|TO THE DEVIL A DAUGHTER (director: Peter Sykes; screenwriters: Chris Wicking/novel by Dennis Wheatley; cinematographer: David Watkin; editor: John Trumper; music: Paul Glass; cast: Richard Widmark (John Verney), Natassja Kinski (Catherine Beddows), Christopher Lee (Father Michael Rayner), Denholm Elliott (Henry Beddows), Anthony Valentine (David Kennedy), Honor Blackman (Anna Fountain), Eve Maria Meincke (Eveline de Grass), Derek Francis (Bishop), Isabella Telezynska (Margaret), Constantin De Goguel (Kolide), Anna Bentinck (Isabel), Frances de la Tour (Salvation Army Major); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Roy Skeggs; Hammer Films; 1976-UK/W. Germany)|
|"The black magic thriller is
undoubtedly cheesy but, no matter, I
always get a kick out of Christopher Lee and
Richard Widmark, even if the latter is
by Dennis Schwartz
Director Peter Sykes ("Demons of the
Mind"/"Venom"/"The House in Nightmare Park") helms a
hokey and humorless Hammer Satanist flick in the
post-Exorcist era. This was the last ever Hammer
horror flick. It's based on the novel by Dennis
Wheatley and is written by Chris Wicking.
intellectual occult writer, John Verney (Richard
Widmark), a skeptic on the supernatural, lives
in London. A nervous businessman, Henry Beddows (Denholm
Elliott), asks John at an art exhibit to look
after his teenager daughter Catherine (Natassja
Kinski) while he attends to some emergency
business. His daughter is a sweet nun with The
Children of the Lord sect, that's led by the Satanist
excommunicated priest Father Michael Rayner (Christopher
Lee) who pretends his church is Catholic.
Eighteen years ago, after Catherine's mother (Anna
Bentinck) died at
childbirth at the hands of Father Michael, the
weak-minded Henry signed a pact that gave the child to
Father Michael. The church raised Catherine in
their Bavaria location and allowed her once a year to
visit her father. Now that she's nearly 18, she visits
dad. But he has second thoughts about the pact he
signed, realizing he's in grant danger if tries to get
out of the deal.
learn that Father Michael has plans to make an avatar
of Catherine as Astaroth and baptize her as the Devil.
Dad only hopes Verney can stop Father Michael from
abducting his daughter, while he rolls up in the fetal
position at home scared shitless of what can happen.
The puzzled but stoic Verney, learning the facts on
the run, takes Catherine from the airport and keeps
her in his apartment. Meanwhile the sinister Father
Michael uses his black magic to possess her and harm
those who guard her (such as Verney's book agent
-Honor Blackman -and her friend - Anthony
Valentine). Father Michael soon leads the sweet
nun to the site of the temple in London, where on her
birthday he plans to carry out his perverted baptism
too much hooey to get through before the climax comes
to life, as it has Christopher Lee at last coming
face-to-face with Richard Widmark to duke it out over
The black magic thriller is undoubtedly cheesy but, no matter, I always get a kick out of Christopher Lee and Richard Widmark, even if the latter is miscast.
REVIEWED ON 12/19/2014 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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