6.2/10
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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:

Rated 'V' for Violence See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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

Electric Wizard, a doom metal band form Dorset, England, used multiple samples from this film for its seminal "Dopethrone" record, released in 2000. The band also dedicated the song "I, The Witchfinder" to the movie, telling the story of an evil witchfinder falsely accusing people of witchcraft. 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

Albino: [to an accused witch] I accuse you of having trampled on the cross, of having ridden to the Sabbath, of throwing the Holy Cross of our Saviour into manure so that the skies grew dark, and the rain fell upon the earth!
See more »

Alternate Versions

The 2003 UK Anchor Bay DVD restored many of the previous BBFC cuts but was still edited by 38 secs to reduce the nudity from the rack torture scene. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Devil's Assaulted (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the more intriguing entries into the short-lived folk horror sub-genre
27 November 2017 | by tomgillespie2002See all my reviews

Michael Reeves' horror classic Witchfinder General made an impressive turnaround at the box-office in spite of its modest budget. Following the witch-hunting exploits of Matthew Hopkins in 17th century England, the movie was disturbing, gruesome, and neatly disguised as a history lesson in an attempt to dodge the censors. The success of Witchfinder naturally led to more witch-trial horror films, most famously being Ken Russell's The Devils, although he denies he was inspired by a film he called "nauseous." It was a big hit in Germany, and their own stab at the folk horror sub-genre came in the form of Michael Armstrong's Mark of the Devil. Using clever marketing (posters warned of a V for Violence certificate and theatres handed out vomit bags to the audience), it was a runaway success, although it has spent the past few decades caught up in the video nasty storm and hacked to pieces in the editing room.

In a small town in early 18th-century Austria, residents are routinely treated to public executions of those accused of dabbling in the dark arts. In charge of finding the witches hiding in their midst and torturing them to confess is Albino (Reggie Nalder), an ugly man who accuses any unfortunate young woman who spurns his advances of performing witchcraft. Albino enjoys and abuses his position of power, until the dashing Count Christian von Meruh (Udo Kier) arrives in town, quickly catching the eye of beautiful, buxom barmaid Vanessa (Olivera Katarina). He is there to announce that famed and highly-respected witch hunger Lord Cumberland (Herbert Lom) will soon be joining him to put an end to the folly carried out by Albino and his cronies. But when Vanessa stands accused of false charges of baring the 'mark of the devil', the Count starts to question his master's methods and motivations, as well as that of the Church.

Mark of the Devil is one of those few horror movies that actually lives up to its reputation. While it certainly isn't the most horrifying film ever made and won't upset your stomach (as the poster claims), it revels in the many scenes of torture and death. Joints are ripped from sockets, digits are squashed, a tongue is removed, and many are burned alive, and almost every torture device imaginable is employed. These scenes initially have the desired effect, but the narrative quickly falls into a repetitive cycle of violence and badly handled love scenes between the Count and Vanessa frolicking on the grass, made all the worse by some atrocious dubbing. It does make a legitimate point however, and points a finger at the hypocrisy of an institution who torture and murder 'by the book' while looking down on the likes of Albino for doing the same for sexual gratification. It would be difficult to admit to 'liking' Mark of the Devil, but it sits as one of the more intriguing entries into the short-lived sub-genre.


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