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Mark of the Devil (1970)

Hexen bis aufs Blut gequält (original title)
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2:59 | Trailer
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.

Directors:

Michael Armstrong, Adrian Hoven (uncredited)

Writers:

Michael Armstrong (original story and screenplay) (as Sergio Casstner), Adrian Hoven (original story and screenplay) (as Percy Parker)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Herbert Lom ... Lord Cumberland
Udo Kier ... Count Christian von Meruh
Olivera Katarina ... Vanessa Benedikt (as Olivera Vuco)
Reggie Nalder ... Albino
Herbert Fux ... Jeff Wilkens - Executioner
Johannes Buzalski ... Advocato
Michael Maien Michael Maien ... Baron Daumer
Gaby Fuchs ... Deidre von Bergenstein
Ingeborg Schöner ... Nobleman's Wife
Adrian Hoven ... Walter - the Nobleman
Günter Clemens Günter Clemens ... Friedrich
Doris von Danwitz Doris von Danwitz ... Elisabeth
Dorothea Carrera Dorothea Carrera ... Young Lover
Marlies Petersen Marlies Petersen
Bob Gerry Bob Gerry
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Storyline

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 Humberto Amador

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Banned In Many Countries See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

West Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

5 April 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mark of the Devil See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(uncut) | (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The U.S. distributors of this film advertised it as "guaranteed to make you sick" and backed it up with thousands of vomit bags advertising the film. See more »

Goofs

At or about 12:47, the shadow of the camera and operator are visible as the camera makes its way through a crowd of villagers. See more »

Quotes

Lord Cumberland: We must never weaken in performing God's work. For those who turn against our Saviour, no punishment is sufficient.
See more »

Alternate Versions

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 »

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User Reviews

 
Gory, Gross... But Was Lacking Something
25 November 2006 | by gavin6942See all my reviews

An allegedly true tale of Austrian witchcraft trials... we follow one accused witch over the course of a few days as she tries to convince her captor she's innocent.

This film is considered shocking and disturbing and is still banned in various countries (including its native Germany). I watched the 96 minute unedited version, and I think the film should be banned no longer. The gore is there. Witches burned alive, one has her tongue ripped out, and another scene that made me physically ill showed a finger in a vise. But overall, I think worse films have been made and are shown worldwide ("Cannibal Ferox", "Saw"... and some might include "Hostel").

There was also some nudity, though surprisingly less than one would expect. Many nude scenes were films at angles so the nudity was never really shown. Sure, you can argue "this was 1970, they didn't have nudity in films back then"... but I saw "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls", so don't blow smoke up my bottom. Show me some bodacious babes and chiseled men! The main actress of this film was surprisingly attractive, a rarity in 1970s films in my opinion.

The plot was fairly decent. The main character, Vanessa Bendikt, falls for Udo Kier, the apprentice of the local witch judge. Kier, a horror legend, is very young in this movie and has yet to acquire the wrinkled "creepy German guy" face I know him for... but those ice eyes are unmistakable. Vanessa is accused of witchcraft after refusing to sleep with the hideous witch hunter, and Udo Kier must choose between his love for this woman and the loyalty to his master.

In love after only a day or two, you say? Ludicrous! Maybe, but if you hear them giggling and listen to the music played in the background, you would agree they are in love... it's like the bicycle scene from "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" where Burt Bacharach is singing "Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head". It's so cliché, but works for a reason I will never understand.

I would not consider this a great movie... not by horror standards or even by movie standards in general. But I would call it a classic, and maybe even a cult film. Heck, Rob Zombie even took a sample from it (the line "the devil is in all of you"), so obviously at least a few of our modern horror masters have been inspired. Maybe you'll get something out of it I didn't.


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