Last night, my head was splitting, due to apparently-painkiller-resistant sinus pressure, so I didn’t feel much like writing. So, I decided to instead absorb some inspirational material appropriate to the novel, and watch a couple of Hammer films.
First up was The Devil Rides Out, Hammer’s adaptation of the Dennis Wheatley novel of resolute aristocrats thwarting the Satanic machinations of a thinly-veiled caricature of Aleister Crowley in 1920s Britain. Lots of late-60s OMG!!REALOCCULTKNOWLEDGE!!!111! stuff, with magic circles, the Goat of Mendes, and Eko-Eko’s and stuff. Lovely. One of the few movies where Christopher Lee plays the hero, and he obviously enjoys himself. Charles Gray ( of “Where’s your fucking neck?” Rocky Horror fame) chews the scenery as the charming and utterly eeeeeeeeeeeeeeevil Mocata, head of the Satanists. The film was directed by Terence Fisher, who was one of Hammer’s best. Great cast, great director…..OK, no “shocking terror” for modern audiences, but still very fun.
The second film was a non-horror entry in the Hammer canon: Night Creatures (Known as Captain Clegg in the UK). This is probably best described as a “Thriller”, based on the “Doctor Syn” pulp novels (which were made into a Disney live-action film as well.) Peter Cushing as the town priest with a mysterious past. Smuggling, piracy, scarecrows….lots of fun. Cushing is always great, and the film also features a young Oliver Reed as the dashing young squire, and the pultritudinous Yvonne Romain providing the Hammer-standard “heaving bosom in peril.”