Wednesday, October 31, 2012

To the Devil . . . A Daughter

(1976) *** 1/2

Having never seen a Hammer Movie before in my life, upon reading the promise on the DVD cover that this flick delivers "Hammer Style," I'll have to admit I was a little confused.

I grew up completely uninterested in religion, with one parent so disillusioned with organized religion (the other apathetic towards it) so movies that threaten satanism or the occult are purely entertaining/fictional for me, "Yay, another pentagram!" To the Devil spins a tale about a religion focused on finding one young woman chosen to birth the devil. "Yay, matriarchy!" I exclaimed.
At its center is Catherine (Kinski), a sheltered nun-in-training whose father has gone to great lengths to keep her away from Father Michael (Lee), whose superior command of witchcraftery is bound to get the better of them. About 75% of the movie is spent with Father Michael trying to get Catherine to come to their church so they can perform the ritual, 15% is crazy Pagan gimmicks involving snakes or fire, and the final 10% is Richard Widmark (from Kiss of Death) filling us in about poseur Satanists and "real" Satanists.

I thought the movie was promising, the casting is great and hallucination sequences have the intended chilling effect. I would recommend this one for the watching -- if it hasn't already been recommended by Octopunk, JSP, Catfreeek, or Abduscias.


Catfreeek said...

I don't know if you have read but there is a huge controversy that surrounds this film because Kinski was a mere 15 years old at the time and appeared fully nude.

Johnny Sweatpants said...

Christopher Lee is a bad motherfucker in this one but the ending is one of the lamest afterthought endings in any movie ever!

Octopunk said...

You guys hit all my talking points!

Honestly this story structure fits most Hammer horror I've seen: really good atmosphere and buildup but then no real payoff.

Great note on "Hammer style," Crystal.

50PageMcGee said...

i think they accidentally switched the poster for this movie with the poster from To the Devil...Elizabeth Moss