In 1700s Austria, a witch-hunter's apprentice has doubts about the righteousness of witch-hunting when he witnesses the brutality, the injustice, the falsehood, the torture and the arbitrary killing that go with the job.
A satanist cult leader is burnt alive by the local church. He vows to come back and hunt down and enslave every descendant of his congregation by the power of a book of blood contracts, in which they sold their souls to the devil.
In Elizabethan England, a wicked lord massacres nearly all the members of a coven of witches, earning the enmity of their leader, Oona. Oona calls up a magical servant, a "banshee", to ... See full summary »
Young workers are dying because of a mysterious epidemic in a little village in Cornwall. Doctor Thompson is helpless and asks professor James Forbes for help. The professor and his ... See full summary »
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 committing a crime. Kier slowly 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 women.Written by
In the street scene 12 minutes in, a 20th Century traffic sign is visible, which the film makers have tried to hide by covering in a basket and having someone sat in front of it in a large cloak. See more »
We must never weaken in performing God's work. For those who turn against our Saviour, no punishment is sufficient.
See more »
Mark of the Devil was heavily cut for its initial UK cinema release in 1971, but was released uncut by Intervision on video in the early 1980's. This version was withdrawn in 1984, when compulsory video censorship was introduced to the UK, and it was not until 1993 that Redemption released the film on video again. Sadly, despite the film's age, the British Board of Film Classification still felt that around 7 cuts, totaling 4 minutes 27 seconds, were necessary for this release. These cuts entailed the removal of entire scenes, such as the woman who is branded whilst on a rack, a later sequence when the same poor individual gets her tongue ripped out, closeup shots of the Baron being sat on a spiked seat, the pricking of the puppeteer's stomach, and a scene where Cumberland rapes the puppeteer's wife. Most of the cuts were restored for the 2003 Anchor Bay DVD although 38 secs of topless nudity shots were removed from the rack scene. The film was finally passed fully uncut in 2013. See more »
Eighteenth Century Torture Device Got Your Tongue?
I hadn't seen the British/German coproduction "Mark of the Devil" since its initial release in 1970, and could only recall one image from this now infamously violent film: an accused blonde witch having her tongue slowly pulled out. For us kids back then, this was enough to guarantee the picture an enduring rep. Having just watched the film again, almost 40 years later, I am now stunned that we kids were allowed to watch this movie in 1970 at all, featuring as it does not just that legendary tongue yank, but also whippings, burnings, a tar & feathering, thumbscrews, beatings, Chinese water torture, skewers, branding, a spiked chair, beheadings, an eyeball impalement, stretchings on the rack, and several rape sequences, all in fairly realistic detail, and all carried out in the name of the Church in the furtherance of exposing disciples of Satan. (No wonder free barf bags were famously given to all the film's theatre patrons back when!) Today, these exploitative shock elements strike me as being somewhat of a distasteful necessity, as the filmmakers are purportedly endeavoring to expose the cruelties of the age. Taking place in an unnamed locale in what seems to be the early 18th century, "Mark of the Devil" has lots more going for the adult horror fan than just these scenes of gruesome torture. Herbert Lom is quite excellent as Lord Cumberland, the impotent chief witch-hunter (the viewer must gather that if Viagra had been available 300 years ago, many hundreds of women might have been spared!), baby-faced Udo Kier very fine as his apprentice, and Olivera Vuco extremely sensuous as Vanessa, an accused hotty. The picture has been beautifully shot and handsomely produced and, perhaps best of all, features a gorgeous score by Michael Holm that will likely be running through your head for days afterward. This lovely melody is all the more striking, given the ugliness so often shown on screen. A nasty piece of Euro horror, to be sure, and most certainly not for the kiddies, the film is superbly presented here on this great-looking DVD from Blue Underground, loaded with so many extras as to make your tongue hang out....
25 of 27 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this