ITV Playhouse: Season 11, Episode 9

Casting the Runes (24 Apr. 1979)

TV Episode  |  Comedy, Drama
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 84 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 2 critic

Like NIGHT OF THE DEMON, this adaptation is based only very loosely based on the original ghost story by M.R. James. However, it does feature eerie scenic views and is directed by Lawrence "Ghost Story For Christmas" Gordon Clark


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Title: Casting the Runes (24 Apr 1979)

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Episode cast overview:
Iain Cuthbertson ...
Jan Francis ...
Bernard Gallagher ...
Joanna Dunham ...
Edward Petherbridge ...
Henry Harrington
Christopher Good ...
John Harrington
Patricia Shakesby ...
Elise Marriott
John Marriott
Jane Lowe ...
Alan Downer ...
Clifford Parrish ...
Christine Buckley ...
Abdul Ali ...
Simon Prebble ...


Like NIGHT OF THE DEMON, this adaptation is based only very loosely based on the original ghost story by M.R. James. However, it does feature eerie scenic views and is directed by Lawrence "Ghost Story For Christmas" Gordon Clark

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horror movie remake | See All (1) »


Comedy | Drama





Release Date:

24 April 1979 (UK)  »

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Version of Mystery and Imagination: Casting the Runes (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

Cheaply made, but still watchable James adaptation
9 September 2008 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

The great Lawrence Gordon Clark returns to his favourite author, this time with a loose reinterpretation of "Casting the Runes" that had previously been filmed by Jacques Tourneur as Night of the Demon(1957). After a journalist writes a scathing review of a book by Julian Karswell, he soon begins to become paranoid and feels he is being followed, within a month he is dead in gruesome circumstances. Fast forward 10 years and a TV company are producing a TV series that outs charlatans, mystics, fortune tellers etc.. their latest episode concerns witchcraft and lampoons the now reclusive Karswell. Prudence Dunning (Jan Francis) is one of the producers of the program and soon she is plagued by strange events in her life, through some investigating she is able to link her plight to Karswell and the death of the journalist a decade previous. Soon she realises she has only a month to live from the time the events began, can she stop Karswell's spell coming true? I won't even try and compare this to the masterpiece of cinema that is Night of the Demon, as they bear only vague resemblances. This production suffers greatly from budgetary deficiencies that make it look like a poorman's episode of 70's Dr Who. The sfx are very very cheap, the film also switches between video tape for indoor scenes back to 16 mm film for out of doors. So does it retain any of James's menace? Well yes it does if you can forego the productions limitations, Clark has always had an eye for creating an atmosphere and he does so here, even if it is to a lesser extent than his "Ghost story at Christmas" series of films. Like Night of the Demon, this production also reveals its supernatural creature early on, why?… who knows? The performances are at times quite stilted and stagey, the silences between dialogue at time becoming excruciating, still though Iain Cuthbertson as Karswell does retain some menace, Jan Francis and Bernard Gallagher also put in decent showings. Not essential, but certainly worth a watch for devotees of either James or Clark.

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