Halloween Horror Fest Rides Out

droThe Devil Rides Out (1968)

Back to the Halloween Horror Fest reviews with this Hammer classic from 1968.  Based on the novel by Dennis Wheatley, Britain’s legendary film studio created a film to be proud of with The Devil Rides Out.

It tells the tale of a group of friends reunited to rescue one of their number from the clutches of a Satanic cult.  Simon (Patrick Mower) and Tanith (Nike Arrighi) are to be initiated into the evil group by their leader, Mocata (Charles Gray).  Old pals Rex (Leon Greene) and the incomparable Christopher Lee, as the Duc de Richleau, attempt to rescue their comrades from the forces of darkness.  There ensues a battle between good and evil, with our heroes very souls at risk.

Quite simply, this film looks superb – old houses, vintage cars and some fairly decent special effects amount to a successful production.  The various references to the occult – visual or spoken – seem creepily authentic, even if it’s all just entertainment.

There’s a rare good guy role for Christopher Lee – finally permitted some dialogue in a Hammer film, he delivers a confident and believable performance.  He’s nearly upstaged by Gray, however, whose portrayal of Mocata exudes a suave, sinister menace.

A fantastic film and one of Hammer’s best, it only falls down on a somewhat bizarre ending and a lack of the trademark Hammer Glamour.  Other than those small issues, The Devil Rides Out is a total success.  Such a shame that the studio never really capitalised on this with more of the same.

8/10

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