The title of this one, which is the same as the novel by Dennis Wheatley, was changed for its American release to THE DEVIL’S BRIDE because the suits were worried that American audiences would mistake it for a Western. A rare example of a good call on the part of the suits, as American audiences probably would have done just that. (And if we are being frank, the latter is possibly a better title for it, more accurately encapsulating the film’s subject.) Directed by Terence Fisher, the Hammer Studios stalwart who gifted the world HORROR OF DRACULA (or just DRACULA in England), THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, and THE MUMMY, all three of which starred Christopher Lee, as well as his masterpiece, THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF, and again featuring Lee in the lead role (in THE DEVIL RIDES OUT, that is), this time, rarely, playing the Face (wrestling term), how could a film with such a pedigree as THE DEVIL RIDES OUT not be successful?
Released in 1968, the same year as ROSEMARY’S BABY, the two films share strong similarities, but while the latter is more understated and better known, THE DEVIL RIDES OUT is more visceral, and may well be the superior film. The plot is simple enough, with Lee’s character seeking to save a young friend from the clutches of a satanic cult, but the execution is tres’ creepy to the max. One of Fischer’s, and Lee’s, best films, this one is ripe for rediscovery.