Forgotten Films: The Devil’s Bride (aka The Devil Rides Out) (1968)
This is the 89th in my series of Forgotten Obscure or Neglected Films
Another fine Halloween offering from TCM and Hammer Films. This was a film I had always heard about but never got to see so the recent illness offered me a chance to view it.
This time we have Christopher Lee in perhaps his greatest role with Hammer, acting as the hero in this one. Nicholas, the Duc de Richeleau (Lee) meets up with his old Army buddy Rex Van Ryn (Leon Greene). They had a third in their group but he has died recently leaving a son Simon (Patrick Mower) whom he has asked them to watch. They motor over to Simon’s place and find an odd assortment of folks there including Mocata (Charles Gray of Diamonds Are Forever and The Rocky Horror Picture Show) and Tanith (Nike Arrighi), a young woman in the group whom Rex immediately fancies.
Nicholas surmises that the group is a coven of devil worshippers and they have intruded upon them. Simon is to be baptized into the group at a Sabbath to be held that evening so they attempt to take him away. But the powers of Mocata are such that Simon returns to them.
For a while it is touch and go with Nicholas and Rex fighting the will of Mocata and Rex trying to disrupt the intended ceremonies. Simon and Tanith are taken away several times and yet Mocata still gets them back.
Finally it becomes a matter of wills with Nicholas creating a magic circle in the home of his niece Marie (Sarah Lawson). There is excitement as Mocata summons up the Angel of Death himself to attack the rival forces.
This is a very good film, again directed by Terence Fisher (as was last week’s film The Gorgon). A better story this time, based on a novel by Dennis Wheatley, a nearly forgotten writer of supernatural thrillers in his day. Christopher Lee pushed Hammer to make this film. It did not do well at the box office which had apparently been waiting for Rosemary’s Baby which was released the previous week. Consequently two other Hammer/Wheatley/Lee projects were later shelved.
If you have not seen this one, I highly recommend it. It is Christopher Lee at his heroic best. Apparently the film is out of print in Blu Ray, DVD and VHS so it might be pricier than normal. Check around.
Series organizer Todd Mason hosts more Tuesday Forgotten Film reviews at his own blog and posts a complete list of participating blogs.