tourneur had worked for Val Lewton, who believed that what wasn't seen was scarier than what was; as a result, some people believe these shots destroy Tourneur's intent for the film. I've never agreed with this view: I think the demon looks terrific. I agree with Danny Peary when he wrote that this monster is far scarier than anything imaginable and that if Lewton had such a great creature, he would have shown it. Restraint is admirable, but I believe if you have a great looking monster, it's a total cheat not to show it. Doesn't the demon descending from the sky to tear Karswell to shreds make a great payoff? I think this one of those moments where subtlety isn't called for. One could say that showing the demon right at the beginning gives too much away, but I don't buy that either; by convincing us right off the bat that the curse is real, more tension is built when Dana Andrew's character stubbornly refuses to believe in the supernatural. We all know what he's in for if he doesn't wise up and get rid of the parchment. Anyway, I consider the demon essential to the film's success and I'm convinced that the only reason that there's so much opposition to it is because everyone knows it was studio imposed. It's too bad that one of the all-time great horror films has been overshadowed by controversy.