Demons of the Mind (Blood Evil)(Nightmare of Terror)(Blood Will Have Blood) Reviews
Despite this one or two little seen and underated gems crept out and this is one of those films which does away with the lurid Kensington gore for something more interesting.
Christopher Wicking had by this time already wriiten Blood From The mummies Tomb and Scream and Scream again and thanks to his script and Peter Sykes direction this is a real genre standout.
Robert Hardy plays the ruthless Baron Zorn who imprisons his two children in the family estate after there mother brutally kills herself in front of them.
He feels that have the same genalogy as there mother and will be strcuk with the Evil curse of madness .
Adding to the sense of unease somebody is killing local girls from the village arousing supicison that a demon is lose.
Zorn is convinced charlatan doctor Falkenberg played with some gutso by Patrick Magee can cure his children but a equally demented Michael Horden stands in his way claming he is carrying out gods work.
It all leads to a rther shocking final denoument and purveying sense of unease all through the film.
If you thought Hammer was all Lurid blood and busty wenches then you could do a lot worse and catch up with this film as it really is a diffrent animal despite being in the same genre.
A somewhat solid Hammer flick that suffers from more than a little dull problem. The story is quite good, although it would probably suit a novel better, as here it's a little muddled, and the ideas don't always come through very well. Not a terrible film, but I doubt I'll ever want to see it again.
Robert Hardy (off of All Creatures Great and Small) is a Bavarian baron who keeps his two adult children drugged up and locked up in his castle, convinced they are suffering from mental disease, and treats it by regularly 'bleeding' them. He sends for a physician from Austria who turns out to be a quack, intent on curing them through wierd contraptions and mumbo jumbo.
Meanwhile the two 'children' keep escaping and undrtaking a very odd incestuous relationship whilst the boy does a good sideline in murdering girls from the local village which the father and his manservant keep covering up.
The whole thing descends into a surreal climax as the cast descend into insanity and murder whilst the villagers advance on the castle with burning torches, urged on by a deranged priest.
This really is odd stuff - the cinematography and period details are quality but the whole plot is off the wall and non-sensical. The cast seem intent on outdoing each other in the over-acting stakes, taking it in turns to chew up the scenery with great gusto. As Hammer were now trying to compete with the new wave of US horror this comes with added blood and violence with several arterial spraying mutilations as the film progresses but they do little to lift it.
The whole thing is either complete hokum or an amusing diversion depending on your point of view. I'd probably never have watched it if it hadn't been included on the Hammer box set I've been ploughing through and I managed to fall asleep during it... twice...
This is an astonishing film, a success in every way, a truly thoughtful horror film. The story concerns an aristocrat who believes his family line is infested with bad blood. He had married a peasant woman to offset this, but has instead infected the peasantry as well. He has locked up his son and daughter, and is bleeding them, to stop the rot. Meanwhile, peasant women are being raped and murdered throughout his estate.
From such a scenario, ripe for exploitation, is weaved a remarkable series of themes and variations. The film's first image is of a horse and carriage rushing through a forest, a white hand groping outside, only to be pulled back. Like THE AVENGERS, the best Hammer films revealed the horrors and insanities lurking behind placid, heritage, British rural life. On the surface is a gorgeous idyll - a beautiful Big House, a forest, grassy rivers. Beneath is incest, madness, hysteria, paganism, murder.
The house, like most horror films, is a metaphor for the mind. It is literally a prison, but also a labyrinth, mirroring the maze created by the disjointed gazes of the occupants. There are some amazing long shots of the house's inside, haunting, vastly empty, tilted - a mind off balance. The family is no longer a site of continuity and order, but discontinuity, inbreeding, misery and chaos.
But the house also shares the literary association as a figure for the state, and the poisonous madness within affects the peasantry too. They partake in pagan rituals, follow mad, gibbering priests, who offer destruction, not redemption, and become a terrifying, cross-burning lynch mob, roaming the country.
Ironically, the film is set at the beginning of the century, and Freud's contemporary attempts to throw light on the darkness of the mind is alluded to, and compared to the descent into medieval dank of the film's characters. BARRY LYNDON shares many of this film's themes, and it's hard to believe Kubrick never saw it - both feature Michael Hordern and Patrick Magee.
The creation of an actual world mirroring a psychological world is superbly realized. The two levels co-exist, intertwine, and some of the film's most extraordinary and beautiful images are visualizations of Freudian symbols and ideas. Like many great horror films, this is a family saga, but a very mature one. Its refusal to demonize adds greatly to the helplessness of the terrors. Its 'closure' is as bleak as ever Hammer dared. A masterpiece.