This was Hammer Studios last film. It begins promisingly enough with Christopher Lee donning some priestly clothes as he grumbles, “Excommunication… It is not heresy, and I will not recant!” Then we jump a few years to find out Mr. Lee’s intentions aren’t all that pure. He wants to use his goddaughter Catherine Beddows as a receptacle for a demonic rebirth. Catherine is played by a very young Nastassja Kinski, who I might note spends a good portion of the film nude. So we have rituals, Satan worship, nudity & Christopher Lee. Need I say more?
As I am struggling through this review I totally realize that I did not heed JPX’s advice to not read other reviews when you have to write one. So, I have sat wordless for nearly a week now after reading both JSP’s & Octo’s reviews of this film. Their gift for words leaves me dumbfounded at times. I’m also excruciatingly tired this morning and it’s not helping matters at all. So, I’m trying my best but forgive me if my ranting sounds like that of an insane old person. I feel like I am bias on this matter since I automatically give an extra ½ star to anything with Christopher Lee. The man is such a phenomenal presence that he bumps the quality of the film just by being there. I feel the same way about Vincent Price & Roddy McDowell. After reading the aforementioned reviews I tried not to compare this film to American horror films from this era, but once the thought is implanted it’s very hard to dismiss it. So, I am giving the film 3 ½ Gretchen’s simply because Christopher Lee’s performance was superior and also because it is right in the middle of JSP’s 4 Gretchen’s which I think is a bit too much and Octo’s 3 Gretchen’s which is just a little shy. From there I leave you to judge for yourself if you choose to watch it. However, you might want to take JPX’s advice and skip the other 2 reviews first. The man is wise beyond his years.