Casting the Runes is a short story by English writer M.R. James. First published in 1911 as the fourth entry in More Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, James’ second collection pf supernatural tales, it is considered a classic of horror fiction and has been adapted for film, TV and radio.
Mr. Edward Dunning is a researcher for the British Museum. At the beginning of the story he has recently reviewed The Truth of Alchemy by a Mr. Karswell, an alchemist and occultist who lives in an isolated house in Warwickshire. Afterwards he begins seeing the name John Harrington displayed wherever he goes. He learns that Harrington also reviewed Karswell’s work and died in a freak accident not long after.
Harrington’s brother helps Dunning to discover that Karswell cursed both men by slipping them a piece of paper with some runes on it. They deduce that Karswell’s curse, once given, leaves the recipient with only three months left to life. They track down Karswell and manage to return the curse to him. Three months later, Karswell is killed by a stone that fell from a scaffolding around St. Wulfram’s Church in Abbeville…
The 1957 film Night of the Demon (directed by Jacques Tourneur) is an adaption of this story. In this version, the central character is called Dr John Holden (played by Dana Andrews). Holden is an American psychologist who plans to expose occultist Julian Karswell (Niall MacGinnis) as a charlatan, only to discover Karswell’s powers are real and that he has put a curse on Holden.
In 2013, it was reported that Joe Dante (Gremlins; The Howling) was working on another movie adaptation, to star Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead), however this came to naught.
The story has been adapted twice for television in the UK. The first was in 1968 as an episode of the anthology series Mystery and Imagination (Season 3, episode 1, 1968) with John Fraser as Dunning and Robert Eddison as Karswell. No complete copies of the 1968 version are known to exist.
In 1979, the story was adapted again as an episode of ITV Playhouse (Season 11, episode 9). In this, the central protagonist is a woman, Prudence Dunning (played by Jan Francis), the producer of an investigative television programme which is critical of an occultist named Karswell (played by Iain Cuthbertson), and soon finds that Karswell has a curse put upon her. It was released on DVD by Acorn Media.
Casting The Runes has also been adapted several times for radio. The first was in 1947 by CBS for their radio series Escape. CBS produced a second version in 1974 for their CBS Radio Mystery Theater show. In 1981, BBC Radio 4 produced a loose adaptation called “The Hex”.
Much like Aerosmith, our latest installment of “From Streams to Screams” is living on the edge (sorry, I couldn’t resist). Terrible jokes aside, psychologically driven horror movies are a great way to push my buttons as a viewer, and I love immersing myself in all kinds of mind-bending genre stories that feature characters either being driven to the brink of insanity, or those who have embraced their darker impulses and choose to revel in their madness.
So, with that in mind, here’s a look at 25 horror movies available on various streaming platforms that are the perfect way to get you ready for Halloween, and also deliver up some unexpected twists and turns along the way.
Frailty (Available on Amazon Prime & Shudder)
Years after terrorizing a small Texas community, the God’s Hand Killer has returned – leaving in his wake a perplexing trail of fear and death. Convinced that he knows the killer’s identity, Fenton Meiks shows up at FBI Headquarters, intent on putting an end to the murderous rampage and relieving his conscience of his family’s sinister secrets.
In the Mouth of Madness (Available on Vudu)
Imagine a novel so overwhelmingly hypnotic, so tremendously horrifying that it paralyzes its audience with fear and turns even its most sensible readers insane. When the author disappears, an insurance investigator hired to find the writer discovers far more than he could ever imagine in this spellbinding thriller.
American Psycho (Available on Hulu & Shudder)
Wealthy 80s businessman Patrick Bateman spends his nights serial killing.
Carrie (1976) (Available on Amazon Prime)
Carrie, based on the novel by Stephen King, takes on new life as a teenage horror story unveils the existence of a tortured and anguished high school outcast. Carrie, a telekinetic teenager, unleashes her wrath after years of torment from an overbearing mother and constant cruelty from her classmates.
The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (Available on Tubi TV)
A wealthy English lord is suffering a mental breakdown following the death of his red headed wife, Evelyn, whom he feared was cheating on him. He tours local bars and dives, scouring for lovely red heads willing to come back to his decaying castle in the country, where he seduces them, then tortures and kills them.
Excision (Available on Shudder)
A weird girl who dreams of becoming a surgeon is pushed to the breaking point.
Jacob’s Ladder (Available on Hulu & Amazon Prime)
Director Adrian Lyne (FATAL ATTRACTION) takes you on an intense, horrifying journey with a shocking ending that will haunt you forever. Tim Robbins is Jacob Singer, a man who lives in a nightmare.
Grand Piano (Available on Shudder)
A pianist is menaced by a sniper who threatens to shoot him if he plays a wrong note.
The Fall of the House of Usher (Available on Amazon Prime)
Edgar Allen Poe’s classic tale of murder, madness and necrophilia in the ancient ancestral home of the tragic Usher family. Vincent Price is the last male in the ill-fated line of Ushers, haunted by the crimes of his ancestors and obsessed by the idea that only the complete annihilation of himself and his sister can end the Usher evil.
Berberian Sound Studio (Available on Hulu)
A newly hired sound engineer’s work for a horror movie studio becomes a terrifying case of life imitating art.
Manhunter (Available on Shudder)
Hannibal Lecter made his first film appearance in this 80s adaptation of Red Dragon.
Emelie (Available on Netflix)
A suburban couple hires a new sitter to watch their three kids for the night, unaware that the young woman isn’t who she claims to be.
Fade to Black (Available on Amazon Prime)
A young social misfit attempts to escape his unsatisfying life by obsessive movie-going, becoming increasingly alienated from the real world. Ultimately, after being rejected by a Marilyn Monroe look-alike, he snaps and transforms into a psychotic killer costumed as classic screen characters.
Mom and Dad (Available on Hulu)
A teenage girl and her little brother try to survive a wild 24 hours during which a mass hysteria of unknown origins causes parents to turn violently on their own children.
The Shining (Available on Netflix)
Jack Torrance descends into madness, terrorizing his wife and young son, after living at a deserted and eerie hotel during its off-season.
Flatliners (1990) (Available on Amazon Prime)
Kiefer Sutherland and Julia Roberts lead a talented group of medical students on a dangerous journey to the other side of death… and back.
Road Games (Available on Hulu)
Nothing is what it seems in this terrifying thriller when a serial killer plays a game of cat and mouse with an unwitting hitchhiker who gets in the wrong car in France.
In Dreams (Available on Amazon Prime)
Claire Cooper’s (Annette Bening) peaceful family life takes a chilling turn when a mysterious serial killer (Robert Downey Jr.) invades her seemingly idyllic New England town… and haunts her dreams with dark clues to his next deadly moves.
The Eyes of My Mother (Available on Netflix)
At the remote farmhouse where she once witnessed a traumatic childhood event, a young woman develops a grisly fascination with violence.
Wake in Fright (Available on Shudder)
A man on vacation stops off in a rural town filled with strange characters and become unable to leave.
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (Available on Amazon Prime)
One of the most harrowing American horror films of the 20th century, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer celebrates its 30th anniversary with an immaculate new 4K presentation that cements this shocking and thought-provoking plunge into the mind of a murderer as a true cinema landmark.
Mayhem (Available on Shudder)
Derek Cho (Steven Yeun, “The Walking Dead”) is having a really bad day. After being unjustly fired from his job, he discovers that the law firm’s building is under quarantine for a mysterious and dangerous virus. Chaos erupts throughout the office as the victims of the disease begin acting out their wildest impulses. Joining forces with a former client (Samara Weaving, “Ash vs Evil Dead”) who has a grudge of her own, Derek savagely fights tooth and nail to get to the executives on the top floor and settle the score once and for all.
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1991) (Available on Amazon Prime)
Long-forgotten child star Baby Jane Hudson mostly neglects her wheelchair-bound sister Blanche’s needs while selfishly spending her money on an alarming amount of liquor. Blanche achieved great success as an actress, and when her popularity resurges thanks to the omnipresence of television, Jane berates and abuses her, forcing Blanche to exert every effort to save herself despite her paralysis.
The Wicker Man (Available on Shudder)
A police sergeant travels to a remote Scottish island and its pagan community, in search of a missing girl.
Scream and Scream Again (Available on Amazon Prime)
A deranged scientist, seeking to create a race of super humans by means of organic transplant, commits a series of brutal murders in order to utilize the bodies. Screen and horror legends Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing star!
Looking for more ways to get into the spooky spirit of the season? Check here to read all of our 2018 special features celebrating the Halloween season!
The post From Streams to Screams: 25 Streaming Horror Movies Featuring Characters on the Edge appeared first on Daily Dead.
You can listen to the haunting “Open Again” below!
Director Luca Guadagnino teased Yorke’s soundtrack in a chat with Deadline recently…
“Thom, myself and my editor Walter Fasano spoke at length about a score that sounded in line with the sound of the times, 1970s Europe. Thom really enjoyed working with electronic music and contemporary classical sounds, two different musical worlds. All the songs from Thom are originals for the movie.”
Sometimes, it doesn’t take much to make a good piece of art. With just one steady shot, director Justin McConnell brings us a terrifying story, one of a priest who wants to prove that he’s possessed by a demon. And to do so, he just needs a camera and a very specific chair…
With a refreshing minimalism, Eviction manages to tell a perfectly built story that will haunt you through its increasing tension. Here, the found footage style meets The Exorcist and The Conjuring, and it provides this paranormal story with a very credible and realistic style. Since you probably will watch this on a computer screen, the effect will just be at his best…
With one well studied shot, good sounds effects and the awesome performance of actor Robert Nolan, Eviction imposes itself as a terribly effective horror movie and as the perfect proof that you can scare people with nearly nothing. All you need is passion and ideas. Last but not least, Eviction gives us an ending that leaves us with the goosebumps. You are warned.
With an already impressive curriculum in cinema (whether it is as a producer, an editor or a director), Justin McConnell is definitely an artist to keep an eye on, so be sure to check his last feature as a director, Lifechanger.
– Aurélien Zimmermann
World of Death is the web series that fans of independent horror have been waiting for. Featuring short horror films from all over the globe created by the largest variety of talent that a collection has ever been able to boast, WOD provides plenty of blood, guts, screams and laughs for all fans of the macabre. And with episodes averaging around eight minutes in length, WOD is the perfect entertainment for a fan base constantly on the go. Watch it anywhere, at any time, for FREE! New episodes premiere every Wednesday at 10am CST.