To The Devil A Daughter (1976)
Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:
- OK. Hammer Films. Let’s do this!
- Christopher Lee! Nastassja Kinski!! Sweet!
- Even if I was a devout Catholic I would totally avoid any church that had Christopher Lee as a priest.
- These religious-based horror flicks always try to work that God-fearing angle. And why not I suppose, most pious people are easily freaked out by God and/or Satan.
- So this is twenty years later than that opening scene ceremony in the church with Lee and he essentially looks exactly the same despite him already looking old twenty years earlier. Whatever.
- Nastassja Kinski plays Catherine, a young nun. It’s incredibly hard not to think the most naughty of sins right now. Kinksy, am I right?!
- Hey it’s Marcus! The late great Denholm Elliott.
- Lots of black and white random head shot photographs of Nastassja Kinski’s character in this movie. Gives the impression that she’s a model (which is more feasible than being a nun).
- I’m so hating spell-check right now when typing Nastassja Kinski.
- So this American novelist, John Verney, who writes occultist books was asked by Denholm to go get his daughter Catherine, at the airport. While Catherine’s escort is on a public phone, Verney introduces himself and basically kidnaps her leaving a suitcase and she never mentions the escort who is now freaking out that she’s gone. She’s a nun, not a child or an alien that has no way of communicating and explaining things and should tell Verney that there was an escort. Dumb.
- Verney is definitely thinking naughty sinful thoughts.
- Is he planning on making Catherine cook for him by asking if she knows how to cook? She’s his guest and furthermore, she’s a nun.
- There’s something quite amusing about Christopher Lee being water taxied by a nun on a rickety old wooden dinghy with a motor.
- So the escort from earlier sneaks into Denholm’s home while he’s on the phone with Catherine. Instead of killing Denholm he smacks him across the face with his pistol. While on the ground mere feet from the escort, Denholm shoots him but only manages to shoot him in the thigh despite being at point blank range. At least he shoots him again and kills him but seriously?
- Now we see Christopher Lee and his minions helping/hurting a young woman give birth. I think. Lee wraps some cloth around her legs binding them together and her arms are tied up to the headboard. Stay tuned.
- So apparently it’s known to everyone in this flick that Catherine was raised and educated in some sort of Satanic cult posing as Catholics (or something like that). So you can scratch off that sort of angle or mystery to the lead actor.
- But probably Catherine is the only person unaware of her upbringing. Because someone needs to be.
- “98% of so called Satanists are nothing but pathetic freaks who get their kicks dancing naked in freezing church yards. And use the devil as an excuse for getting sex. But then there’s that 2%. I’m not so sure about them.”
- We got bush. But technically it’s from the pregnant lady so don’t get too excited.
- Wouldn’t this baby’s birth go smoother if her legs weren’t bound?
- For some reason Catherine and the pregnant lady are psychically linked and both having a rough night.
- It’s been 40 minutes and I’m still waiting for something sinister to happen. C’mon movie, speed things up. Linda Blair was pissing on the floor and telling house-guests that they’re all going to die by now.
- So let me get this straight. Denholm Elliott’s daughter is part of this Satanic church. He wants her saved but he tasks a novelist that is an “occult” expert to help her. What is Verney going to do really? Originally, Verney was intrigued to be with her and learn from her for a possible novel but now he’s realizing that he’s in over his head with actual real Satanists.
- And where has Denholm Elliott been this whole time while she was in the church that he knew was wicked and evil? Is her being in England his only chance of reaching her or saving her in some way?
- Why do they always make Halloween an important day for Satanists? Why not Arbor Day or Sadie Hawkins Day or any other random date in the calendar year?!
- Christopher Lee is a god among actors. Here he is in this rather lame movie and he’s awesome in it. In this scene he’s talking to Denholm on the phone and he’s actually quite frightening as he threatens Denholm in giving him the whereabouts to Catherine. He even has the power to make a simple rope wrapped around his phone to make Denholm’s phone miles away into a snake. It doesn’t look like a long-stance serpent though.
- “You have a poor gripe on reality.” Great line delivery from Mr. Lee.
- Christopher Lee is trying to psychically communicate with Catherine by talking into upside down golden plates on a table with a pentagram. Don’t forget, the bread plate goes on your left Mr. Lee!
- Verney sees Catherine out of apartment when he returns home and he’s on one side of a river and she’s on the other. I’m just marveling at the hand-crank mini bridge that Verney operates to get across the river. It’s really cool actually. As he cranks the two ends from opposite sides meet in the middle and as they touch, the railings pop up. I’m actually very impressed at this.
- Lord Astaroth!
- The emblem of Astaroth is a man spread-eagle with his arms at his side like an upside-down “Y.” It looks silly.
- Now we see a ceremonial orgy complete with simulated oral sex and BDSM as well as a woman fucked by an Astaroth statute and a semi-nude Christopher Lee (Editor: Not really, according to trivia it’s a stunt double)
- Haha. Since Lee lost his psychic link with Catherine he is forced to call Verney on the telephone and ask to speak to Catherine. They try to deceive each other but ultimately they have a battle of wits…over the phone. Why didn’t Lee try the ‘ol snake gag on Verney to scare him easier?
- I totally forgot about the woman who gave birth. Apparently so did the movie. They took the baby and put it into an incubator and Lee set a small clump of what looked like Herb de Provence on fire. That was that.
- We’re an hour into the flick and so far nothing much has happened. This is one boring movie.
- This bishop that is giving more exposition to Verney explained to him that Lee was excommunicated because he wanted to create an Avatar! If only we can excommunicate James Cameron for creating Avatar!
- Oooooh an ancient evil book about Astaroth! More non-scary stuff!
- Actual book-worms! Again, I’m trembling!
- Is anything going to happen yet? ANYTHING?!
- Finally. Catherine wakes up and kills Verney’s friend who was watching over her. Unfortunately it was off-screen. For some odd reason she left the other friend alive. (but, we don’t realize that until moments later because it cut to another scene)
- A zonked out nun stumbling around London on an escalator is not really pleasing for this Satanic cult horror movie.
- Now the friend who was left alive is super duper pissed at Verney that his wife/girlfriend is dead. We needed some “conflict” I suppose.
- I’m a tad confused. In the beginning of the film Catherine was allowed to leave Munich and Lee’s church to go to London. But up until now Lee, who’s also in London, is trying to get her back. So why didn’t he travel with her from Munich together instead of separately? What was the plan? Did I miss something?
- Apparently Denholm Eliott is trapped in a recliner chair in the middle of a pentagram. Damn you Black Magic!
- Verney: “They got Catherine!”
Denholm: “Catherine’s with you?”
Verney: “No they took her!”
He just said THEY GOT HER you idiot! Lost in his own museum!
- If only they condensed down these expositional talking scenes and added more occultist horror scenes then this film would be infinitely better. There’s not even much music to help with the sinister aspect of the story either. It’s so white-bread. Even Ozzy Osbourne would fall asleep watching this.
- Oooooh a gust of wind in a church. I’m not going to sleep tonight.
- The apparition of Denholm’s late wife walks over to Verney and his friend and she asks the friend to take this gold necklace that is glowing. Verney tells him not to take it and not 2 seconds later, his friend reaches out his hand and takes the necklace. Then it disappears. Verney actually does a face-palm.
- Now Verney’s friend, David, is either possessed or utterly confused because he’s babbling on about pictures to buy.
- As Verney reaches into an altar to get the same necklace, David grabs the necklace from Verney and immediately bursts into flames and disintegrates.
- There was an earlier scene where Lee’s female minion was doing a blood transfusion. We cut back to her and the blood bag is filled and she’s now dead. There’s like 8 blood bags hanging full of her blood. That’s quite the devotion to killing oneself. A saner person would’ve stopped at maybe the 4th bag or so.
- And why is she doing this? It’s not explained. This movie is really bad with its exposition.
- With all the boring exposition, you’d think they would explain the significance to these London churches or even the Munich one? Like why are they in this church or mausoleum?
- Christopher Lee is using the blood from his minion to form a sacred circle around Catherine. Again, wish they would explain this to us. Actually you know what, fuck it, I don’t care anymore.
- Oh great a bloody demon puppet crawling on Catherine. I think it’s performing cunnilingus on her.
- Now I’ve seen everything. Catherine pushes the little demon into her vagina. I can’t believe I just wrote that. How is it that this movie didn’t sweep the Oscars in 1976!?
- Verney’s here to save the DAAAAAY!!!
- According to trivia I read, Nastassja Kinski was only 14 or 15 years old when she filmed this and she regrets getting naked for her role. So why exactly couldn’t they get a body double for this teenager if they needed full frontal so badly? Ponderous. And dirty. And they only show her naked for like 4 seconds making totally unnecessary at all.
- That was some convoluted reasoning why Verney could enter the sacred circle to attack Lee. The rock that he previously used to kill one of Lee’s minions. The minion’s blood on the rock granted Verney access inside the sacred circle. Wackiness! Good thing Verney took the day out to read the whole book of Astaroth to learn all these rules and regulations. I wonder what’s the call on Astaroth’s infield fly balls?
- As soon as he enters the circle, he whips the rock at Christopher Lee’s noggin and kills him. He then grabs Catherine and despite a long fight with a large amount of wind, he carries Catherine over the circle to be saved.
- “In light all things thrive and bear fruit…
In darkness they decay and die.
That is why we must follow the teachings
of the Lords of light.” ~Dennis Wheatley.
- What does this quote have to do with what we just saw, other than evil is bad and don’t follow Satan? It’s not like Catherine saved herself by going towards Jesus’ light or anything. Even Verney did nothing spiritual or religious to save himself and Catherine. What a terrible dud.
Scare Level: This movie couldn’t scare a kindergartner. It even has a cute little demon puppet.
Gore Level: There was more gore in the last romantic comedy I saw.
Nudity Level: Well we did see nudity but it was in the most awkward and inappropriately way that any normal decent human would be skeeved to see it.
Best Line: “It is not heresy… and I will not recant!”
Best Scene: Because Christopher Lee is a legend, he did have some decent scenes, in particular the one when he’s talking to Denholm Elliott on the telephone.
Worst Scene: There’s so many boring scenes that’s impossible to pick one. But if your horror movie has less than a half hour to go and your protagonist is just now doing his “research” in a dank church library, you have to seriously rethink your strategy.
Level of Hell: SHAME on you Hammer films! You made one of the worst satanic-themed horror movies of all time!
Overall: Not even the late great Christopher Lee could save this movie’s soul. This one looked the most promising out of the queue of Satanic-themed horror movies but it’s a total wanker of a movie. It was a Hammer production with Christopher Lee and they failed on almost every level. I don’t think I’ve ever saw Richard Widmark before in anything (correction: Hanky Panky) and I don’t much care because he brought nothing good to this. Add to this is having an underaged Nastassja Kinski bare everything and pushing a demon puppet into her woo-ha, it’s unforgivable and insulting to the audience. Even Astaroth is displeased!
Score: 2 Demon Puppet Cunnilingus (out of 10)