Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mark of the Devil (1970)

MARK OF THE DEVIL is the Exploitation genre's answer to Michael Reeve's WITCHFINDER GENERAL, pillaging its plot while injecting it with gratuitous violence and gore. The three intertwining storylines are supposedly based on true accounts of medieval men and women that were tried for witchcraft in the days of the Inquisition. Udo Kier stars as a charming young baron that attempts to instill reason and logic in to the church after falling in love with an innocent beauty that stands accused of consorting with the devil. Reggie Nalder plays the sadistic Albino opposite to Kier's baron, creating a dark and memorable villain as the film's scarred witchfinder. A variety of colorful set pieces and gorgeous locations light up the screen thanks to the superior cinematography by Ernest Kalinke, while Michael Armstrong's keen direction makes this a somber but credible period piece. Armstrong lays out the film's Grand Guignol spectacle through the use of several of the Inquisition's cruelest torture devices, hardly shying away from the gore as the accused endure the horrors of the rack, finger presses, branding irons, and even more unimaginable torments. MARK OF THE DEVIL is one of the most entertaining Euro shockers out of Germany in the early 70s, and is a benchmark for the exploitative Inquisition films that followed in the wake of WITCHFINDER GENERAL.

Rating: 8/10.
Gore: 5/10.
Number of views: 2.

If you liked MARK OF THE DEVIL, check out:
INQUISITION, WITCHFINDER GENERAL, BLOOD ON SATAN'S CLAW.



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5 comments:

  1. I'm glad you reviewed this one. I was driving myself nuts trying to recall the name of this. I started to watch it once and got interrupted and always meant to go back but forgot the name. Yahoo!

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  2. Thanks for that review Carl, Im always interested in films of this nature. I thought Witchfinder General was a bit boring, maybe this one will be a bit quicker in pace, as you mentioned, the extra violence and gore might mare it more entertaining. Gonna put this one on my must watch list, thanks again!

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  3. I love this damn flick, Autumn be sure and pick up a copy, it is a ton of fun! As for you my good man, I know you will dig this one. I found WG to be very dry as well, but the theme carries over well in to the exploitation genre, and I prefer MARK OF THE DEVIL 2:1 over WITCHFINDER GENERAL. Be sure to check out Paul Naschy's INQUISITION as well for more torturous witch killing action!

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  4. I'm the odd man out here. The Price movie was far more well made and more engulfing than this picture, imo. The violence and musical score (which reminded me so much of Ortalani's main theme for CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST) was all it had going for it, which was probably the intention. Now the sequel to MARK OF THE DEVIL was boring as all hell to me. Only ever saw it once, though.

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  5. Oh theres no mistaking the fact that WG is the better film, Im certain me and Franco will be able to appreciate it more on the second watch through, but man I swear CH lifted the score from MARK! They sound identical. My biggest quarrel with WG is that I just dont buy Price's performance since he is so out of place with his eccentricities and accent

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