Secret Rites (1971)

35mm film, colour

A British non-fiction film with horror content directed by Derek Ford.


A supposed expose of contemporary . The coven lead by Alex Sanders, which enjoyed its fifteen minutes of tabloid fame in the early 70s, is the main star in a series of re-enactments and tableaux based on their activities.


* = uncredited

Directed by: Derek Ford
©1971. Meadway Productions Ltd
A Meadway production. A Butcher's Film release
Produced by: Morton Lewis
Production Supervisor: Ivor Selwyn *
Narration Written by: Derek Ford
Assistant Director: Rodney Standon *
Photographed by: William Holland, Roy Poynter, Morton M. Lewis
Editor: Ivor Gleek
Music Composed and Directed by: Bryn Walton
And Played by: The Spindle
Music Editor: Terry Keefe
Sound Recordist: Ernie Cousins
Sound Re-recording: Tony Anscombe *
Dubbing Mixer: Peter Maxwell
Re-recorded at: De Lane Lea
Make-up: Ann Taylor
Hairdresser: Marsha LewisTitles & Artwork: Stewart Yeff
Art Director: Edmund Konkel
Filmed on location and at Film House Studios, London, England
The producers wish to acknowledge the kind co-operation in the making of this film to Alexander Sanders ‘King of the Witches' and his coven especially to Penny Beeching, Tony Barton, Jane Spearing, Shirley Harmer, Wendy Tomlinson

Lee Peters (narration spoken by)


CinemaTV Today no.9964 (22 January 1972) p.28
Although this film contains many scenes of rituals in which nudity is compulsory, it is only in its audience-grabbing “tell it like it isn't” introduction that it could be described as sensational. Like any hobby, witchcraft is no doubt of absorbing interest to those who take part but the subject has had so much exposure of late in the cinema and on television that it is losing its novelty value. The approach is solemn, almost reverential; but I spy with my cynical little eye a more than accidental choice of a coven of young people. Not a paunch not a flabby buttock bounces by to arouse our mirth or destroy the film's value as sexploitation. – from a review by Marjorie Bilbow



  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.39 no.458 (March 1972) p.58 (UK) – credits, review
  • CinemaTV Today no.9964 (22 January 1972) p.28 (UK) – credits, review (by Marjorie Bilbow)


Other sources

  • BFI Southbank Guide November 2009 p.14 – illustrated listing