THE DEVIL RIDES OUT (1968) review – Halloween Special 2018

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It’s Halloween month, y’all, and you know what that means! It’s time to catch up on our favorite horror movies and gear up for Halloween! Last year, I did a Halloween special where I reviewed some of my favorite horror, or Halloween-appropriate movies and I had so much fun doing that, I wanted to do it again. Sadly, I don’t like a lot of horror movies, so my pool of material is about as deep as a puddle in summer in California. So in order to rectify this, I’ve reached out to the deepest and darkest corners of the internet and asked for a little help. And by that, I mean I went on Facebook. So, a very special thanks to the Movie Talk community, as well as my friends and co-workers, for your horror movie suggestions. I won’t be able to get to every single recommendation, but you’ve all left me with great ideas and there’s always next year! This is my Halloween Special 2018!

Wait, this horror movie about devil worshipers converting people is rated-G?!?! What in blazes- are dogs and cats living together?! Mass hysteria, I tell ya!

Cast: Christoper Lee (HUGO [2011], Star Wars REVENGE [2005] and CLONES [2002]), Charles Gray (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of), Nike Arrighi (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of), Leon Greene (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of), and Patrick Mower (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of).

Director: Terence Fisher (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard)
Writer: Richard Matheson (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard)
Composer: James Bernard (NOSFERATU [1922])
Cinematographer: Arthur Grant (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard)
Editor: Spencer Reeve (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard)

This is my honest opinion of: THE DEVIL RIDES OUT

 

(SUMMARY)

Nicolas Duc de Richleau (Christopher Lee) and Rex Van Ryn (Leon Green) are on their way to visit a friend of theirs, Simon Aron (Patrick Mower), but Nicolas has been acting nervous as they get closer. As it turns out, they discover that Simon is about to be initiated into the Left Hand Path, a cult of devil worshipers led by the sinister and powerful Mocata (Charles Gray). Despite their attempt to save him, Simon returns to the cult, which disappears upon their return, but come into brief contact with the Devil himself before escaping. Now it becomes a race against time to find Simon and prevent him from becoming part of the cult.

(REVIEW)

Okay, before we get started, I’m sure there’s a few uninformed out there wondering why my review title is called “Devil Rides Out” whereas my header picture reads “The Devil’s Bride,” and are ready to call out my flub. This is not a mistake, at least, not entirely. This is a British film and my British cousins call it “Devil Rides Out,” but we Americans decided to change it to “Devil’s Bride.” Fun fact for all y’all today.

Well this certainly wasn’t what I envisioned this movie to be about. That’s not to say I think it’s bad. It’s actually mostly good. However, it’s pretty forgettable.

Positives: the movie does have a pretty great atmosphere to it. For a while, you actually aren’t sure if any of the devil worshiping is real or not. When Nicolas and Rex are talking, one saying that it’s all real and the other is skeptical, you really have no idea who is going to end up being right. Even when the big reveal of the devil comes around early on, it doesn’t slow the tension down any because now we know what the stakes are. It’s not just a bunch of morons doing moron things, it’s really about your soul being on the line and adds this level of dread you feel for the characters and those they’re trying to save.

I gotta give a big ole hat tilt to Gray as the main villain of the movie for being such a great bad guy. Originally, I had it in my head that Lee would have been the villain, mostly because that’s how I know him. Sue me, guys, I’ve grown up on him as Count Dooku and Saruman, he’s just a bad guy character actor to me. While it took a bit to swallow that he was actually the hero of the story, my bitching was put to rest seeing Gray, who was absolutely creepy. It’s those eyes, bro, they’re so wide and piercing. They cut right through you like a bullet and wet tissue. Perfect casting since Mocata’s powers are all based on his gaze and controlling people. While I still think Lee would have been fun in the role, which is clearly just bias on familiarity, Gray does an outstanding job. For that matter, all of the actors are great. Lee is pretty damn convincing as the hero, it’s refreshing to see Rex start off as a skeptic, but accept his situation when it’s point blank in his face. Most characters would still say it’s all mirrors, or illusions, or “I don’t know what I saw,” you know, stupid stuff like that. Thankfully, this movie knows to write smart characters. Eh… mostly, but we’ll get to that.

But now it’s time to get to the negatives.

The very first complaint that I had, which ultimately contributes to some of the boredom that I was experiencing, it seemed a little too easy to defeat the devil. Just hock a cross at him and he explodes in a puff of smoke back to Hell. They do this a couple of times and each new threat that comes along, it just seemed like there was no real threat to them. Toss a cross, you’re all good. Stay in the magic circle, the giant spider and angel of death can’t hurt you despite everyone freaking out. Hey, I’m no fan of spiders even at their smallest (ironically, I’m very okay daddy long legs), but if I knew that all I had to do was sit in a circle of salt, I wouldn’t be so afraid of it anymore.

Remember when I took a light jab at the characters, that they’re “mostly” smart? Well, I’m going to touch upon that real quick. It is almost comically astounding how dumb some characters are. One scene that got me howling with laughter was when Rex picked up Tanith (Nike Arrighi) to relocate her, and unbeknownst to Rex, Mocata is using his powers to control or manipulate her, and when they arrive at their destination, Rex gets out to greet his friends, and then Tanith steals his car. I couldn’t stop laughing at how dumb this was. While Rex may not be aware of Mocata’s powers, Tanith was still in pretty deep with the Left Hand Path. It would seem to me that being in this situation, you wouldn’t blindly trust her to be on her best behavior. Lo and behold, she goes back to the cult. How wonderful. Hell, that whole scene was ridiculous. At one point, Rex punches a hole in his windshield. Yes, the rest of the windshield was broken and he couldn’t see, so he made the hole to see, but there had to be a less funny way to go about this.

Overall, this movie wasn’t bad. You have some pretty great acting, a solid and interesting atmosphere, and a story with some pretty high stakes, which does elevate the movie. However, that doesn’t make it very good. Pardon the pun, but the devil is in the details. Some character decisions are dumb, some scenes are almost hilarious, and about half way through the movie, the movie’s boredom kicks in because every enemy seems easily defeated. Still, as a recommendation… yeah, I don’t hate it and like it more than I don’t, but it’s likely not going to please everyone as a standout horror thriller. Viewer beware. That’s what I’m going to say.

My honest rating for THE DEVIL RIDES OUT: a strong 3/5

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