UK 1957
Directed by Jacques Tourneur
Production Company Sabre Film Productions, Columbia Pictures Corporation
Running time 91 min
Certificate PG

Adapted from M.R. James’s Casting the Runes, 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.

Sceptical American psychologist Holden must reconsider his beliefs when genial occultist and children’s entertainer Karswell passes him a cursed parchment and informs him that he will die within four days. Aided by perceptive Joanna Harrington, Holden races to escape his destiny.

Lesson resources