Passers-by in London were given a frightening surprise as a ghoulish gondola passed through Camden Lock, Regent’s Park Canal and Little Venice manned by mysterious figures draped in black and donning traditional Venetian masks.
The fearsome figures weren’t supernatural at all, but there to celebrate the launch of the new 20th Century Studios film, A Haunting in Venice, which opens in UK cinemas nationwide on Friday.
The film is latest instalment in the series of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot murder-mystery films and stars Kenneth Branagh as the moustachioed detective along with an ensemble cast, including Jamie Dornan, Tina Fey, Kelly Reilly, and Michelle Yeoh, among others.
The follow up to 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express and 2022’s Death on the Nile, A Haunting in Venice sees super sleuth Poirot retired and living in self-imposed exile in Venice.
He reluctantly attends a séance at a decaying, haunted palazzo and when one of the guests is murdered, the detective is thrust into a sinister world of shadows and secrets.
Early rising city workers and cyclists were taken aback as the eerie boats appeared from a thick cloud of fog which had been cast over the waterways.
The scene was created using a replica Venetian gondola and manned by individuals dressed head-to-toe in costumes inspired by the film, featuring bespoke Venetian masks.
One commuter who witnessed the stunt said: “I thought I was still asleep at first, but as the gondolas got closer, it was rather terrifying – it certainly woke me up!”