Father Michael is excommunicated from the holy church for
heresy and voicing his objectives to create an avatar, the
personification of a living god. Twenty years later he has
not only established his own church in Germany but instilled
Catherine, the person who will make his goals a reality. Catherine
is seen on to a plane bound for London where she meets her
father, Henry Beddows, once a year for her birthday. However,
her father is involved with a group of Satanists run by Father
Michael, and asks John Verney, a leading novelist on the occult
to intercept Catherine and keep her safe. Verney's agent,
Anna, and her husband David become involved through their
own curiosity, but Father Michael has powers over Catherine
making anyone around her vulnerable. Verney's fondness for
the seventeen year old finds himself being dragged ever deeper
into an abominable scheme to have a devil live inside Catherine...
the Devil a Daughter from
1976 is based on a novel by Dennis Wheatley. Black magic is
the order of the day, as you might have guessed, but there
are no soft centres here! There's theatre blood aplenty, pentagrams
and blood circles, ancient scripture and sacrificial altars,
a demonic creature and several nasty deaths. There's plenty
of horror here, though it's tastefully done (as much as it
can be in this genre), unlike the plethora of so-called video
nasties which materialised only a handful of years later.
a veritable cornucopia of recognisable faces in the cast;
in fact more than you can safely shake a script at: Richard
Widmark gives John Verney logic and calm reassurance, but
at times seems more concerned about his hair and invisible
fluff on his suit than any diabolical plan which might be
in progress. Christopher Lee (who else?) looks comfortable
as Father Michael. The presence of Anthony Valentine brings
back fond memories of Raffles the gentleman thief, and there
are appearances by Honor Blackman, Denholm Elliott, Derek
Francis, Brian Wilde and Frances De La Tour. This almost certainly
confirms the confidence Hammer Productions had in the project
and the status they wanted it to achieve.
movie itself is well acted and structured fine until the final
scene in the blood circle, which seems to be over almost before
it's started. It's all too easy after the initial fear and
panic. The temptation of Catherine (Nastassja Kinski) naked,
which Father Michael shows to John Verney, might as well have
been Hattie Jacques naked for all the effect it had. Minor
quibbles aside, this is another good offering from Hammer.
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