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Film / The Devil Rides Out

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Richleau: Do you believe in evil?
Rex: As an idea.
Richleau: Do you believe in the power of darkness?
Rex: That's a superstition!
Richleau: Now, there you are wrong. The power of darkness is more than just a superstition. It is a living force, which can be tapped at any given moment of the night.

The 1968 Hammer Horror adaptation of the Dennis Wheatley classic, directed by Terence Fisher and starring Christopher Lee. This time he's Playing Against Type as a hero: namely, the Duke of Richleau (or "Duc le Richleau", as the movie calls him). The plot, same as in the novel, centers around Richleau attempting to save a friend from the clutches of an evil Satanist cult, headed by the foreboding Mr. Mocata (Charles Gray). But can Richleau ward off the forces of darkness before it's too late?

Known for being one of the last great Hammer classics — not to mention one of the few times Christopher Lee got to play a good guy for a change — the movie received critical acclaim and was a big hit.

This film features examples of:

  • Above Good and Evil: Mocata has a Motive Rant to this effect.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Gray's Mocata is a lot more handsome than the book's version.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: Downplayed with Marie, going from young and glamorous to pleasantly middle-aged.
  • Age Lift: Peggy, compared to the novel where she is a toddler.
  • Backup From Other World: Tanith's ghost helps the climax.
  • Balancing Death's Books: Tanith dies because the Angel of Death takes her but thanks to the Equivalent Exchange below Mocata is taken the next time the Angel is summoned, allowing Tanith to be saved.
  • Big Bad: Mr. Mocata, the resident Evil Sorcerer.
  • Big Good: Richleau, the resident Hunter of Monsters.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Richleau has a knack for doing this. The angel in the end.
  • Black Magic
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Peggy (blonde), Tanith (brunette), Marie (redhead).
  • Bridal Carry: Rex to Tanith after her death.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The winged serpent statue at Mocata's house.
  • Cult: The main antagonists are a Satanic cult.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Cultists don't last even a full minute after Divine Intervention sets in.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Richleau refuses to do a certain spell, which is extremely powerful, but could kill them all. He uses by the end and it saves the day.
  • The Dark Arts: Dicussed by Mocata, but ultimately it's quite clear that it's a bad thing.
  • Dark Is Evil: Night and darkness empower the Satanic forces, according to Richleau.
  • Deus ex Machina: Literally. An angel (or possibly God himself) descends to finish off the occultists just in the nick of time.
  • Divine Intervention: See Deus ex Machina above.
  • The Dreaded: Everyone who knows the cult is terrified of Mocata.
  • Equivalent Exchange: When the Angel of Death is summoned, he cannot go back empty-handed. This ends up being the cause of Mocata's destruction.
  • Evil Counterpart / Foil: Mocata and Richleau are both wise, soft-spoken and cultured masters of occultism, the difference is one is a megalomaniacal servant of Satan and the other is a force of good.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Mocata again.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Mocata is quite a gentleman whenever we see him, but it doesn't take long for him to shift into murderous rage.
  • Gentleman Wizard: Both Mocata and Richleau fit the trope, being aristocratic and cultured masters of the occult.
  • Ghostly Chill: The room grows cold every time dark powers are at work.
  • Giant Spider: One of the demons that menaces the group takes the form of a giant dog-sized spider. It's driven off by the use of holy water.
  • Grand Theft Me: Mocata's favorite ability.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: By the end Mocata is slain by the Angel of Death he himself summoned.
  • Holy Burns Evil: Richleau repells the forces of evil several times by wielding a crucifix.
  • Hollywood Satanism: One of the most blatant examples of Hollywood.
  • I Have Your Wife: Both the Eatons and the Duc de Richleau undergo this. Richleau attempts to save Simon, whom he considers a surrogate son, from Mocata and his coven. The Eatons have their daughter Peggy kidnapped by Mocata, who intends to sacrifice her to the Devil.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: A great deal of attention is put on Mocata's blue eyes, which he uses to subdue his victims.
  • Intimate Open Shirt: Rex loses his jacket and tie, and his shirt opens by a couple of buttons around the same time the romantic tension with Tanith increases.
  • Light Is Good: Richleau often uses light sources to repell demons.
  • The Load: Simon is absolutely useless and all his actions end up making Richleau's job harder.
    • Rex doesn't do much better. See Too Dumb To Live.
  • Magical Eye: Magic in general in this movie often works via eye-contact. Richleau has to frequently shout for people not to make eye-contact with the villains.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Mocata is impeccably dressed.
  • Market-Based Title: It was originally released as The Devil's Bride in North America.
  • Maybe Ever After: Rex and Tanith. There is an obvious attraction there, but a possible romance is never explored beyond a little flirting and choice words.
  • Meaningful Name: Played with. Richleau at first remarks Tanith is the name of a pagan goddess, which is probably her "cult Meaningful Rename". Tanith is indeed a member of the cult, but we later discover she's a reluctant one, that Tanith is just her birth name and that indeed, she wants out.
  • Moment Killer: Peggy thankfully kills the moment where Mocata is trying to hypnotise her mother, Tanith and Simon.
  • More than Mind Control: Mocata's mind-breaking powers work like this.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Mocata sounds quite foreboding once said out loud.
  • Non-Indicative Title: "The Devil's Bride". Not once is anyone said to be the Devil's bride.
  • Occult Detective: Richleau is one of the early cinematographic examples.
  • Ominous Fog: One of Mocata's many powers is to create this.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Apparently, Mocata's satanic powers greatly benefit from child sacrifice.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: While the film is largely faithful to the novel, a number of changes were nevertheless made. Possibly the greatest one involves changing the relationships between the characters: whereas in the novel Marie (who is a Russian, unlike her film counterpart) and Richard were close friends of Richleau and Rex, in the film Marie is Richleau's niece (and hence Peggy is Richleau's great-niece). It arguably works in giving Richleau an additional personal stake in the matter, as now it is not only an innocent family that is being threatened by Mocata's coven, but his own relatives as well. In addition, Peggy undergoes an age lift, going from a toddler in the novel to a ten-year-old girl in the film. The film also cuts away most of the dialogue relating to the occult.
  • Psychic Powers: Mocata has extensive ones. Richleau also displays some lower-key abilities of hypnosis.
  • Religion of Evil: Mocata's cult.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: Simon and Tanith find out the hard way you can't leave Mocata's cult.
  • The Roaring '20s: The film takes place in 1929, further in the past than the original novel, which was set in the 1930s.
  • Satan: Makes a brief appearance in his "horned-goat with human body" form.
  • Scary Black Man: The first Devilish creature to confront them takes the form of a (rather terrifying) black man, and one of the members of the cult is a frightening-looking black male.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Mocata speaks very softly despite his atrocities.
  • Supernatural Aid: It's implied an angel takes hold of Marie in the climax to defeat the Cultists.
  • Tempting Fate: Richleau remarks several times that "It's over", only for Mocata to prove him wrong seconds later.
  • The Three Faces of Adam: The three friends, leaving Richard out. Simon is the Hunter - having been convinced into joining the cult to find a purpose in life. Rex is the Lord - who struggles to comprehend the possibility of Satanism. Richleau is the Prophet - who has the wisdom and knowledge necessary to save everyone.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Yes, Rex. Leave the woman you've effectively kidnapped alone and unrestrained in the car with the motor running. What could possibly go wrong?
  • The Watson: Rex is completely in the dark regarding occultism, so Richleau dumps information about it on him.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Mocata's plan relies on sacrificing a young child.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: It can be said the entire movie is essentially a mental battle between Richleau and Mocata for the soul of two individuals.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Devils Bride



Mocata demonstrates the hypnotic power of his eyes.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / HypnoticEyes

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