Sunday, March 6, 2016

Podcast: The Devil Rides Out (1968)

Direct download.

Your Stupid Minds finally makes its Hammer podcast debut with a film that strays a bit from the usual Hammer formula. We don't see a traditional horror monster, and Christopher Lee is cast as the hero. A creepy, occult-obsessed Dracula-looking hero, but a hero nonetheless. It's 1968's The Devil Rides Out!

When Nicholas, Duc de Richleau, (Lee) and his friend Rex Van Ryn (Leon Greene) visit their friend's son Simon (Patrick Mower, looking a lot like Topher Grace), Nicholas recognizes a five pointed, goat-faced floor installation and suspicious rooster to be signs that their young friend has fallen in with Satanists, even as Rex flirts with Tanith (Nike Arrighi), a young ingenue.

When Nicholas and Rex disrupt a Satanist gathering led by the evil Mocata (Charles Gray), rescuing Simon and kidnapping Tanith, it escalates the conflict into a full-on Satanist vs. good Christian battle of wills. More people are involved, seances are conducted, and crucifixes are thrown at puppets. It's all great fun!

Some Notes:
  • The film is set in the 1930s, but the occult themes would have been relatively fresh in the minds of 1960s housewives due to a 1960s revival of interest in the occult, perpetrated in part by British rock bands talking about Aleister Crowley in their music and buying his old house.
  • Princess Nike Arrighi retired from acting after she married Prince Paolo Borghese, of the Borghese family that you might remember from a season of The Bachelor, if you were a fan of The Bachelor ten years ago. Nike is now a full-time visual artist.
  • British gentry hospitality demands that if a Satanist calls on you, you must spend at least fifteen minutes chatting with him before politely asking him to leave.
  • "Tanith" literally means "serpent lady," and originates from Tanit, a Carthaginian goddess of war. Duke Nicholas, being the protagonist of the movie, knows this off the top of his head.
  • Nicholas throws crucifixes like Batman throws Batarangs.

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