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Thursday April 18th 2024

Night Of The Demon (CURSE OF THE DEMON) | 1957

Night of the Demon filming location: Brocket Hall, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire
Night of the Demon location: 'Lufford Hall, Warwickshire': Brocket Hall, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire | Photograph: Wikimedia

Brilliant and genuinely scary filming of MR James' classic horror story Casting the Runes, slightly let down by the studio’s insistence on giving the ambiguous demon thumping great close-ups at the beginning of the movie.

The opening scenes are at Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire.

Demon raiser Dr Karswell (Niall MacGinnis) follows John Holden (Dana Andrews) to the huge old circular Reading Room of the British Museum, where the paper containing the fatal curse (the ‘runes’ of the book’s original title) are handed over. The books have since been moved to the purpose built British Library, but the famous British Museum Reading Room itself has been restored as an exhibition space.

Karswell’s mansion, ‘Lufford Hall’, supposedly in ‘Warwickshire’, is Brocket Hall just west of Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire. The mansion, which provided 'Buckingham Palace' interiors for Stephen Frears' impish 2006 drama The Queen, was also seen in the 1991 remake of Ira Levin's A Kiss Before Dying, with Matt Dillon and Sean Young, and TV movie Murder With Mirrors, was home to the disgraced Lord Brocket, jailed for an insurance fraud. The estate grounds were also used for Highlander and Ron Howard's 1988 fantasy adventure Willow.

It’s now a conference, dining and golf centre. You can see it from the public footpath running east from Marford Road, almost opposite the Crooked Chimney public house.

The demon finally materialises on the railway line at Bricket Wood, between St Albans and Watford, Hertfordshire.