Director Terence Fisher has a ball with this slice of black magic, based on the Dennis Wheatley novel. He has built up a suspenseful pic, with several tough highlights, and gets major effect by playing the subject dead straight and getting similar serious performances from his capable cast.
Christopher Lee is for once on the side of the goodies. As the Duc de Richleau, he and his buddy (Leon Greene) are intent on saving the soul of a young man (Patrick Mower) caught up in black magic and at the mercy of Charles Gray, chief apostle of the evil. Also involved is a mysterious young girl (Nike Arrighi), in the thrall of the black sin.
Lee plays the Duc with his usual authority and Gray turns out another of his bland, cold essays in villainy. The weakness lies in the fact that these two rarely confront each other.
Arrighi as a slightly hysterical lass, Mower and Greene are all adequate.
Fisher’s direction makes one of the Satanic orgies a production highspot, aided by some frenzied choreography by David Toguri and apt mood music.