The Devil Rides Out aka The Devil’s Bride
Director: Terence Fisher
Writer: Richard Matheson
Based on: Dennis Wheatley‘s novel
Cast: Christopher Lee, Charles Gray, Nike Arrighi, Leon Greene, Patrick Mower
Duc de Richleau (Christopher Lee) is concerned about his god son Simon (Patrick Mower). After the death of Simon’s father, Richleau and his friend Rex (Leon Greene) have become surrogate father figures for Simon but now Simon doesn’t communicate with them anymore. So Richleau asks Rex to come to town and together they pay a surprise visit to Simon. They find out that Richleau was right to worry – it appears that Simon has joined a satanic cult and is about to be lost forever. Thankfully Richleau knows his way around dark magic.
The Devil Rides Out was fun, even though it was not particularly good. There is a certain strange humor and energy about it that does make it quite charming.
The pacing of this movie is at once its greatest strength and weakness. A lot happens in the film, most of which you barely get any time to foreshadow or even process. In fact, you can count yourself lucky if you get the time to see it happen at all – with Rex and Tanith (Nike Arrighi) for example that is often not the case. This gives the movies a certain exhilaration as it whisks you from plot point to plot point.
But it also means that characterization, relationships and information about the rules of supernatural things in this world can’t be developed organically but are rather dumped on you whenever it is necessary for you to know those things for the next stop of the film. Personally I would have gladly sacrificed that exhilaration for a bit more steady development.
But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it. I especially loved Richleau as a character. He is incredibly self-possessed, knows what he wants and kind of just rolls over people all the time, but always with the best of intentions and people don’t really seem to mind when he does, which is an intriguing mix and gave the movie most of its humor.
Towards the end it does get a bit much when there’s yet another turn and another twist and finally time travel even. It does remain fun throughout though, even if the special effects, which were pretty nice for the time I think, won’t scare anybody anymore.