Perfect for Halloween

In 1904, M. R. James published “Casting the Runes,” one of the best ghost stories of the 20th century. In 1958, Jacques Tourneur directed a film of that story, called Curse of the Demon (also known as Night of the Demon in a longer British version) starring Dana Andrews and Peggy Cummins. Both remain classics of their genres to this day. The story follows similar lines in both book and movie, though the different mediums call for differing treatments. An occult fanatic feels slighted by the establishment and sets about destroying those he believes are responsible for his disparagement. In both film and book, he passes a parchment on which he has cast a spell with runes to his unsuspecting victim. If the victim cannot give the parchment to someone else who voluntarily accepts it within a certain timeframe, the recipient dies a horrible death at the hands of a supernatural entity conjured by the rune-spell. Preferably, the victim will return it to the psycho who gave it to him, thereby protecting the innocent. The evil man’s name is Karswell. The demon is never named.