Written By: DMG
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Michael Armstrong
Producer: Adrian Hoven
Screenwriter: Michael Armstrong, Adrian Hoven
Date Released: February 19, 1970 (Germany)
Udo Kier as Count Christian von Meruh
Herbert Lom as Lord Cumberland
Olivera Katarina as Vanessa Benedikt
Reggie Nalder as Albino
Herbert Fux as Executioner
Michael Maiden as Baron Daumer
Rating = 4/5 Graves
**May contain some spoilers***
Starting from the 15th century, proclaiming someone was a witch was frequent and common. Someone could be imprisoned, tortured and burned because of what another person or a group of people believed another to be. As a result, injustice was rampant and accepted by society. Mark of the Devil is not a horror story about a monster or a villain but about the evils of mankind during this dark period. Once the truth behind the Church is revealed, one witch-hunter by the name of Christian (Udo Kier) tries to stop the injustice and restore procedures and protections from wrongful accusations and prosecution that this society was all too familiar with.
The Gore Factor
Mark of the Devil is a brutally gory film that depicts torture in its most awful state. The viewer will be shown tongues torn out, people sitting on spiked chairs, bodies being stretched until their bones break and many more horrific acts of torture. As such, there is quite a bit of blood splatter and severed limbs that will accompany these scenes. It would be difficult not to be disturbed by some, if not all, of these acts.
The Grave Review
At first impression, Mark of the Devil may not seem like a brutal film as the beginning takes the form of what could be considered a western film with happy music playing in the background. But this is only a front for a much darker story. In reality, Mark of the Devil is a disturbing story about the cruelty of society.
The story line was simple but provided a strong execution and message. As the story progresses, one man, Christian, sees the truth about what justice and beliefs have become. But in the end, society has not learned from its mistakes. This message of standing up for what is right and what you believe in, is as relevant today as it was in the 15th century. Mark of the Devil emphasized societal flaws in the most horrific and extreme way possible. As such, the film executed the story line in a way that goes beyond its face value.
Mark of the Devil (1970) also incorporates some interesting camera angles. Some scenes incorporated first person views and other closeups of their expressions. From an artistic point of view, this was a good decision in order to emphasize significant and impressionable scenes.
For the above mentioned reasons, Grave Reviews gives Mark of the Devil (1970), four out of five graves.
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