The Devil Rides Out: The Classic Hammer Movie

Now that I’ve examined Dennis Wheatley’s 1934 occult thriller The Devil Rides Out, I can get to the main event: the 1968 movie version, which is quintessential October viewing.

The Devil Rides Out is one of the best movies to come from the Hammer House of Horrors. It was not an enormous success on its first release, either in Great Britain or the US, where 20th Century Fox retitled it The Devil’s Bride out of concern that the original sounded like a Western. The movie’s reputation grew despite of—and possibly even because of—its antique and quaint approach to Satanic thrills, which dated the film from almost the moment it came out. The Devil Rides Out arrived before an onslaught of Satanic-themed horror movies hit theaters, such as The Exorcist and The Omen. Compared to them, the Hammer movie seems tame and quaint with its 1929 setting and fully clothed “orgies.” 

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The Devil Rides Out: The Novel by Dennis Wheatley

For me, October is “Hammer Country”—the season of watching Hammer Films’ Gothic horror classics from the 1950s–1970s. Since we finally have a North American Blu-ray release of The Devil Rides Out (1968), that’s the first film from their catalogue I want to examine this October.

But since The Devil Rides Out is based on a best-selling and influential novel, I’ll take a literary horror detour first and look at Dennis Wheatley’s 1934 thriller before moving on to the film.

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The Kickstarter for Turn Over The Moon Is Live—Pre-Order Your Copy!

The Kickstarter campaign for Turn Over the Moon is now live! The campaign will help us raise money toward the costs of producing and releasing the book and advertising and promotion—but it’s also how you can pre-order your copy of the novel for when it’s released in November. By pre-ordering through Kickstarter, you’ll help us launch the book and get it visible to as many readers as possible.

Update 1: We’re funded! We reached the initial $1,000 goal after only seven days. Now we’re heading toward our first stretch goal: help us reach $1,500 and you’ll receive a free novella sequel to the novel.

Update 2: We hit our first stretch goal of $1,500. Now we’re aiming for $2,000. If we reach that, all backers will be listed at the front of the book.)

Update 3: The Kickstarter is over—we raised $2,187! Thanks to all who contributed.

The campaign will run through October. You can contribute as much as you wish—everything helps! Below is a quick rundown on the pledge levels to pre-order the book:

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I Try to Find Nice Things to Say About the Red Sonja Movie

Yesterday I beamed down my digital copy of Red Sonja, the 1985 fantasy flop starring Arnold Schwarzenegger that hastened the death of the sword-and-sorcery boom of the ‘80s. My intention was to find something to like about the movie. Red Sonja has a terrible reputation and I’ve never found myself on any side of the opinion spectrum more positive than, “Yep, this is pretty bad.”

But I try to avoid extreme negativity about art when writing on my website, even just for the laughs. One of my most popular posts is a semi-defense of Exorcist II: The Heretic, and that shows people do enjoy reading a few good words about a despised picture. I couldn’t mount the same defense for Night of the Lepus. And, sorry to report, I can’t do much for Red Sonja either after returning to it more than a decade after my last viewing.

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Black Angel, The Movie (1946)

No author furnished more material for the classic film noir era than Cornell Woolrich. And none of his novels got a better straight noir adaptation than his 1943 classic The Black Angel. Universal’s 1946 movie version, Black Angel, (I don’t know why they lopped “The” from the title) is as quintessentially Woolrich as his adaptations get. Yes, Rear Window is a better movie, but it’s distinctly a “Hitchcock movie,” while Black Angel is 100% a “Woolrich movie” from the era he helped to define. Phantom Lady (1944) established what a Woolrich novel could be on screen; Black Angel (1946) is the full maturation of Woolrich film noir and is on my shortlist for the best of the style from the 1940s.

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