Night of the Demon (1957)
In the 1957 film Night of the Demon (not to be confused with 1988’s Night of the Demons which is entirely different kettle of craziness), Dana Andrews manages to get himself embroiled in an evil game of pass the parcel with a jolly charming occultist called Julian. (It’s scarier than it sounds, honest).
As the film develops, our sceptic Dana’s situation progressively worsens and there’s some unpleasantness involving Foggy from Last of the Summer Wine, occultist Julian’s delightfully batty mother arranges a séance with equally delightfully batty Mr. Meeks and a celluloid psychic legend is born. It is Mr. Meek's enviable psychic arsenal and sheer medium range that set him apart from the young pretenders so let us sit for a moment at the feet of the master and take a peek at his hefty arsenal. Stop giggling at the back.
In order to achieve the trance like state popular media/fiction reliably informs us is necessary to contact spirits, Mr. Meek requires aural stimulation. Now, while a layman like you or I might pick any old piece of music we find evocative, relaxing, stimulating and emotionally charged, for instance, off the top of my head, the Glen Medeiros classic ‘Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You’, a more seasoned professional, like Mr. Meek, knowing much more about affecting the required atmosphere for such things, cranks up the old Victrola and slaps on that ole chartopper ‘Cherry Ripe’ and everyone sings along. And now Mr. Meek totally comes into his own; he brings out the big guns – Spirit guides - who, curiously enough, appear to be a Scotsman and a whiny child rather than the more traditional Native Americans we have come to expect. I think this clearly demonstrates that Mr. Meek is a trailblazer in his field, a maverick and an intrepid pioneer.
For some reason Dana remains resolutely unimpressed by all this. Mr. Meek can’t even move him by channelling the last man embroiled in this demonic debacle. Meek/Harrington (deceased) desperately tries to warn Dana of his impeding doom by relieving his own demise "It's in the trees! It's coming!" he/they shriek (he borrowed that from Kate Bush, but I’m sure she’s ok with it). By this point Dana’s had enough and commits the cardinal séance sin by breaking the circle signaling an abrupt end to proceedings. But ten out ten for effort, Mr. Meek!
Mr. Meek’s particular psychic flavour, I like to think, is that of a certain kind of British eccentric who happens to chat to the dead is but that probably isn’t a contributing factor to his perceived eccentricity. He knows how to put on a show and I for one admire that. I imagine his special powers are probably cups of tea, folk music appreciation and canasta, or maybe bridge on special occasions. But don’t be fooled by the mild mannered exterior, just like Hong Kong Phooey Mr. Meek is a worthy adversary.
Mr. Meek, it is, in fact, in the trees and it is, indeed, coming, and I for one am thankful to you for bringing it to my attention so I can take the necessary precautions to ensure my safety.