Monster Weekend at the British Museum is the launch event for Gothic: The Dark Heart of Film, which will comprise a major season at BFI Southbank and across the UK from October to January next year.
Here is the BFI introduction: Sceptical American psychologist Holden (Dana Andrews) must reconsider his beliefs when genial occultist and children’s entertainer Karswell (Niall MacGinnis) passes him a cursed parchment and informs him that he will die within four days. Aided by perceptive Joanna Harrington (Peggy Cummins), Holden races to escape his destiny. Adapted from M.R. James’ Casting the Runes by Hitchcock collaborator Charles Bennett, the film was atmospherically directed by the legendary Jacques Tourneur, who had built his reputation with an exceptional string of Val Lewton-produced horrors, including Cat People. Yet Night of the Demon – gripping, intelligent, eerily entertaining, and chillingly plausible in its depiction of witchcraft – still might be the finest of Tourneur’s works. The full length British version of the film has been digitally remastered in high definition by the BFI National Archive from 35mm negatives.