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Arrow releasing “Mark of the Devil” on UK Blu-ray


"Mark of the Devil"

“Mark of the Devil”

Independent British distributors Arrow Video have acquired the distribution rights to Michael Armstrong’s Mark of the Devil, starring Herbert Lom, Udo Kier and Reggie Nalder. A Blu-ray release of Mark of the Devil, which will be sourced from a new restoration and will contain an uncut version of the film, is expected to arrive on the market in early 2014. The 2003 UK Anchor Bay DVD restored many of the previous British Board of Film Classification cuts but was still edited by 38 seconds to reduce the nudity from the rack torture scene.

This gory 1970 German horror flick about demon-possession and witchcraft (advertised as “positively the most horrifying film ever made!” and “guaranteed to make you sick”), features graphic rape scenes, torture (including branding and tongue removal) and killing sequences. Set in early 18th-century Austria, the story is about Lord Cumberland (Herbert Lom, at his most sinister), a demented Austrian nobleman who makes the most of the witch-hunting policies of the Inquisition to procure himself money, land and an endless supply of beautiful young women. The Count takes on a pious young apprentice, Count Christian von Meruh (Kier), who realizes too late that the witch trials are nothing more than a scam to cover up for the Lord’s sadistic and depraved behaviour.

Despite tensions between director Armstrong and producer Adrian Hoven, Mark of the Devil is a worthy historical horror drama made to cash in on the worldwide success of Michael Reeves’ Witchfinder General/The Conqueror Worm (1968). Armstrong worked as Reeves’ assistant on Witchfinder General.

Those who associate Herbert Lom with the comically exasperated Inspector Dreyfus in The Pink Panther series will be surprised to see him shed all comic mannerisms and play it straight as a loathsome and opportunistic witchhunter. Lom is given able support by Reggie Nalder (Salem’s Lot), as an uncouth and even more fanatical witchfinder, and by Gaby Fuchs, a pretty and innocent girl subjected to the most unspeakable tortures. Highly anticipated throughout the genre community, Arrow has yet to announce the disc’s special features. However, Mark of the Devil will be released as a two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD). It is most fervently hoped that Arrow will also release the extremely rare and little seen Mark of the Devil II (1973), starring Anton Diffring, Erika Blanc and Reggie Nalder.

For more on Mark of the Devil and Arrow Video, keep a close eye on!

– By Harvey Chartrand

Hammer Horror: The Warner Bros Years

About Harvey Chartrand

Harvey F. Chartrand is a features writer at Ottawa Life Magazine ( Harvey’s stories have appeared in numerous publications including Cinema Retro, Filmfax,Shock Cinema, Rue Morgue, Scarlet: The Film Magazine, National Post, Jerusalem Postand The Globe and Mail. Harvey is a movie fanatic and has interviewed several film celebrities. To contact Harvey, e-mail him at: [email protected]

One comment

  1. It was a truly horrific film for it’s time. But released to the public there were several cuts to it and also they tried to combine the two actress parts of Gaby Fuchs and Doris Von Danwitz in the cut film version. Gaby Fuchs already had experience as a horror film actress and was featured as one of the women who was put on the rack and had the soles of her bare feet scorched by Albino’s henchman with a red hot branding iron. In an interview with sexy Gaby she had revealed that before that scene was filmed she already was secured on the rack nude with neck stock and the four actors enjoyed taking turns torture-tickling her bare feet; not in the script and not an act. She remarked “I certainly didn’t expect it and my feet are ticklish but I realized since I wanted this part so much I had no choice at this point but to endure all four men tickling my bare feet, and these men were quite impersonal in their persistent tickling of my bare soles which just about drove me to the point of insanity!”. “Moviegoers are not aware of this.”

    Doris Von Danwitz on the other hand had her rack scene cut out where before her feet were scorched Albino pricked her toes and soles with a sharp pick as she screamed. A henchman for Albino then held her slender ankle and scorched her very erotic and high arched sole to her hysterical wailing and teeth barring as a truly intense torture scene. I would have loved to see my second wife in divorce Fern Rothschild acting in the place of this woman Von Danwitz with her on this rack getting the soles of HER bare feet scorched with a red-hot branding iron by Albino’s henchman and listen to her hysterical screaming as he demands her to confess since she turned out to be one of those women in adult theater films of the 1970’s sucking a number of men’s boners and acting like a decadent female but kept it a total secret from me until I stumbled across one of her films and saw my brazen wife in action myself!

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