The Devil Rides Out (1968)

aka The Devil’s Bride

Article 3611 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-19-2011
Posting Date: 7-4-2011
Directed by Terence Fisher
Featuring Christopher Lee, Charles Gray, Nike Arrighi
Country: UK
What it is: Devil worship movie

A reunion between three old friends takes a dark turn when it is discovered that one of them has taken up with a coven of devil worshipers, and the other two must find a way to save his soul before it is too late.

I’m not quite sure if I consider this my favorite of the Hammer horrors (THE NANNY and a few featuring a character named Quatermass are also in the running), but it’s easily in the top five. It’s not that I don’t see its flaws; the script is a little uneven, the special effects aren’t always up to the challenge, and the ending smacks of deus ex machina, for example. It’s just that its strengths really appeal to me. It’s great to see Christopher Lee as the good guy for once, Charles Gray gives one of the best performances as a master of the black arts since Niall Macginnis in CURSE OF THE DEMON, and there’s something about the way the whole movie plays out through its twists and turns that just sucks me into it. Furthermore, this is one of those rare movies where the existence of skeptical side characters really does the job of creating an environment of audience identification; through them, I really get a sense of being drawn into a situation that I can barely comprehend. There’s a strong and effective emphasis on eyes in this one; the piercing stare of Charles Gray and the weird (possibly crossed) eyes of the countess come to mind. At any rate, I find this one really gripping, so much so that that I even accept the deus ex machina ending, which at least plays itself out in a rather offbeat fashion. This is one I always enjoy.

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