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August 20, 2012

The Mike's Top 50 Horror Movies Countdown: #18 - The Devil Rides Out

Previously on the Countdown: Number 50 - Happy Birthday to Me  Number 49 - Prince of Darkness  Number 48 - House on Haunted Hill  Number 47 - The Monster Squad  Number 46 - Hellraiser  Number 45 - The Fog  Number 44 - Creature From the Black Lagoon  Number 43 - Zombie  Number 42 - Tales from the Crypt  Number 41 - Bubba Ho-Tep  Number 40 - Phantom of the Paradise  Number 39 - Dog Soldiers Number 38 - Pontypool  Number 37 - Dark Water  Number 36 - Army of Darkness Number 35 - The Legend of Hell House  Number 34 - Poltergeist  Number 33 - The Abominable Dr. Phibes  Number 32 - The Phantom of the Opera  Number 31 - The House of the Devil   Number 30 - Evil Dead II  Number 29 - Dead of Night  Number 28 - Carnival of Souls  Number 27 - Nosferatu  Number 26 - Candyman  Number 25 - The Texas Chain Saw Massacre  Number 24 - Horror of Dracula  Number 23 - The Wicker Man  Number 22 - Suspiria  Number 21 - The Omen  Number 20 - Spider Baby or, The Maddest Story Ever Told  Number 19 - Rosemary's Baby
The Devil Rides Out
(1968, Dir. by Terence Fisher.)
Why It's Here:
The Devil Rides Out (given this less grandeur title The Devil's Bride in the USA) is unknown by many and considered second tier in the Hammer Films filmography by others. The cult-based plot handles demonic rituals in a grand manner, and Christopher Lee - who is of course known for playing on evil's team - knocks it out of the park as the righteous and upstanding occult expert who aims to stop these servants of Satan.  It is definitely a curio from another time - Lee has talked about wishing he could remake the film with modern special effects - but it still works if you can suspend disbelief and just enjoy the Satanic melodrama.

The Moment That Changes Everything:
There are plenty of high spots throughout Terence Fisher's film, and the script (by none less than the great Richard Matheson) seems to relish any opportunity to crank up the music and get all operatic.  The tension probably hits its highest peak when Lee and his acquaintances hold a seance that leads to lots of wind, a back-to-back staredown with evil and a whole heaping load of awesome.

It Makes a Great Double Feature With:
Jacques Tourneur's Night of the Demon is probably the most loved cousin to this film, and it's a pretty wonderful choice to double feature with this one. A recent find that I would also place alongside The Devil Rides Out is the also (co-)written by Matheson occult thriller Burn, Witch, Burn.  Like Devil, this one pitches its ideas as fact and never takes the foot off the gas.  For good old fashioned occult horror, you can't do better than these three films.

What It Means to Me:
From Midnight, With Love was just over a year old at the time, but in my mind, the day that I named The Devil Rides Out as the first Midnight Movie of the Week was the day this little blog of mine became a passion project.  The Devil Rides Out is exactly the kind of genre movie I want to find as a lover of film, and it's exactly the kind of movie I hope to inspire you to find by writing this useless drivel in my free time.  In a way, The Devil Rides Out is why I do what I do for the genre films that I love.

1 comment:

The Movie Waffler said...

Here's the link to our latest blogathon if you fancy taking part