To the Devil a Daughter (1976) starring Richard Widmark, Christopher Lee, Honor Blackman, Denholm Elliott directed by Peter Sykes Movie Review

To the Devil a Daughter (1976)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Christopher Lee in To the Devil a Daughter (1976)

Another Child for the Devil

Having been excommunicated, Father Michael Rayner (Christopher Lee) and his colleagues have been plotting a satanic evil for almost two decades and now await the birth of a demon child. But they need the blood of a special person to revive a demonic ruler. It is why the desperate Henry Beddows (Denholm Elliott) contacts occult expert and author John Verney (Richard Widmark) as Henry knows his daughter Catherine (Nastassja Kinski), who has been raised a nun through Rayner's church is the sacrifice which Rayner plans to make. With the aid of his agents Anna (Honor Blackman) and David (Anthony Valentine) Verney must try to defeat Rayner before he revives the demon.

The more I sit and watch 70s horror movies the more I come to believe that many of these movies worked at the time but now are hard work for those trying to get into them. "To the Devil a Daughter" is just one such movie with Hammer films trying to take us down the occult route which Hollywood horror movies had been exploring rather than doing just the vampire movies we know them for. The trouble is that as I said Hollywood had already taken us down this route and what is delivered in "To the Devil a Daughter" is incredibly ordinary with Christopher Lee playing the head of a satanic church who wants to bring to life a demon child.

In fairness there are some interesting things going on in "To the Devil a Daughter", Christopher Lee is as ominous as ever as Father Michael Rayner whilst scenes such as a pregnant woman having her legs and thighs tied together so that the baby tears its way out is psychologically unsettling. But like other Hammer movies of the 70s this really struggles to create the atmosphere to draw you in to the story. Instead it feels like Hammer put even more emphasis on its stars, nudity and sex scenes to try and keep you involved.

What this all boils down to is that "To the Devil a Daughter" probably did entertain audiences back in the 70s but for those who are trying to get in to 70s horror movies now it is one which is hard work because of the lack of atmosphere.