13 Demon Street

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13 Demon Street
Created byCurt Siodmak
Developed byHerts-Lion
Directed byCurt Siodmak
StarringLon Chaney Jr.
Theme music composerLen Fors
Composer(s)Len Fors
Country of origin Sweden
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13
Producer(s)Gustaf Unger
Ken Herts
Leo Guild
Production location(s)Nordisk Tonefilm Studios, Stockholm
CinematographyJohnny Schwerin
Editor(s)C-O Skeppstedt
Camera setupMax Wilen
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Herts-Lion Productions
DistributorCrosby/Brown Productions
Picture formatblack and white
Audio formatmono

13 Demon Street is a horror anthology TV series that aired between 1959 and 1960 in American syndication. Thirteen 25-minute episodes were produced in Sweden, although the language, and cast, is English.

Lon Chaney Jr. was the host, introducing each episode from his 'home' at 13 Demon Street. Condemned for some shockingly atrocious crime, Chaney's purpose in relating the series' stories was to convince viewers that the crimes presented in them were worse than his, thus freeing him from his purgatory. This was hard for audiences to judge, however, because Chaney's original crime was never specified.

The series was originated by Curt Siodmak, who also wrote some of the scripts and directed several episodes. He had previously written Chaney's 1941 film The Wolf Man.

Three episodes of the series were edited together to make a theatrical feature called The Devil's Messenger in 1961, in which Chaney's character was reconfigured as Satan himself. Chaney filmed new wraparound segments as Satan in Hell to link the chosen episodes, which were "The Photograph", "The Girl in the Glacier" and "Condemned in Crystal".

Several of the show's stories were derivative in nature. "The Black Hand", for example, was modelled on The Hands of Orlac, while "The Photograph" is an updated version of the M R James story "The Mezzotint".

Availability on home video[edit]

The series is available on grey market home video. In addition, two episodes - 'The Vine of Death' and 'The Black Hand' - were included as bonus features on the Image DVD release of the 1958 Hal Roach/ Boris Karloff series The Veil. Odeon's UK release of the same series featured four - the Image episodes plus 'The Photograph' and 'Fever'.

Although numerous dealers offer the series on DVD or VHS, every existing set is missing most of the Lon Chaney footage, removed by some unknown individual for reasons unknown. Episodes were intended to open and close in Lon Chaney's character's dilapidated home, where he would act as host and comment on each individual story. However, most episodes have obvious jump cuts, almost completely eliminating Lon Chaney's presence.


List of episodes[edit]

  • The Black Hand
  • Fever
  • Condemned in Crystal
  • Green are the Leaves
  • The Girl in the Glacier
  • The Book of Ghouls
  • The Photograph
  • The Vine of Death
  • A Gift of Murder
  • The Secret of the Telescope
  • Never Steal a Warlock's Wife
  • Murder in the Mirror
  • Black Nemesis

Cultural references[edit]

The name of the Swedish hardcore punk band D.S.-13 is a play on that of the series.

External links[edit]