SPOILER ALERT! THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS! SPOILER ALERT!
Set in the 1930s in the South of England, Duc de Richleau and Rex investigate the goings on of a friend, Simon, who has become involved with the Occult. The Occult headed by Mocata plan to baptise Simon and Tanith, another young member, in the name of the devil. The Duc and Rex manage to rescue the two young members, but Mocata is determined to get them back, so now The Duc and Rex along with the help of a few others must help Simon and Tanith from falling into the clutches of Mocata once again.
The Devil Rides Out is a 1968 Hammer production. It stars Christopher Lee, Charles Gray, Nike Arrighi and Patrick Mower. It was directed by Terence Fisher. The film is based on the 1934 novel, The Devil Rides Out, by Dennis Wheatley. The film was first proposed in 1963 but due to censorship on the subject of Satanism it took 4 years for the censorship to ease allowing the film to go into production in 1967. In the US the film was released as The Devil's Bride.
Right, where to begin? Well for starters, we've got Charles Gray as the baddie Mocata, you may remember him more famously for one of the several portrayals of Blofeld in the James Bond films, or as the guy giving you the step by step low down on just how to actually do the time warp. “It's a jump to the left.”
As the Duc de Richleau, we've got Hammer legend Christopher Lee, who is rather brilliant. Apparently on many an occasion, Christopher Lee has stated that of all his films this is his favourite, and is the one he would most like to see remade with new special effects and that he would like to reprise the role of a mature Duc de Richleau.
Then there's our victim; Simon. Patrick Mower in another role where he is caught up in other people's evil doings. If it's not being under the spell of a vampire (Bloodsuckers), then it's meddling with black magic and the Occult. He just doesn't learn.
Leon Greene's Rex van Ryn is brilliant. There's a scene where he's in a car chase, Mocata frosts up his car windscreen and unlike any normal person who would at least have a second of panic or rationally stop the car or try to look around the windscreen, his initial reaction, his split second decision as soon as the windscreen frosts up is PUNCH IT! And amazingly he is the only person who can punch their entire fist right the way through a glass windscreen and not cut their hand.
During the ritual where Mocata is about to baptise Simon and Tanith, just before The Duc and Rex rescue them, we see the devil himself in the form of the Goat of Mendes. Now what this film taught me is that you can make the devil explode by throwing a cross at him as (my favourite character) Rex shows us.
So remember kids. If you're confronted by the devil in Goat of Mendes form. Throw a cross at him, he'll explode.
There is a great scene in the last half hour of the film where The Duc and three other people are in a room and standing within a chalk circle, the circle being the only protection they have against the black magic attacks Mocata is sending their way. They have to fight off a night full of black magic attacks, well when I say “night full of black magic attacks” you'd expect a lot. Well there's two big ones and a couple of minor ones if you count them as attacks; the candle lights were dimmed and the fresh water was made to taste bad. Them aside we're left with the two decent attacks, firstly there's a giant tarantula. Sorry I'll rephrase, GIANT TARANTULLA! Then after the GIANT TARANTULLA! is defeated by throwing a jug of water on it, the next attack is from the Angel of Death, who rides into the room on horseback and whips his helmet off to show us his bare skull. He is then defeated by The Duc who chants some form of incantation to vanquish him.
Overall, I rather liked The Devil Rides Out. The cast was great, the story was good. Terence Fisher's directing was (as always) spot on. It's one of those Hammer Horrors that is up there with the greats, it's not brilliant but it's definitely worth a watch and I would recommend it any day, unless of course you really don't like the devil...or goats.
The Devil Rides Out 4/5