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The Devil Rides Out (1968)

G | | Horror | 20 July 1968 (UK)
In the countryside of England, the Duc de Richleau a.k.a Nicholas welcomes his old friend Rex Van Ryn that has flown to meet him and Simon Aron, who is the son of an old friend of them that... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Nike Arrighi ...
Tanith Carlisle (as Niké Arrighi)
Leon Greene ...
...
Simon Aron
Gwen Ffrangcon Davies ...
Countess
Sarah Lawson ...
Marie Eaton
...
Richard Eaton
...
Russell Waters ...
Malin
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Storyline

In the countryside of England, the Duc de Richleau a.k.a Nicholas welcomes his old friend Rex Van Ryn that has flown to meet him and Simon Aron, who is the son of an old friend of them that had passed away but charged them the task of watching the youngster. Nicholas and Rex unexpectedly visit Simon that is receiving twelve mysterious friends. Sooner Nicholas, who is proficient in black magic, learns that the guests are member of a satanic cult and Simon and his friend Tanith Carlisle will be baptized by the powerful leader Mocata to serve the devil. The two friends abduct Simon and Tanith expecting to save their souls but Mocata summons the Angel of Death and the Goat of Mendes to help him in a battle between the good and the forces of evil. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The beauty of woman . . . the demon of darkness . . . the unholy union of "The Devil's Bride"

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

20 July 1968 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Devil Rides Out  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Hammer first wanted actor Gert Fröbe in the role of Mocata. See more »

Goofs

When Rex and Tanith are riding in the green convertible sports car, there is a part where Mocata's face appears in the rear-view mirror and "communicates" with Tanith. In close-up, this mirror is shown to be mounted on the lower center of the windshield, but in subsequent shots from different angles, no such rear-view mirror can be seen anywhere on the center windshield. See more »

Quotes

Marie Eaton: [watching Mocata prepare to sacrifice her daughter, Peggy] Those words you said before, say them again.
Duc de Richleau: [helplessly] I cannot!
Marie Eaton: [urgently] You must! My baby is going to die if you don't. You must speak those words again.
Mocata: [carrying on with the ritual] The bride of chaos.
[coven repeats]
Mocata: The rider upon the beast.
[coven repeats]
Mocata: With this knife, do I draw out the blood, which is thy life.
Marie Eaton: [possessed by the spirit of Tanith] Only they who love without desire, shall have power granted them in their darkest...
[...]
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Connections

Featured in Hammer: The Studio That Dripped Blood! (1987) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

"The Goat of Mendes - the Devil himself!"
5 October 2003 | by (Brisbane, Australia) – See all my reviews

Heading the great Hammer Horror Revival was Terence Fisher, the director whose adaptations of the Universal horror classics, The Curse Of Frankenstein (1957), The Horror of Dracula (1958) and The Mummy (1959) sealed the studio's fate as the leading producer of British gothic horror for almost 20 years. Throughout the 60s, while half of Hammer's output were rather silly adventure yarns (The Viking Queen, The Vengeance Of She) and lazy exercises in generic conventions (Curse Of The Mummy's Tomb, The Old Dark House), Fisher created more adult-oriented horror - psychological, almost Freudian horror (The Gorgon, Frankenstein Created Woman), drawing on the sexual conflicts of the repressive English social climate starting to fray at the seams. Fisher's final film, Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell (1973) is British horror at its bleakest - a deeply disturbing and amoral portrait of amorality in the figure of Fisher's greatest creation, Baron Frankenstein as essayed by Hammer icon Peter Cushing. Over twenty years after his death he is still regarded as Britain's greatest ever horror director.

Fisher began work on The Devil Rides Out, the first of three Dennis Wheatley adaptations, in the summer of 1967. From the opening credits, an indecipherable mass of occult symbols appearing out of a red mist punctuated with James Bernard's ominous orchestral score, screenwriter Richard Matheson (I Am Legend author and scriptwriter of Roger Corman's Edgar Allen Poe series) sharpens Crowley's prose to create a frighteningly real world of dark forces at work beneath the genteel surface of the English aristocracy. At a reunion of old friends at a country estate, occult expert the Duc de Richelieu (Christopher Lee) and his well-meaning but impulsive lantern-jawed sidekick Rex (Leon Greene) discover their young comrade Simon (Patrick Mower) has become involved in `astrological society', a thinly-veiled satanic cult lead by the charismatic Mocata (Charles Gray). Richelieu and Rex kidnap Simon to prevent his Devil's baptism, but he escapes. Mocata then uses Richelieu's friends Richard (Yes Minister's Paul Eddington) and his family, and Tanith (Nike Arrighi), a young French beauty also marked for baptism, as bait to lure Richelieu to his destruction.

For a studio defined by its reworkings of Dracula and Frankenstein, Mocata is one of Hammer's most frightening monsters. Veteran Shakespearean actor Gray, best remembered these days as the Bond villain in Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and the narrator in The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), conveys the palpable menace from his cold, unflinching steel-gray eyes and his carefully modulated voice, a master of hypnosis and mind control no doubt based on real-life characters from Wheatley's days in British Intelligence (some say Mocata is smoother version of the `Great Beast', occultist Alistair Crowley, whom Wheatley was acquainted with). Matheson's script changes the Mocata character from a swarthy European figure of Word War 2-era intrigue into an English `gentleman', more forcefully underpinning the tension between England's exterior pastoral elegance and class respectability, and its repressed bacchanalian urges. Wheatley, a British author best known for his black magic tales and costume adventure stories, was an avid collector of occult esoterica and was reportedly delighted with the film, as Matheson's script had expanded on his own research his Black Magic rituals with an eye for detail, drawing on Crowley's writings as well as Sumerian and Egyptian legends, occult and pagan texts.

Of course the film's focus is on the imposing figure of the six foot four Christopher Lee, by 1967 a genre superstar having played Dracula, the Frankenstein monster, the Mummy, Rasputin, even Sherlock Holmes. Lee had in fact pressed Hammer to purchase the rights for Wheatley's novel, and was delighted to play a character on the side of `good' after a decade typecast as Dracula.

Hammer films are characterized by relatively low budgets, compensated by taut direction and expert characterization, and a winning combination of tight studio sets and English country exteriors. The Devil Rides Out utilizes its stagebound scenario to chilling effect: Simon's cold gray observatory turns malevolent purely by adding scratching noises from a cupboard. The budget only lets the film down in its two major setpieces; both the final sacrificial ceremony at Mocata's mansion and the Grand Sabbat, supposedly a grand ritual orgy for Simon and Tanith's intended baptism, veer toward poorly-staged pantomime. When Mocata invokes Satan (`The Goat of Mendes - the Devil himself!') at the Sabbat, the sight of a rather wretched figure with pin-on horns and raccoon eyes tends to blunt the scene's horrific implications. Indeed the film's scariest scene is set in an empty room; Richelieu, Rex and the family take refuge inside a chalk circle and are confronted by a series of apparitions conjured by Mocata. Again the scene is only marred by the final ghastly figure: a horsebound Angel of Death, whose mask drops to reveal a cheap-looking grinning plastic skull.

The Devil Rides Out was an artistic triumph but not a commercial success. Perhaps it was the unfamiliar tone of the film, or the fact Christopher Lee had his fangs filed down; two further Duc de Richelieu adventures starring Lee, Strange Conflict and Gateway To Hell were abandoned. Hammer's next venture after The Devil Rides Out, The Lost Continent (an ambitious reworking of Wheatley's Jules Verne style adventure novel Uncharted Seas) went wildly overbudget and Wheatley was not impressed, citing a number of plot changes by director Michael Carreras. The third Wheatley adaptation, a grotesque updating of To The Devil A Daughter with Richard Widmark and an embarrassed Christopher Lee, was Hammer's horror swansong in 1976, and the company sank soon after. Maybe it was the curse of Dennis Wheatley after all

  • still, for us horror iconoclasts, we still have The Devil Rides Out, a


film that remains after 35 years one the finest examples of the gone but never to be forgotten house of Hammer.


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