To the Devil a Daughter (1976)

UK, West Germany, 1975
91m, 93m, 8,210 feet
35mm, Technicolor, 1.85:1
mono, English

A British horror film directed by Peter Sykes. It is notable for a number of reasons. It was the third and final Hammer Film Productions adaptation of a Denis Wheatley novel (following The Devil Rides Out (1968) and The Lost Continent (1968); it was the last horror film from Hammer until the online serial Beyond the Rave (2008) and their last theatrical genre release until Let Me In (2010); and it was the last time Christopher Lee would appear in a Hammer film until The Resident (2011).

Plot Summary

Father Michael Rayner is excommunicated for his heretical devotion to Astaroth, demonic Lord of the Flies. He and his followers embark on a 20 year project to create a human host for Astaroth in the shape of Catherine who was bequeathed to the sect by her mother as she died in a grisly ceremony and who has since been raised by devil-worshipping . Catherine is abducted by author John Verney at the request of her father, Henry Beddows who is still tied to the cult by a curse that ill result in his death by fire should he ever cross them. But Catherine is already under the spell of Rayner and the frog-like mutant baby that he plans to fuse with her to help restore Astaroth to human form…

Credits

Crew
Directed by: Peter Sykes
© MCMLXXVI [] Hammer Film Productions Ltd
A Hammer/Terra Anglo/German co-production [opening credits]. A co-production by Hammer Film Productions Ltd., London and Terra Filmkunst GmbH Berlin
Produced by: Roy Skeggs
Screenplay by: Chris Wicking
Adaptation by: John Peacock
From the novel by Dennis Wheatley
Director of Photography: David Watkin
Film Editor: John Trumper
Music Composed by: Paul Glass
Sound Recordist: Dennis Whitlock
Wardrobe Supervisor: Laura Nightingale
Make-up: Eric Allwright, George Blackler
Hairdressing Supervisor: Jeanette Freeman
Special Effects: Les Bowie
Art Director: Don Picton
Made at EMI Elstree Studios, Hertfordshire, England and on location in The Federal Republic of Germany

Cast
Richard Widmark (John Verney)
Christopher Lee (Father Michael [Rayner])
Natassja Kinski as Catherine
Honor Blackman (Anna [Fountain])
Michael Goodliffe (George de Grass)
Anthony Valentine (David)
Denholm Elliott (Henry Beddows)
Eva Maria Meineke (Eveline de Grass)
Derek Francis (Bishop)
Frances De La Tour (Salvation Army officer)
Constantin De Goguel (Kolide)
Isabella Telezynska (Margaret)
Petra Peters (Sister Helle)
Anna Bentinck (Isabel)
Irene Prador (German matron)
Brian Wilde (Black Room attendant)
William Ridoutt (airport porter)
Howard Goorney (critic)
Zoe Hendry (1st girl)
Lindy Benson (2nd girl)

Alternative Titles

Die Braut des Satans – Germany
Child of Satan – USA (video)
Córka dla diabla – Poland
En Dotter at djävulen – Sweden
Una figlia per il diavolo – Italy
Une fille… pour le diable – France
La monja poseída – Spain

Extracts included in
The World of Hammer: Hammer Stars: Christopher Lee (1994)

Press

1976
Monthly Film Bulletin vol.43 no.506 (March 1976) p.64
[I]n many ways [this is] a good deal more prepossessing than Hammer's last foray into Wheatley territory eight years ago, in The Devil Rides Out. […] Much of the improvement is traceable to Chris Wicking's no-nonsense script, which has the good sense to ground most of its explanations in flashbacks, to make the one obligatory chunk of exposition (Verney's visit to the inner sanctum of the British Museum to consult the Grimoire of Astaroth) a delightfully elliptical set-piece, and interpret virtually all morceaux de bravoure in directly sexual terms. […] Things are further helped along by Les Bowie's expert special effects (the baby demon has a particularly convincingly animated tongue) and by the generally intelligent casting, which lends weight to even the least promising characters […] On the other hand, though, Sykes direction is never too well defined and becomes a distinct encumbrance whenever it lapses into outright cliche […] But overall the film is as encouraging as parts of Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires; it suggests that Hammer is at last finding successful ways of reworking the Gothic idiom that is its stock in trade. – from a review by Tony Rayns

References

Periodicals

  • Cinefantastique vol.5 no.2 (Autumn 1976) p.26 – review
  • Cinema of the '70s no.1 (2020) pp.49-68 – illustrated article (Straight on till '79: A decade of Hammer horror by Ian Taylor)
  • The Dark Side no.206 (2019) pp.42-48 – illustrated article (The Wicking man by Christopher Koetting)
  • The Daily Cinema no.8871 (3-4 February 1964) p.5 – note (Dennis Wheatley films for Hammer)
  • Dark Terrors no.1 (January 1992) pp.7-10 – illustrated credits, synopsis, article
  • Film-Echo/Filmwoche no.32 (8 June 1988) p.6 – review
  • Film Review vol.26 (March 1976) pp.34-35 – interview
  • Films and Filming vol.22 no.7 (April 1976) pp.39-40 – review
  • The House That Hammer Built no.8 (April 1998) pp.462-465 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • Little Shoppe of Horrors no.4 (April 1978) p.14 – review
  • Little Shoppe of Horrors no.12 (April 1994) pp.65-72 – illustrated credits, production report
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.43 no.506 (March 1976) p.64 – credits, synopsis, review (by Tony Rayns)
  • Photoplay vol.23 (March 1976) pp.22-25 – article
  • Radio Times vol.250 no.3275 (30 August 1986) p.70 – article
  • Screen International no.4 (27 September 1975) pp.14-15 – interview
  • Screen International no.25 (28 February 1976) p.12 – review
  • Variety 10 March 1976 p.22 – credits, review
  • Video Watchdog no.45 (1998) p.7 – note (A better Republic by Tim Lucas)

Books

  • The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) pp.318-319
  • The Christopher Lee Filmography by Tom Johnson and Mark A. Miller pp.277-279
  • The Cult Films of Christopher Lee by Jonathan Sothcott pp.258-265
  • Educational Institutions in Horror Film: A History of Mad Professors, Student Bodies, and Final Exams by Andrew L. Grunzke pp.54
  • English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.116, 262-63, 263, 277, 278, 279, 307, 330
  • Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby p.332
  • Film Review 1976-1977 by F. Maurice Speed p.186 – credits, synopsis
  • The Films of Christopher Lee by Robert W. Pohle Jr and Douglas C. Hart pp.172-174
  • Good Versus Evil in the Films of Christopher Lee by Paul Leggett pp.146-153; 169
  • Hammer Complete: The Films, the Personnel, the Company by Howard Maxford pp.799-803 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • Hammer Films: The Elstree Studio Years by Wayne Kinsey pp.395-410
  • The Hammer Story by Marcus Hearn and Alan Barnes pp.166-167 – illustrated article, review
  • The Hammer Vault by Marcus Hearn pp.158-159
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis p.401
  • Horror Films of the 1970s by John Kenneth Muir pp.436-438 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Horrorshows: The A-Z of Horror in Film, TV, Radio and Theatre by Gene Wright p.165 – credits, review
  • Lord of Misrule (new edition) by Christopher Lee p.246
  • Ten Years of Terror pp.254-256 – illustrated credits, reviews (by Pierre Jouis, John Hamilton)
  • Uneasy Dreams: The Golden Age of British Horror Films, 1956-1976 by Gary A. Smith pp.213-214
  • The World of Fantasy Films by Richard Myers p.36