Directed by Terence Fisher
Written by Richard Matheson (screenplay), Dennis Wheatley (novel)
Starring: Christopher Lee, Charles Gray, and Nike Arrighi
The powers of good are pitted against the forces of evil as the Duc de Richelieu wrestles with the charming but deadly Satanist, Mocata, for the soul of his friend. Mocata has the knowledge and the power to summon the forces of darkness and, as the Duc de Richelieu and his friends remain within the protected pentacle, they are subjected to ever-increasing horror until thundering hooves herald the arrival of the Angel of Death.
You can’t go wrong with Hammer. I’ve seen almost old the Hammer films and I still watched this with my mouth open. Beginning with the pentagrams and Baphomets in the opening titles, they want you to know this is straight up evil. Is it ever. Christopher Lee’s character, the serious, Duc de Richleau, is the closest thing I’ve seen to Marvel’s Doctor Strange captured in a horror movie. This dude was an incantation or conjuring away from kicking everyone’s ass.
Filmed with glorious color, locations, and set dressings, The Devil’s Bride is another atmospheric win for Hammer. Filled with hardwood floors, lush European mansions, and candelabra, the Satanic rituals feel strangely correct. If anything feels weird, it’s seeing the ominous Lee as the good guy for a change. This is so good that I found myself wondering if this was going to replace The Horror of Dracula as my favorite Hammer film. Richard Matheson, one of my favorite writers, penned the screenplay, and believe me; that took this a long way.
I love horror films with a Satanic theme. These royal purple robes, iconic props like ancient daggers, demonic sigils, and sacrificial chambers, all blend together to create a genuinely evil film. They did ancient evil right back in the day. Even the Angel of Death shows up. That’s hard to trump. Turner Classic Movies have turned out these horror movies Friday nights in October. I would forget about DVRing the latest Paranormal Activity and look this up.
Yes, this was eventually changed to the title, The Devil Rides Out.