Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Devil Rides Out

(1968) ***

Touted as one of Hammer's best films, the Devil Rides Out gave Christopher Lee the rare opportunity to battle on the side of good. He plays Duc de Richleau who has been diligently preparing for battle against a typically evil satanic cult led by the sinister Mr. Mocato. Mocato controls his subjects through hypnotism and his sole ambition appears to be spreading evil. The cult dresses in white gowns a la Heavens Gate, engages in silly pagan rituals and throw parties of wanton lust. In their secret meetings, Mocato says things like "Oh mighty and all powerful sect, Father of Darkness, King of Death, I pledge this knife to do thy work and be thy servant. The Bride of Chaos! The Rider upon the Beast!" and so forth.

When Lee and his companions are later under attack, they are forced to ride out the storm in one of those chalk circles of protection (love those things!). This scene is great fun as he has to prevent everyone from being tricked into leaving the circle. The satanic ruses include a giant spider attack and a black knight on a steed. Lee fights back, armed not with the power of Christ but with some strange pagan spells and tactics of his own. The whole thing doesn't amount to much more than a pile of hooey but it's the good kind of hooey.

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