6.3/10
1,676
48 user 58 critic

Rituals (1977)

Five doctors on a wilderness outing are stalked by disfigured, crazed killers.

Director:

Peter Carter

Writer:

Ian Sutherland (screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Hal Holbrook ... Harry
Lawrence Dane ... Mitzi
Robin Gammell ... Martin
Ken James Ken James ... Abel
Gary Reineke Gary Reineke ... D.J.
Murray Westgate Murray Westgate ... Pilot
Jack Creley ... Jesse
Michael Zenon ... Matthew
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Storyline

Five doctors go on vacation deep in the Canadian wilderness. After all but one pair of the party's shoes disappear, the remaining shoed camper decides to hike out and go look for help. Soon after he leaves, however, his four companions realizes that something is very wrong when someone leaves a decapitated deer head just outside their camp. Even though they still don't have their shoes, they decide to follow their friend's trail out of the woods, but their path is blocked by someone who doesn't want to see them leave the forest alive. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

If you go down in the woods today, you're in for a big surprise. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

August 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Creeper See more »

Filming Locations:

Batchawana Bay, Ontario, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

CAD660,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The films wilderness setting, 'The Cauldron of the Moon' was shot in a stretch of Ontario wilderness that had been burnt out by a forest fire five years earlier. Plenty of the chard trees left from the fire can be seen in the film. See more »

Goofs

Toward the end of the film, when Harry's character is dragging the stretcher over rocky terrain, you can clearly see he is wearing boots. They had their boots stolen, and had to wrap their feet in plastic tarp. See more »

Quotes

Harry: Well, there's worse things in life than powdered milk, I suppose.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Hal Holbrook sits on the road as the sun rises with his back to the camera, which moves away from him as the end credits roll. See more »

Alternate Versions

The U.S. video release on the Embassy Home Entertainment label is cut and runs only 89 minutes despite the 100 minute running time listed on the box. The Canadian release on the Astral Video label is the uncut version with a true running time of 99 minutes. The differences between the Canadian Astral and the U.S. Embassy versions are as follows:
  • When Harry (Hal Holbrook) wakes up and slides outside his tent to be confronted with the severed head of his buddy mounted on a stick, the Embassy version cuts and crops around this to avoid a good look at a very creepy special effect.
  • The "we have to kill him" scene is also much longer and more graphic in the Astral version.
  • The ending is much more protracted and gruesome in the Astral version. The burning scene goes on for a very long time and involves a lot of screaming, and the killer's demise features a couple of extra gunshots.
  • The climax in the Astral version also includes several extra shots of Harry in the cabin attempting to stop the massive bleeding from a severed artery.
  • The Canadian video also has more dialog and extra footage in many different places (too numerous to mention here). The Canadian print is not letterboxed, however it displays considerably more image on the left and right sides of the frame, as well as the top. The U.S. Embassy video appears to be magnified.
  • Also of note is the fact that the French Canadian release under the title, ILS ÉTAIENT CINQ... is actually the same 89 minute print as the cut Embassy version despite the fact that it was released by Astral. Go figure...
See more »

Connections

Featured in Grindhouse Universe (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Is There a Doctor in the House?
24 December 2001 | by BaronBl00dSee all my reviews

Hal Holbrook and four other doctors take their yearly vacation off in the deepest woods for uninterrupted fishing and camping. Once there strange occurrences begin to happen. All their boots are stolen. A deer is slaughtered and strung up with a snake crawling down its leg like a caduces. Someone is out there and someone knows these guys are doctors. Well, differing personalities and breaking points get the better of the men. Doctors begin to die...usually through no fault but their own in the beginning. Later the few survivors are hunted and (some) killed prior to reaching the film's resolution. This film is a little diamond in the rough of bad, pointless horror films of the seventies. It has some truly inspired moments of terror. It also has some truly disturbing moments. The deer scene is one such scene, and another scene is where a head of a previous killed doc is mounted on a pole ala Macbeth to greet the surviving doctors after their sleep. The image is horrifying as is the realization that the lives of the living could have been had at any moment by the hunter. Director Peter Carter is good at keeping the pace of the film moving and tight. The editing is the biggest problem as needless cuts and cutaways seem to be all over the place. They may be cuts made for the video distribution way back on the Embassy label. What really separates this film from a mindless slasher film is the heavy use of characterization throughout the film. We just don't see nameless doctors killed, but they are real people with real problems. Each character can be described in more than just appearance. Holbrook gives a very credible performance as a man who has a strong ethical base. Lawrence Dane does a likewise job as a man with a low breaking point. All the acting was very credible. The ending of the film is somewhat slapdash and some things just dont fit perfectly, but budgetary constraints appear to have been at fault for this little Canadian production. Despite, as an earlier reviewer noted, Siskel and Ebert giving it two thumbs down, I enthusiastically recommend the film as an entertaining suspenseful horror film.


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