Blu-ray Review: The Devil Rides Out
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The Devil Rides Out
Director: Terence Fisher
Screenwriter: Richard Matheson
Cast: Christopher Lee, Charles Gray, Nike Arrighi, Leon Greene, Patrick Mower, Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies, Sarah Lawson
Distributor: Scream Factory
Rated G | 95 Minutes
Release Date: October 29, 2019

Based on the 1934 novel of the same name by Dennis Wheatley, 1968’s The Devil Rides Out (also known as The Devil’s Bride) is one of Hammer’s most accomplished productions. Directed by Terence Fisher and written by the legendary Richard Matheson, the (oc)cult classic is now available on Blu-ray for the first time ever thanks to Scream Factory, with a new 2K scan of the 20th Century Fox interpositive and tons of special features.

Set in 1929, the film stars Christopher Lee (Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, The Lord of the Rings) as Nicholas, Duc de Richleau, an aristocrat, adventurer, and occultist. Nicholas and his friend Rex Van Ryn (Leon Greene of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) visit their friend Simon Aron (Patrick Mower) whose house is replete with strange markings and symbols. They deduce, correctly, that the young man is wrapped up in some sort of macabre mysticism.

The Duc de Richleau is Dr. Strange, James Bond, and Indiana Jones all rolled up into one charming, sophisticated package. Interrupting a ceremony on the Salisbury Plain, Nicholas and Rex rescue Simon and another initiate, Tanith (Nike Arrighi), from a satanic cult led by Mocata, played by Charles Gray – best known as Blofeld in Diamonds Are Forever and The Criminologist in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. There’s just one problem: Mocata has summoned forth the “Goat of Mendes,” aka Baphomet. Now, the Duc de Richleau and his friends must defend themselves against the dark arts and the devil himself if they wish to save their souls.

Fisher, who directed many great Hammer films including The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Horror of Dracula (1958), and The Mummy (1959), delivers a Technicolor terror with a steady, slow-burning script by Matheson (author of I Am Legend, A Stir of Echoes, Hell House) that’s elevated by the performances of Lee and Gray. Arthur Grant‘s cinematography, not to mention the art and production design of Bernard Robinson, makes The Devil Rides Out not only a horrific story but handsome as well.

As for the disc, the new 2K scan of the original interpositive looks gorgeous in its original aspect ratio (1.66:1). Colors are vibrant, with rich crimson reds, luscious purples, and brilliant golds. This is another definitive high-definition presentation of a cult classic and certainly the best the film has looked since it played at theaters and drive-ins in the late ’60s.

Regarding special features, there’s a new audio commentary with author and film historian Steve Haberman, filmmaker Constantine Nasr, and author Richard Christian Matheson, son of Richard Matheson. There’s also two new featurettes: “Satanic Shocks” with author and film historian Kim Newman, and “Folk Horror Goes Haywire” with Jonathan Rigby.

Rounding out the release are some previously released bonus materials, including an audio commentary with Christopher Lee and Sarah Lawson, as well as the featurettes “Black Magic: The Making of The Devil Rides Out,” “Dennis Wheatley At Hammer,” “World of Hammer Episode – Hammer,” and your standard assortment of trailers and still galleries.

Overall, this is another must-own release from Scream Factory, who is doing the Lord’s – or the Devil’s – work by resurrecting and remastering these classic genre films.

The Devil Rides Out is now available at Amazon. For more reviews of Scream Factory releases, click here.


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