fri 19/04/2019

DVD: The Devil Rides Out | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: The Devil Rides Out

DVD: The Devil Rides Out

Hammer’s 1960’s Satanic frolic still shocks

The devil himself in 'The Devil Rides Out'

“Hocus-pocus, mumbo-jumbo, black magic.” That about sums up The Devil Rides Out, Hammer’s fantastic adaptation of Denis Wheatley’s devils ‘n’ demons page-turner. If you’d seen it in on its release in July 1968, it would have been billed with Slave Girls, made by Hammer as an opportunity to recycle sets and costumes from One Million Years B.C. There was nothing cut-rate about the deadly serious The Devil Rides Out, a stylish dig into the wild wild world of Satanism.

The Devil Rides Out DVDThe Devil Rides Out was filmed between 7 August and 29 September 1967. It might have been the Summer of Love, but darkness was in the air. The Beatles Sgt. Pepper had been released in June and featured the beastly Aleister Crowley on its cover. Wheatley’s books were bestsellers. Within a year, Mick Jagger would declare his “sympathy for the devil”. As purveyors of exploitation cinema, Hammer’s fingers were on the pulse.

More importantly, The Devil Rides Out has stood the test of time. Partly, this is due to its serious tone. It’s also due to the 1930s setting, when Wheatley's book was published. If set contemporarily, it would now scream kitsch. Most of all though, it's due to the assured performances of its leads. Christopher Lee, imperiously playing the knowledgeable Duc de Richelieu, has said it’s one of his favourite roles. Charles Gray’s evil warlock Mocata oozes menace. As the bewitched Tanith Carlisle, Nike Arrighi is suitably detached. There are shocks, and they still shock.

On DVD, this has been repeatedly round the block. The selling point here is a fantastic restoration of the image and soundtrack. The extras include a talking heads-driven making-of (where it’s revealed the US title The Devil’s Bride came about as the distributor thought the original implied it was a western), a similarly talky one on Wheatley at Hammer, and a look at the restoration. An episode of 1990's World of Hammer is included, but Oliver Reed's narration is inaudible. Hammer’s Rasputin the Mad Monk (Lee’s most wild performance) and the Pharonic yarn The Mummy’s Shroud are concurrently released. But The Devil Rides Out is the draw. Brace yourself for “the Goat of Mendes, the devil himself”.

Visit Kieron Tyler’s blog

Watch the trailer for The Devil Rides Out

There are shocks, and they still shock

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Share this article

Comments

"What are they on?" Well,it WAS 1967 when this film was made.I loved it,and Christopher Lee has long been a favourite actor of mine,though some may say the whole Hammer film genre was extremely cheesy. Good special effects and a great cast make this a classic Hammer movie. Thank you for this review.

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters