Friday, October 15, 2010

The Devil's Bride 1968

 Like many horror fans I am lovin' Friday nights on TCM this month.  It's Hammer time!  Last week was a hodgepodge of films including The Reptile and The Gorgon, both of which I had been wanting to see for quite a while.  But the film I want to rant about right now is The Devil's Bride, aka: The Devil Rides Out.  I was jazzed about this film not only because of Christopher Lee, but also because Richard Matheson wrote the screenplay.  I love Matheson.  He is right up there with Romero and Karloff in my top horror loves.  This script was based on the novel by Dennis Wheatley.  I don't know much about this British author except the fact that he was friends with Lee and his novels are very popular (or infamous) in England.  Satanism, Wheatley's speciality, is one of my favorite subjects, right after cannibalism and zombies.  So I will check him out.  But now, on to this hot mess of a movie...

Christopher Lee plays Duc de Richleau, whom we learn nothing about besides the fact that he is rich and knows an awful lot about Satanism.  Him and his buddy Rex (Leon Greene) are unofficial "Godfathers" to Simon (Patrick Mower), a young man with lots of money and time on his hands.  When Simon misses a "reunion" with Richleau and Rex, they seek him out at his mansion.  What they find is a meeting of an "Astronomical Society" that Simon is hosting.  Simon tells his old friends that they must leave, that there is room for only 13 members in this society.  Richleau, his Satanic radar activated, soon discovers that this is no "Astronomical Society" at all.  They are a bunch of freaky Satanists and they are about to indoctrinate Simon into their cult!  Richleau does what any good friend would do: he punches Simon out and kidnaps him! 

Thus begins a ridiculous journey of kidnappings and escapes.  Rex falls in love with Tanith (Nike Arrighi) another recruit.  As Richleau and Rex try to save their friends, the evil Mocata (Charles Gray), the leader of the Satanic group, uses all his evil mojo to pull Tanith and Simon back into the cult.  He even calls in the Devil himself, who looks like this:

I don't know about you, but I want him at my Halloween party!  The Devil's Bride is not without it's charm, and I have to say that it was my favorite Hammer film of the night.  It just looks like it was thrown together without a lot of forethought.  All of the action supposedly takes place over the course of 2 days, and I kept thinking "when do these people sleep?"  And why does Richleau know so much about Satanism?  And "is this what people really do in the English countryside?"  And if Satan can be stopped by repeating a line of verse then he is not that powerful is he? 

Maybe The Devil's Bride shouldn't be your first Hammer film, or your first Christopher Lee film.  But it is worth spending a little time with.  It features a fully clothed orgy, time travel, possession, goat-murder (not so good), and a good old fashioned car chase!  Plus the goat-Devil!  It is what I am going to be for Halloween next year.

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