Hammer Films hired Richard Matheson (adept in the horror/supernatural genre) to adapt Dennis Wheatley’s novel about Satan worshippers for the screen. Really a enjoyable movie to watch online. The result takes for granted that evil powers exist and that men (such as Aleister Crowley) could tap into them and use them for their own purposes after much study of the ancient arts and free download. In this movie, that man is Mocata (Charles Gray) but he also appears (called Karswell) in my favourite film of this genre, Curse of the Demon (1957), played by Niall MacGinnis.
The editing in The Devil Rides Out is tight and often cuts out the exposition – we jump right in to find that the Duc de Richleau (Christopher Lee) and his friend Rex Van Ryn (Leon Greene) are worried about a friend who has been keeping too much to himself. They drop by his house to discover that he has recently joined a Satanic circle and then the plot launches from there, as Richleau and Van Ryn tangle with evil in an attempt to rescue their friend Simon and another girl Tanith before they are baptised on the evil Sabbath. The full movie blends references to arcane rituals with spooky (though fake-looking) special effects with rip-roaring adventure story action. Christopher Lee is his usual commanding presence – and fortunately he is on the side of good, rather than evil; otherwise, the Goat of Mendes might have won. As usual, the Hammer production values are top notch (those amazing cars and mansions) and this is one of their best releases.