Tuesday, 1 October 2013

My Favourite Horror Movies, Alphabetically:
The Devils

The Devils
Dir: Ken Russell. Starring Vanessa Redgrave, Oliver Reed, Dudley Sutton, Gemma Jones and Michael Gothard. 1971

The Devils is Ken Russell at his most controlled and his most out of control. It’s a fever movie about fervor that kicked off the Nunsploitation craze of the 1970’s, outraged some and invigorated others. To this day, Warner Bros., the studio that released the film in 1971, has still not released a subsequent completely uncut version of The Devils, and in fact, the studio seems to regard it as some family shame to be locked away and never spoken of. That’s too bad, because it’s one of the greatest films they’ve ever produced. The major controversy surrounding The Devils relates to its portrayal of religion as cruel, vengeful, and morally repulsive, but I think there’s more to it than that. Wrapped around its central theme is a nightmare version of what can happen when love, lust and infatuation get out of control, an unsettling representation of the joy we find in punishing people for perceived arrogance, and a none too subtle look at our lust for bloodshed. These elements combined make for a strong tonic of a movie that hits its viewer on multiple levels so that you never know which wound to tend to at any given time.

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