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Udo Kier is a witch hunter apprentice to Herbert Lom. He believes strongly in his mentor and the ways of the church but loses faith when he catches Lom strangling Reggie Nalder to death for calling him impotent. Kier begins to see for himself that the witch trials are nothing but a scam of the church to rob people of their land, money, and other personal belongings of value and seduce beautiful big breasted women. Eventually, the townspeople revolt, Herbert Lom escapes but poor Udo is captured by the towns people. This film contains very strong graphic torture including a women's tongue being ripped out of her head,nuns being raped(in the opening credits), and lots of beatings. Written by
Mark of the Devil is a German horror film from the 1970's. It stars Udo Kier and Herbert Lomm, features bucket loads of gore and more grisly torture sequences than you can shake a barb wired stick at. Adding to that is the fact that it tackles the subject of witch hunting and what you have is a film that has the title 'cult classic' written all over it! Michael Armstrong's film isn't the usual kind of witch hunting movie, however, as rather than portraying the witch hunting and torture sequences purely for the sake of horror, the film depicts the debauchery and hypocrisy of the witch hunts that took place around the time that this film is set. The fact that it takes that theme and mixes it with lots of gore makes the film all the better, as a film with just one or the other may have been either boring, or putridly pointless; but this film does both and therefore works on more than one level.
The torture sequences in the movie are some of the bloodiest and most cringe-worthy ever committed to the screen, and even I, a hardened gore fan, had to look away at numerous times. The violence is very realistic, which makes it all the more shocking and potent as it's easy to believe that the people you are watching having their tongues cut out really are having their tongues cut out. Mark of the Devil also features strong western undertones, which is always nice to see in a horror movie if you ask me. The music doesn't really do the movie any favours as it's rather silly and a foreboding score would have served the film better. The score that the film has only serves in undoing the tension in the scenes it features in. Udo Kier and Herbert Lomm have both cemented themselves as icons within the realms of the cult horror film and both do themselves proud in this movie. Of course, the amazingly awful dubbing brings the film down in every respect, so it's probably better if you can get your hands on a subtitled copy; but otherwise this is very much recommended viewing!
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