1hr 35mins
Dir: Jacques Tourneur
Starring: Niall MacGinnis and Peggy Cummins

A reporter finds himself cursed by an occultist with the ability to summon a demon

This classic early horror is much respected today amongst followers of the genre and it has a memorable final sequence in which the occultist, played by Niall MacGinnis, has his curse thrown back at him. He leaps from a train and then gets run down by another as the demon bears down on him. A couple of ex-LMS Class 5MT ‘Black Five’ 4-6-0s were used for these scenes, one of which is No.45324. There are some very good shots of these in the film’s final moments, although a model was clearly used for one distant shot. As explained in a Yesteryear article by John Buckledee, Chairman of the Dunstable and District Local History Society, eye witness accounts maintain that the sequence showing a man running along the track in front of a train was shot at Stanbridgeford station. A friend of Charlie Caines, the engine driver who had a small part in the scene, recalls Charlie talking about the filming, which took place in 1956. Other railway staff confirm that the operational filming took place on the Leighton Buzzard to Dunstable line in the down direction from Leighton Buzzard. Pesumably the line was seeing little use by this stage which would have allowed plenty of opportunity for running a train up and down unimpeded. Prior to this final conclusion there are shots of Watford Junction station, whilst the scene at the end of Dana Andrews and Peggy Cummins on a station platform used Bricket Wood. The station signage at Watford Junction was amended to read ‘Clayham Junction’, whilst that at Stanbridgeford was amended to read ‘Leton Wood’. The film was an adaptation of the 1911 M. R. James story Casting the Runes and to accelerate the pace, the film was trimmed down to 83 minutes and retitled Curse of the Demon in the US. Thanks to Elizabeth Pynn at Historical Dunstable for the valuable insight into filming on the Stanbridgeford line.

Clayham Junction. No. This is Watford Junction before its brutalist modernisation make-over made this scene unrecognisable.
The professor (Niall MacGinnis) leaves the train at Leton Wood, which is in reality Stanbridgeford
Fearing for his life the professor is almost rundown by this approaching train being hauled by a ‘Black Five’
The demonic presence in the background is what he is really scared of, but it is in fact another train, which this time does run him down
Bricket Wood station was used for the final station scenes
Dana Andrews and Peggy Cummins on the platform at Bricket Wood which was in itself a film star, having appeared in no less than twelve feature films in the twenty eight year period 1939-1967