Walsh is an American architect who is invited to England to
work on an interior design job. She has no idea who her mysterious
employer is, or what what it is she's expected to do, but
a sizeable monetary advance convinces her it is genuine. Once
in England she and her partner decide to take in the countryside,
but are involved in a near miss with a Rolls Royce. Their
motorcycle is damaged, so Jason Mountolive, the rich Englishman
offers to put them up in his mansion house while the bike
is being repaired. Other guests soon arrive. It seems that
they run the industries of Jason Mountolive and have been
summoned here by the man. Maggie is asked to talk to Mountolive,
but is surprised to find him an ancient creature near death.
He pushes a ring (identical to what the others wear) on to
her finger, and she is distressed to find it will not come
off. Margaret and her partner decide to leave by stealing
the Rolls Royce, but all roads lead back to the house, forcing
them to return. A painting of a woman identical to Margaret
proves to be a powerful witch from the past who passed on
her wealth and power to an illegitimate son, Jason Mountolive.
One of the group of seal-bearers will be selected to carry
forward Satan's power; the rest will be killed...
many horror movies from the late seventies, this one works
by means of disguising itself as something else. It has all
the feel of a mainstream suspense, or even light romance,
if the beginning is anything to go by. Even the opening music
is a song called "Another Side of Me" by Kiki Dee, played
over a sort of montage of happy images (Katharine "Maggie"
Ross and her partner riding country lanes on a motorbike,
or sitting in a field with a picnic, etc.).
are no cheap tricks, such as slamming doors, or benign characters
jumping into shot suddenly. But the best tool that keeps this
film out of regular horror territory is the music; it seems
to belong to a completely different genre, with mostly light
and complementary touches. There is no creepy music talking
down to the viewer and telling him or her where to feel a
chill. Also, there are no special effects, as such, only make-up
prosthetics on the elderly Mountolive.
If you can overlook the inexplicable smashing of everything
in the room before Maggie's square-jawed partner thinks to
attack Mountolive (the conclusion might have been very different!),
this is an enjoyable film. Something a little out of the ordinary.
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