Hammer's To the Devil a Daughter was the last film made by the once great studio. Clearly ailing, Hammer again adapted a novel by Dennis Wheatley, the author behind one of their greatest successes, The Devil Rides Out (1967). Unfortunately for the studio, films such as Rosemary's Baby (1968) and The Exorcist (1973) had, in the intervening decade, radically changed horror cinema. With American star Richard Widmark echoing Gregory Peck's role in the far more polished The Omen (1976), the film seemed, rather than setting the pace as Hammer once had, to be very much jumping... on the 1970's occult band-wagon. Christopher Lee is the satanic ex-communicated priest whose coven plan to incarnate the ancient demon Ashteroth, while a supernaturally beautiful Nastassja Kinski demonstrates the same willingness to disrobe as in Cat People (1982). Even so, this lacklustre, misogynistic film couldn't compete with Carrie and Suspiria (both also 1976) and Hammer thereafter concentrated on TV productions. Surprisingly, director Peter Sykes' next film, Jesus (1979), as well as being the most seen and internationally distributed film ever (with an audience of over two billion by 2000), is also the most faithful portrayal of Christ yet committed to celluloid. --Gary S. Dalkin [show more]
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Christopher Lee stars in this British horror directed by Peter Sykes. The film follows Michael Rayner (Lee), an excommunicated priest turned Satanist who places young girl Catherine Beddows (Nastassja Kinski) under his spell, hoping that she will bear a child that will be the offspring of Satan. However, when Catherine's father Henry (Denholm Elliott) asks occult novelist John Verney (Richard Widmark) for help, Verney springs into action and does all he can to take down the evil Rayner and get Catherine out alive.