Something for the (Monster) Weekend
I had a great time at the British Museum
yesterday at the first night of the BFI’s Monster Weekend. Night of the Demon was the remastered offering, screened on the
East Lawn by the Museum’s main entrance (the Hammer versions of Dracula and The Mummy follow over the rest of the weekend).
If you haven’t seen it, Night of the Demon is a supernatural
tale of Satanism in the English Shires, based on an M.R. James ghost story,
“The Casting of the Runes”. While bibliophiles may be disappointed that the
story’s original premise, which concerns the dangers of giving someone a bad
book review, is extrapolated into something considerably less subtle, honour is more than satisfied that one of the movie’s central scenes takes place in the old reading
rooms of the British Museum Library. We’re treated not only to shots of the old
interior well before its move to St Pancras, but also a walk-on part for an
amazingly sober and punctilious librarian, and an impatient and shushing
Highlights of the evening included a guest
appearance from one of the film stars, Peggy Cummins, and an photo opportunity
for the entire audience to “Scream Like Peggy” (scroll down to the bottom of
the BFI blog post for evidence of this).
There’s still time to book seats for Dracula tonight, and The Mummy on Saturday. The Monster
Weekend is a prelude to an extended Gothic season starting at the BFI in
October. In the meantime, here are some
more libraries in the movies, from the British Library’s Pinterest page.
– Donald Lickley