THE CHRISTOPHER LEE CENTENARY CELEBRATION PRIMER: To the Devil A Daughter (1976)

EDITOR’S NOTE: You can see To the Devil a Daughter this weekend at the Drive-In Super Monster-Rama! Get more info at the official Drive-In Super Monster-Rama Facebook page and get your tickets at the Riverside Drive-In’s webpage.

Dennis Wheatley’s writing reflected his conservative worldview, as his heroes defend the monarchy, the British Empire and its class system. If you’re evil in one of his books, you either are from Satan or you’ve stood up to those ideals. As for how well he knew the occult, he was known as an expert on Satanism, exorcism,and black magic, even publishing The Dennis Wheatley Library of the Occult, personally picking the titles and writing introductions for each book. The series included works by Theosophist H. P. Blavatsky, Alesiter Crowley and Bram Stoker amongst many others.

He was not a fan of this movie, saying “This is disgusting, obscene, has no relationship to my book. It’s outrageous and disgraceful. And I will never again let this company turn one of my books into a film.”

I kind of loved it.

American occult writer John Verney (Richard Widmark) has been asked by Henry Beddows (Denholm Elliot) to pick up his daughter Catherine (Nastassja Kinski) from the airport. She’s had quite the life, being a member of Father Michael Rayner’s (Christopher Lee) Children of the Lord, a religious order that her mother was also part of. The group wants her back and uses black magic to battle Verney.

Catherine is set to become the human form of Astaroth when she turns eighteen and only Verney can save her from the Satanic forces of the former priest.

While Kinski is nude in this movie — and fourteen years old, which is pretty upsetting even if she had been topless already at the age of twelve — Lee is not. That was his stunt double Eddie Powell. Also: Klaus Kinski turned down the lead, saying that he may have had no issue being in a film where his daughter was fully naked, there was no way he’d stay sober.

If you’re in the mood for more Dennis Wheatley, Hammer also made The Devil Rides Out.

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