Written in 1934, The Devil Rides Out wasn’t adapted into a film until 1968 when Hammer Films decided that it could be filmed. It was optioned in 1963 but concerns about Satanism prompted Hammer to hold off on making it for awhile.
Christopher Lee stars as Duc de Richleau. It’s the 1930’s and Duc de Richleau has been asked to look into the actions of Simon Aron (Patrick Mower) the son of a friend. Upon investigating, Richleau and his buddy Rex van Rijn (Leon Greene) discover that Simon is involved with a Satanic cult lead by Mocata (Charles Gray who played the evil Blofeld in Diamonds Are Forever). Richleau and van Rijn interrupt a Satanic ritual and rescue Simon and a woman named Tanith (Nike Arrighi). Soon Mocata is chasing after them using all the black magic in his arsenal.
Directed by Hammer’s best director Terence Fisher and with a screenplay by the always excellent Richard Matheson, this is one of Christopher Lee’s favourite films. The movie is an awesome mix of supernatural adventure and thrills. Lee is excellent as Duc de Richleau, a suave occultist who is matching wits and skill against the evil Mocata.
Dennis Wheatley had written 11 novels starring Duc de Richleau. Hammer had planned on making two more Richleau films but despite getting positive reviews, it performed miserably at the box office. So Hammer scrapped plans on making anymore Richleau films. But they did adapt two more Wheatley novels. A lost world film, The Lost Continent and Hammer’s final horror film, To the Devil a Daughter.