Date(s) - Tue. Oct. 20, 2015 - Tue. Nov. 3, 2015
12:00 am GMT

Microcinema [ ÊTRE]

Michael Wood


The occult loomed large in British horror films of the latter part of the 20th century. In the Night of the Demon (1957) ancient folklore, arcane writings, séances and a malevolent magician are subject to the skeptical inquiries of a team of international paranormal investigators lead by Dana Andrews. The Witches (1966) follows a school teacher (Joan Fontaine) recovering from a mental breakdown while working in Africa as she takes up a new post in a peaceful and rather conservative English village. She soon finds out that not all is what it seems as she encounters the evil forces and sinister rituals lurking below the surface of an otherwise tranquil rural setting. The Devil Rides Out (1968), based on the novel of Denis Wheatley, gives a glimpse into the occult experiments of the 1920’s British upper-class. A world of ecstatic rituals, esoteric texts, demonic conjurations and the figure of Mocata, a practitioner of the magical arts based on the infamous occultist Aleister Crowley. These three films reflect contemporary realities of gender, class, race, colonialism and modernity as post-war Britain dealt with the end of empire and profound social changes. These films also reflect popular conceptions of and reactions to various aspects of the Western occult tradition such as spiritualism, ceremonial magic and Wicca, the set of neo-pagan beliefs that was becoming known to a wider public for the first time as these movies were first released.

Films: Night of the Demon (1957); The Witches (1966); The Devil Rides Out (1968)