Hot on the heels of his “31 Days of Hammer” in January, Jules is at it again in March, treating us to a chronological run through the classic era of British Horror, from the late ’50s to the end of the ’70s, with one review every day for the entire month.
You can check out the rest of our “31 Days of British Horror” by CLICKING HERE.
Starring: William Sylvester, Hubert Noël, Carole Grey, Tracy Reed
Director: Lance Comfort
By 1965, Hammer had cranked out more than a few stone-cold classic horror films and had just been joined by Amicus with a couple of their own. They were making it look easy, but the magic formula seems to be something that evaded the makers of Devils Of Darkness.
It’s not a bad film as such, but it’s not a particularly engaging one either. There’s some interesting ideas floating about in there. If only it wasn’t all so…bland.
Paul Baxter is holidaying in Brittany with friends when they find themselves in a small town mainly inhabited by gypsies that is playing victim to the return of the vampire Count Sinistre, who is also leader of a Satanic cult.
The vampire murders Paul’s friends, leading his initial scepticism to wane he begins to realise the crimes are supernatural in nature. Finding a sacred talisman belonging to Sinistre at the scene of one of his murders, he heads back home, pursued by the Count himself who is keen to retrieve his property…
There’s really not much to get excited about in Devils Of Darkness sadly. The conceit that it’s not actually a vampire movie is a good one, it’s a devil worship film that just so happens to have a vampire leading the coven. That’s neat. As the bloodsucke in question, French actor Hubert Noël gives a fairly unusual portrayal, menacing sure, but restrained and understated too.
As for the rest of the cast, it’s difficult to really care what happens to them, which is never a good thing. Gorgo and Devil Doll star William Sylvester has a thankless task in his undercooked lead role as Paul Baxter, but neither covers himself in glory with a fairly rote performance, much like Tracy Reed in the female lead role. It’s uninspiring stuff.
This all wouldn’t be the end of the world if the whole thing didn’t feel terribly padded out, even at a brisk 82 minutes long. It drags interminably at points and just flat out fails to engage all too often.
Hammer and Amicus were rattling out one great horror after another at this point, which illustrates the importance of getting the right talent in for the job. Devils Of Darkness fails on just about every level, which just isn’t good enough. At all.
The Writer of this piece was: Jules Boyle
Jules tweets from @Captain_Howdy