Saturday, July 26, 2014
The Devil Rides Out (1968)
Directed by: Terence Fisher
Written by: Richard Matheson, based on the novel "The Devil Rides Out" by Dennis Wheatley.
Starring: Christopher Lee, Charles Gray, Nike Arrighi.
Hammers 1968 occult/satanism themed horror The Devil Rides Out (aka The Devils Bride) is by far one of Hammers best films and even Christopher Lee has often cited it as his favorite film hes starred in. Britain for whatever reason has made a lot of great occult themed films, especially in the 60`s and "The Devil Rides Out" is by far my second favorite after 1957`s "Curse of the Demon". The film though is fantastic, beautifully shot and oozes with English Gothic themes that Fisher was always so good at conveying.
The film is about the character Duke de Richleau (Lee) who has come to investigate the sudden strange reclusive behavior of the son of one of his friends, Simon Aron. Not long after Richleau has arrived at Simons residence he sudden realizes the situation that Simon has involved himself in a very serious satanic cult led by the sinister leader Mocata. From there Richleau and his accomplice Rex Van Ryn are forced to venture through the deepest and darkest secrets and rituals of the occult to free Simon from its influence and hopefully bring an end to Mocatas cult in the process.
As i`ve stated before the film is based on a novel by the same name by Dennis Wheatley. Wheatley was one of Lee`s favorite writers and had been pushing producers in Hammer to make a film based on one of his novels. For the longest time they were a little weary of attempting it due to the fact that most of his novels especially the ones Lee wanted to see get made into films, dealt with the occult and satanism. Though by 1968 that wasn't so much of a taboo subject that the censors were going to get too upset about, by the time this was made Hammer had already an occult based film with Joan Fontaine called "The Witches". Then in 1962 you had "Burn, Witch, Burn" and then just before this was released Polanski's "Rosemary`s Baby" had been released. So obviously by now satanism and occult themed films weren't as difficult of themes to get made as they used to be.
Christopher Lee is the star of the show for me, this is not only one of his best performances, but probably one of his most unique. For one he`s a good guy, not the lead satanist which I feel a lot of people would just naturally assume. Charles Gray also does a very notable performance as the Mocata the lead satanist. When ever he has a scene with other charterers you definitely get the feeling that there is something very off about this man.
Overall "The Devil Rides Out" is a great film and I can defiantly see why Lee considers it his favorite film he`s done. Its very well directed by Terence Fisher and Christopher Lee`s performance is one of his best. It has a fantastic 1920`s period setting and the scenes involving satanic rituals are creepy and NOT cheesy. So if you haven't already seen this film, i`d highly recommend it.