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The Devil Rides Out (1968)

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Devil worshipers plan to convert two new victims.


Terence Fisher


Richard Matheson (screenplay), Dennis Wheatley (novel)



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Complete credited cast:
Christopher Lee ... Duc de Richleau
Charles Gray ... Mocata
Nike Arrighi Nike Arrighi ... Tanith Carlisle (as Niké Arrighi)
Leon Greene ... Rex Van Ryn
Patrick Mower ... Simon Aron
Gwen Ffrangcon Davies ... Countess
Sarah Lawson ... Marie Eaton
Paul Eddington ... Richard Eaton
Rosalyn Landor ... Peggy Eaton
Russell Waters Russell Waters ... Malin


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 | Add Synopsis


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




G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

20 July 1968 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Devil Rides Out See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


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


When Rex arrives at the forest to witness the Black Mass, it is almost totally dark. Later in the evening when he phones de Richleau, however, the view outside de Richleau's window shows it is broad daylight. See more »


Duc de Richleau: [Mocata is about to sacrifice a child] In the name of God, you dare not!
Mocata: Scarcely in the name of God, Monsieur le Duc.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The 2012 UK Blu-ray Disc released by Studio Canal features digitally enhanced special effects. The makers of the Blu-ray claim to complete shots which had never been finished due to budget reasons:
  • Matte shot of Simon's mansion with the Observatory dome has been replaced with a CGI background.
  • During the ritual at the climax of the movie a lightning has been replaced with a new CGI lightning.
  • Spider sequence: Shadow for the spider has been added, some matte shots enhanced, and digital smoke added when the spider is sprayed with holy water.
  • The Angel of Death sequence: A light effect is illuminating the door to cover the poor original optical effect when the angel rides through the door. The close up of the Angel of Death has a new background with flames as the original intended shot was never finished.
  • The matte shots of Charley Grey's death in the fire have been digitally corrected as there were optical errors in the layers of the matte shots.
  • Several other matte shots have been improved by removing matte lines.
See more »


Referenced in Artemis 81 (1981) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Classy and classic Hammer horror foray into the world of The Occult
23 August 2014 | by RomanJamesHoffmanSee all my reviews

Famous since the late fifties for reviving the Horror Monster genre with the likes of 'The Curse of Frankenstein' (1957), 'Dracula' (1958), and 'The Mummy' (1959), Hammer Horror turned to famed writer Dennis Wheatley's 1934 novel 'The Devil Rides Out' for this suave and stylish take on Satanism among the English upper-classes. In doing so, they were able to produce something recognisably Hammer in its execution but noticeably different in its tone and were able to craft not only one of their finest pictures but also one of the first philosophical introductions to authentic occultism in cinema.

Part of the feeling of familiarity comes from the presence of Christopher Lee (in one of his few good-guy roles) as the sombre Duc De Richleau, an occult authority who, along with his sceptical friend Rex, have to pit themselves against the charismatic Satanic cult-leader Mocata (Charles Gray) to save the souls of their friends Simon and his friend Tanith who Mocata wishes to baptise into his infernal organisation. Adding to this familiar feeling is the presence of other Hammer stalwarts composer James Bernard and director Terence Fisher who, in tandem, make sure the film is delicately placed between fast-paced and atmospheric. However, breaking with Hammer tradition the film is set in the English Countryside in the inter-war period rather than some Gothic castle in mid-19th Century Eastern Europe – a detail indebted to Wheatley's novel with all the affected airs of Englishness he was so fond of. The result is a ripping yarn that relies more on character and suspense than scares and builds on some wonderful exchanges between the parties of good and evil into a rightly famous climax when the magickal power of the two leads collide.

All but forgotten these days, back in the 1930s, Dennis Wheatley made a successful career writing his novels of swashbuckling daring-do, the best known of which handled the murky topic of Black Magic. However, far from being an advocate, Wheatley's books were often prefaced with cautionary notes to the reader of the spiritual perils of just even reading about such topics and, putting aside cynical accusations of being a clever marketing gimmick, we can perhaps attribute this to the fact that in writing 'The Devil Rides Out' Wheatley sought the advice of famed English occultist Aleister Crowley for the occult references which abound in the film. Dubbed 'The Wickedest Man in the World' by the press of the day, by the 1930s Crowley was a spent magickal force. However, he undoubtedly could still make an impression as Wheatley not only styled the charismatic Mocata on Crowley but, despite their differing views on the occult, the two became good friends and saw each other socially long after the book was completed.

If the movie has a flaw it is certainly the special effects which look awfully, awfully dated now, even slightly risible…something recognised by Lee in saying that he would love to see the film remade with contemporary effects and with himself reprising his role as De Richleau. It is also interesting to note the special connection Lee seems to have with the film as he both considers the film his personal favourite of his Hammer films and was also instrumental in it being filmed as he, too, had become close friends with Wheatley in 1959 after attending a lecture Wheatley gave in London. Later, in 1964, Lee approached the Hammer execs with the idea of adapting 'The Devil Rides Out' to the screen. Initially enthusiastic, Hammer found production of the movie delayed by the British censor on the grounds of the films earnest treatment of Satanism. Such concerns seem so quaint and, well, English these days as a modern viewer will certainly have been subjected to far more transgressive depictions of Satanism on screen. However, we have to remember that, for the time, the film was testing the limits; something Hammer studios had done since the late 1950s and it's unjust that by the early seventies Hammer Horror would suffer from being saddled with the label of "reserved" and, well, English as arguably the rising tide of horror coming from across the pond ('Night of the Living Dead' and 'Rosemary's Baby' (both also 1968) and 'The Exorcist (1973) to name a few) owed much to Hammer's intrepid spirit of stepping on hallowed ground.

So, while other films may surely shock or scare more, 'The Devil Rides Out' can still manage to hold its own in terms of sheer style and atmosphere alone, but can also boast authentic occult credentials that few others can. Classic.

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