Wednesday, November 17, 2010
THE DEVIL RIDES OUT
THE DEVIL RIDES OUT (THE DEVI'S BRIDE) (1968)
Directed by Terence Fisher
Christopher Lee - Duc de Richleau
Charles Gray - Mocata
Leon Greene - Rex Van Ryn
Duc de Richleau and Rex find out that their friend's son Simon has been seduced by Mocata and the dark side of black magic and is about to become a full member of a black coven run be Mocata and rush to his aide. In doing so they also rescue Tanith who was also seduced. Now they have to endure the onslaught of Mocata's wrath and power while protecting those they care about.
I must say this before I go any further with this review. I have always been mesmerized by the horror films from Hammer. They just have a certain style and look that was,and still is different from any other horror movie out there. They also seemed to have the best actors for their movies with the likes of Cushing, Price, Pitt, and Lee just to name a few who truly believed in what they were making. Christopher Lee can be seen doing just that in this movie. Even though his de Richleau gives off an aire of snobbishness and nothing is good enough for him at the beginning of this movie it's just a facade. Within minutes this fades and you can see he actually cares about everything and everyone. Lee gives the de Richleau multiple layers in what could have been a bland character. Part of this has to do with this was Lee's true first time playing a hero instead of a villain and it shows. I will say this though, he does overact at certain times in the movie and his final lines in the movie just seems flat and out of place to me but that has more to do with the way Hammer made their movies. Charles Gray should also be noted for his acting as well as the main villain Mocata who he plays with zeal as well. A true horror movie is only as good as it's main antagonist and Gray does quite well doing this with a quiet menace. This is not to say that the other actors aren't very good in this movie, in fact quite the opposite, it's just that Lee and Gray outshine everyone in this movie.
As for how the movie was shot and looks, it's just how I said previously. Every Hammer film has a distinct look which also gives it it's feel and this holds true here. Fisher knows how to set a scene and use it to his advantage through most of the film. While some scenes feel less full as in the wide view of the Pagan ceremony halfway through the film, other scenes such as the observatory scenes and the defense room scene look nice and tight. The car chase as well was amazingly done and had a early James Bond feel to it which added to the fun of the movie. The lighting in most scenes are also well done as used to full effect with nothing being obscured from view that is important.
The one true drawback of the movie to me though is the special effects. From the giant spider roaming the defense room to the Hell's minion is the observatory which is almost laughable. Ok, I take that back, it is laughable, but it doesn't detract or distract from the movie and adds to its charmt. The one that does take away from the movie is the Grim Reaper when he appears. From the image of the horse he rides on being forwarded then rewound multiple times to the actual unmasking of the Reaper, it felt forced and not well visualized beforehand. I will give them filmmakers kudos for their visualization of Satan though when he is summoned. Now that creature is just creepy looking even by my jaded mind. I applaud the people who made that one up.
After I finished watching the film I must say I came away feeling like I haven't been cheated like I do with most modern horror movies. From the premise to the execution The Devil Rides Out has stood the test of time fairly well with the only true drawbacks being some shoddy special effects and a semi preachy type ending but these hardly matter when the main part of the movie, the story is decent and the actors believe in what they are doing. The movie had a charm that doesn't really exist in horror films today. While not a amazing movie, it's far from being terrible.
Even though it is more implied than shown it is that of some of the pagans being ran over by de Richleau.
Tonight! Something will come for Simon and the girl.
The films production was held up for four years due to British stance on Satanism in movies. Production began in 1967 once the rules loosened.
The title of the movie was changed to "The Devil's Bride" in the U.S. because its original title made it sound much too much like a Western.
Christopher Lee has called The Devil Rides Out his favorite Hammer film.
Richard Matheson adapted the screenplay from Dennis Wheatley's novel.