Monday, October 18, 2010

October Movie Reviews: To the Devil a Daughter

Back to the 70's with one of the last Hammer Films produced till the present day.

To the Devil a Daughter (1976)

This one has an all star cast, which in a horror flick usually means bad news.
Richard Widmark, Christopher Lee, Honor Blackman, Denholm Elliott and introducing a young Nastassja Kinski. Really it should not get much better than this.
I mentioned this one in the past. It was less of the Gothic horror tradition and more into the supernatural horror. It was the time in the 70's, movies like The Exorcist and Rosemary's Baby were big hits.  The Devil had never been more popular.
The story involves an excommunicated priest (Lee) and an occult investigator (Widmark). Lee is secretly a worshiper of Astaroth and hopes to use a young nun (Kinski) as the vessel of his lord.

The script is actually rather well researched and certainly is a better portrayal of what real occult practices were like.  Widmark even repeats something I have repeated myself many times about how most "satanists" out there are really just perverts looking for some kinky sex.  It it the other ones you have to worry about.  Lee is great in this role, as usual. Widmark seems bored and Blackman utterly underused here.  There are some places in the script that left me scratching my head about why one thing or another was done.  But all in all it was a fun, if not all that great, movie.

Of course the movie is rather infamous for it scenes of full-frontal nudity from a then 15 year old Nastassja Kinski.   The DVD version I have has those scenes intact as well as the Satanic orgy often cut from most American versions of the movie.  They are pretty risqué for our time, so imagine what they were like in 76.

What I liked best about this DVD though were the interviews.  Christopher is always great to watch in interviews. He reads part of the original book that this was based on and left me with wanting to hear him read all of it.  

I guess in the end I just wanted this to be more than it was.


Trey said...

"It is not heresy. I will not recant."

This is a great film, much better than The Devil's Bride, they're other Wheatley adaption.

BlUsKrEEm said...

I haven't seen this one, I mkight have to track it down.