I don’t know how in all my years of searching for a certain particular genre of 1960s/70s British horror, that I missed this interesting one made in 1966. “Eye of the Devil” starred such big-time actors as David Nivens, Donald Pleasance, and Deborah Kerr. I actually decided to purchase it without seeing it because it was British from the 60s and because it was compared to movies like “The Haunting” and “The Innocents” (Turn of the Screw). With the actors involved in its making, I figured I had a sure bet. I'm also a freak for atmosphere in movies and the Brit's really know how to lay it on like butter on white bread. It also was intriguing because it was one of the rare movies made with Sharon Tate (infamous victim of Charles Manson’s minions).
This is a film about a seemingly happy French aristocratic couple and their children living in London. When the husband gets word the grape crops are drying up in France, he begins to act secretive and tells his wife to stay behind while he checks it out. She becomes concerned and brings the children to their French Chateau. Eventually, the mystery and strange going’s on begin to wear at the wife and she investigates to find that the lineage includes pagan rituals involving the crops and his family’s vow to always protect the harvest.
As horror goes, this is full of mood and atmosphere and creepiness, but not true genuine terror, more like taut suspense. There’s strange things going on that don’t seem to make sense and you really don’t know whom you should trust which keeps you on edge. It gives way to an intriguing conclusion and is really worth the watch. It’s very well plotted and acted and the sets are amazing. You never seem to know who is the enemy and what the great “secret” of his family line is until near the end.
If you like British movies from the 60s with lots of mood and atmosphere, good acting, and pagan themes, this is a great movie. If you liked “Wicker Man,” “The Haunting,” or “The Innocents,” this is perfectly along those lines. I found it on www.cinemasirens.com, but it would not be entirely hard to find on ebay, as well.