Happy Halloween fronds, and welcome to the final instalment of my Blogoween trilogy. Having already given consideration to my previous two horror movie genres (Haunted Houses and Found Footage) it’s now time to turn to one of my all-time favourite categories…. THE DEVIL. Please allow me some leeway as some of my choices are more in the ballpark of Satanic worship, or demonic activity, rather than the devil him/herself, but all are so much fun that I had to include them. I also wanted to say a little word about the inclusion of Roman Polanski on this list; I don’t promote the man in any way, and entirely condone either missing it out completely, or obtaining it through not thoroughly legitimate means. ☠️
Night of the Demon (1957)
Also known as ‘Curse of the Demon’, this is more or less an adaptation of the M.R. James story ‘Casting the Runes’, a cautionary tale on the dangers of incurring the ill-will of those who dabble in the alchemical arts…. It was also the inspiration for Sam Raimi’s Drag Me To Hell. I particularly enjoy Robert Lloyd Parry’s telling of the original story.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
It’s difficult to explain what I enjoy the most about films like Rosemary’s Baby without giving it all away entirely, but rather like Hereditary, Midsomar, The Wicker Man, and other delightful folk horrors, I think it’s the slow and steady build of uncanniness that eventually explodes in your face. There aren’t many things more glorious in campy 1960s technicolour than a good bit of devil worship, don’t you agree?
The Devil Rides Out (1968)
Speaking of devil worship in campy 1960s technicolour, one CANNOT do better than this Hammer classic. Christopher Lee makes a rare outing as a good guy, and you’ll never see a more chaste orgy in all cinematic history.
The Devil’s Rain (1975)
A gloriously nonsensical motion picture, co-created with the original Church of Satan head honcho Anton LaVey, you’ll never otherwise see Earnest Borgnine, William Shatner, and John Travolta collaborate more bizarrely or see quite so much of what I strongly suspect is vanilla pudding in a shocking finale.
Brimstone and Treacle (1976)
There were two adaptations of this Dennis Potter play produced in quick succession in 1976 and 1982. I prefer the former, as the latter stars Sting and boy am I not a fan of Sting, and the 1976 version had a much more profound impact on me. As you might expect from Dennis Potter, this is an extremely troubling and claustrophobic portrayal of the repressions and dark secrets of a middle-aged couple struggling to care for their adult daughter following a car accident, and the consequences of a visit from a mysterious stranger…
The Omen (1976)
I once made the terrible mistake of watching the remake of The Omen. One cannot do better than actually willing Gregory Peck to stab Damien ALL THE WAY TO DEATH YES PLEASE even though he’s just a child, on account of how compelling the narrative is. Sometimes the classics really are the best. Apparently the archaeological dig scenes are pretty authentic too.
Prince of Darkness (1987)
I am thrilled to be able to cram a Carpenter in my Blogoween trilogy, just THRILLED. This is in my top three Carpenter movies, along with The Fog and The Thing. I don’t think there’s ever been a more interesting or unique narrative than a group of theoretical physicists battling to stop the father of all evil from escaping a magical tube of prebiotic primordial goo in a run-down old church (?) Carpenter wrote and directed Prince of Darkness, but the writing credit goes to ‘Martin Quatermass’, while the physics students are studying at Kneale University. Both are nice little homages to Nigel Kneale, writer of The Stone Tape, a film in my Haunted Houses list.
The VVitch (2015)
If there’s one thing I’m sure we can all agree on, it’s that we wouldst all VERY MUCH LIKE to live deliciously, yes? I’m not sure there has ever been a more glorious portrayal of settler life in 1600s New England, and the very real and very mundane horrors that many faced, even before one takes pacts with the devil and witchcraft into account. Robert Eggers does a marvellous job of making everyone feel as uncomfortable as possible, and that makes me enjoy a movie all the more. I was particularly amused to know that Americans struggled to understand the Lancashire accents, and pleased that it wasn’t Keira Knightley/Queen’s English all round.
That wraps her up for this halloween season friends. I hope you’ve enjoyed a spooky one!
The title image is from Pixabay. Thanks Pixabay!