I wrote a novel once, a sample of which I sent to a professor of creative writing for a bit of feedback. He wrote back obviously fairly baffled and non too impressed, summing my efforts up as “across between Dennis Wheatley and the Famous Five”. Which sounded pretty darned good to me. (Admittedly the novel itself was pretty rubbish and self indulgent, and is consigned to the slush pile of history where it will very much remain.) This 1968 Hammer Film directed by Terence Fisher is based on Wheatley’s novel of the same name, and is the story of young Simon (Patrick mower) and his dangerous dalliance with a devil worshipping cult headed up by the sinister Mocata (Charles Grey, being Charles Grey). A friend of his father’s, Nicholas, Duc du Richlieu (Christopher Lee, being a goodie for once) has a suspiciously comprehensive wealth of knowledge about this stuff and swiftly intervenes to save both Simon and Tanith (Niké Arrighi), another new recruit from the Goat of Mendez (played by the Devil Himself). Holed up at his niece (the fantastic Sarah Lawson) Maria’s house Simon, Nicholas, Maria and her husband Jerry, sorry Richard (Paul Eddington, in proto Good Life affable posh idiot mode) fend off the wrathful demons sent by Mocata from within a chalk circle, inscribed (very unevenly as I discovered) with protective charms. I love this film. It's one of my all time favourites of any genre, and from the snooty devil worshipping duchess at the demonic cocktail party to the vintage car chase skewed by dark magic it's perfection.
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