The release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens later this month …
In the 1950’s, at the birth of the atom age, the content of horror films shifted from the supernatural horrors like Dracula and the Wolf Man, to science-based atrocities. Frankenstein’s monster, which was a patchwork of body parts given life by the mysterious power of lightning, became the Colossus of New York, a giant robot with the brain of a brilliant scientist who goes mad. The gypsy curse that turned Lon Chaney Jr.’s Larry Talbot into a Wolf Man becomes a medical experiment that transforms Michael Landon’s Tony Rivers into a Teenaged Werewolf. The monsters were no longer mythological creatures but scientifically created horrors to reflect the place science had taken in our lives.
Released in the same year as Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Devil Rides Out was one of a number of British films during the 60’s that touched upon occult matters. Unlike Polanski’s film, Fisher’s film leans more towards melodrama – but the film is so well made – it allows its melodramatic moments to transcend easily into allegory.