14 October 2011

The Hex

The M.R. James story Casting The Runes has been adapted for radio, television and film quite a few times in the 100 years since its publication. The most well known, the film Night Of The Demon is widely regarded as a horror classic. The Hex a 1981 BBC production, like Night Of The Demon, is a loose adaptation of the original James tale, but remains faithful to it's spirit, not to mention a jolly good listen on a dark autumnal evening...
"Like one that on a lonesome road doth walk in fear and dread, and having once turned round walks on, and turns no more his head; because he knows a frightful fiend doth close behind him tread. 
Professor James Montague has recently published a book on witch trials and now he's suddenly an authority on the occult. Cranks queue up to interview him though the book is a work of social history. One rainy evening, while visiting his old friends Dr. John Rhodes and his wife, Laura, Montague tells them something that has been bothering him. Recently, he gave an interview on radio to what he was told would be an eminent authority in his own field. Instead, it was a five-star crackpot by the name of Dr. S. M. Gardini. 
Montague became so irritated by Gardini that he called him crazy during the broadcast. This infuriated Gardini so much that he threatened to curse him, but oddly enough, a few days after the recording Gardini came around to Montague's to apologise. Before he left, Gardini gave James a book - a book that James would later come to realise masked a strange and inexorable curse: he has been 'hexed'. 
That was a week ago. Since then, James has had trouble sleeping and having nightmares - the type of nightmares he hasn't had since he was a child. Told not to worry too much about it, Montague leaves to go home, though it's still pouring rain outside. But while walking home, James senses someone or something following him... 

Night Of The Demon aka Curse Of The Demon (US)
1957 d. Jacques Tourneur

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