(vt The Devil's Bride US) UK movie (1968). Hammer/Warner-Pathé/20th Century-Fox. Pr Anthony Nelson-Keys. Dir Terence Fisher. Spfx Michael Stainer-Hutchins. Screenplay Richard Matheson. Based on The Devil Rides Out (1935) by Dennis Wheatley. Starring Niké Arrighi (Tanith), Paul Eddington (Richard), Gwen ffrangcon-Davies (Countess d'Urfe), Charles Gray (Mocata), Leon Greene (Rex Van Ryn), Rosalyn Landor (Peggy), Christopher Lee (Duc de Richleau), Patrick Mower (Simon Aron). 95 mins. Colour.
A significant cult horror movie, widely regarded as the best of the Hammer crop – and as a great improvement on Wheatley's novel. Aron, a young friend of the white occultist the Duc de Richleau, has become involved in a satanist coven run by the occultist Mocata (based by Wheatley on Aleister Crowley). The duc rescues Aron, but Mocata grabs him back using a Spirit emissary and prepares to baptize the youth alongside the girl Tanith on Mayday Eve. The duc and his assistant, Van Ryn, arrive in time to drive off the Devil and save the two innocents. Mocata then sends a giant Spider and the Angel of Death, and Tanith is killed. De Richleau retaliates using an incantation that can reverse Time: the members of Mocata's coven are devoured by flames as time runs back far enough for Tanith once more to be alive.
This project was Christopher Lee's baby: he had been impressed by the novel and pressed Hammer to film it. The key scenes in the movie are the abduction of Aron and Tanith by Mocata, the Mayday Eve conjuration and banishment of the Devil, and the final confrontation between Good and Evil, represented respectively by our heroes and the Angel of Death, as Mocata sends every form of necromancy he can command against the Good Companions, who are protected merely by a pentacle.
Some years later, Hammer followed up with To the Devil a Daughter (1976). [JG]