The Devil Rides Out (1973) aka The Devil’s Bride.
My favorite Hammer horror film; period.
There are so many points of interest.
- The script is an adaptation of a Dennis Wheatley adventure/supernatural novel that features the Duc de Richleau, a modern warrior in opposition to the evil occult. Richleau is every bit as fascinating and urgent as Nayland Smith battling Fu Manchu or Professor Van Helsing pursuing Dracula. Christopher Lee is at his very best in this portrayal.
- Richard Matheson adapted the novel into the screenplay. Mr. Matheson authored the novels; I AM LEGEND, THE SHRINKING MAN, HELL HOUSE, and SOMEWHERE IN TIME. He also wrote the terrifying short story “Born of Man and Woman” and many of the best episodes of “The Twilight Zone”.
- The sets are up to the usual Hammer standards for detail and utter lack of clutter and shadows – how do they make that much light come from every direction?
- Niké Arrighi delivers a pathetic (in the best sense of that word) performance as the damsel assailed by satanic forces. It’s quite a change from her portrayal of the free-spirited costume assistant Odile in Truffault’s Day for Night.
- A wonderfully sinister Charles Gray (Blofeld in several James Bond flicks) dominates (sans cat, however).
- The conjuring of “The Goat of Mendes” (Satan himself) in the sabbat, the giant tarantula attacking the little girl, the angel of death attacking the protective circle; all impressive and frightening moments.
- Drop dead cool cars on tiny English country lanes.
- Three-piece suits to die for.
Of course the ending is incoherent…but there’s a nice purging inferno.
And the cars are so very cool…I may have mentioned that.
I love it.