Rent Mark of the Devil (1969)

3.0 of 5 from 75 ratings
1h 32min
Rent Mark of the Devil (aka Hexen bis aufs Blut gequält) Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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Superstition and witchcraft torment the people in the 17th century. A rural witch hunter terror-ises a provincial town. He rapes the women, tortures them on the rack and burns them at the stake. A charming young girl and the young assistant to the Chief Inquisitor conspires to put an end to the foul deeds of this libertine. However, they fall into great danger when the Inquisitor arrives in the town to commence his dreadful trials. He accuses the young girl of witchcraft and subjects her to terrifying cross-examination. The young assistant, who has so far been loyal to his master, is conscious-stricken.
Should he really believe that his beloved is a witch? Under dramatic circumstances he learns the true nature of his master - his sexual hysteria and the perverse background of his blood-thirsty punishments. As soon as he openly turns against the Inquisitor the young man falls into a fatal trap. He loses his life during a revolt from which the chief Inquisitor only just escapes from the fury of the frenzied crowd. His beloved finds his body. Unable to comprehend, outraged, without hope and filled with greed, she is lost in the holocaust of the dark ages.
, , , , , , Michael Maien, , , , , Doris von Danwitz, Dorothea Carrera, Marlies Petersen, Bob Gerry, Percy Hoven
Adrian Hoven
Narrated By:
Friedrich Schoenfelder
Michael Armstrong, Adrian Hoven
Hexen bis aufs Blut gequält
Anchor Bay
Classics, Horror
Release Date:
Run Time:
92 minutes
English LPCM Stereo
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.78:1 / 16:9
Release Date:
Run Time:
108 minutes
English Dolby Digital 1.0, German Dolby Digital 1.0
English, English Hard of Hearing
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.66:1
BLU-RAY Regions:
  • Audio Commentary by Michael Armstrong, moderated by Calum Waddell
  • "Mark of the Times": Exclusive feature-length documentary from High Rising Productions on the emergence of the 'new wave' of British horror directors that surfaced during the sixties and seventies, featuring contributions from Michael Armstrong, Norman J. Warren (Terror), David McGillivray (Frightmare), Professor Peter Hutchings (author of Hammer and Beyond) and famed film critic Kim Newman
  • "Hallmark of the Devil": Author and critic Michael Gingold looks back at Hallmark Releasing, the controversial and confrontational distributor that introduced 'Mark of the Devil' to American cinemas
  • Interviews with composer Michael Holm and actors Udo Kier, Herbert Fux, Gaby Fuchs, Ingeborg Schoner and Herbert Lom
  • "Mark of the Devil: Now and Then": A look at the film's locations and how they appear today
  • Outtakes
  • Gallery

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Reviews (1) of Mark of the Devil

Disturbing viewing - spoilers follow. - Mark of the Devil review by NP

Spoiler Alert

Reggie Nalder plays emaciated local witch-finder Albino, a scurrilous dog who hides behind his position to torture and kill women who spurn his advances. A young, bright eyed Udo Kier is Count Christian, and Olivera Katarina plays veracious Vanessa Benedikt, whose exuberance and sexuality means she is ideal for Albino’s perversions. And Herbert Lom, who is rarely less than majestic, plays Lord Cumberland, who has the weight of dispassionate authority to put into practice the atrocities afforded a man in his position.

Of course, this cruel and extravagantly mounted film unashamedly owes a huge amount to 1968’s ‘The Witchfinder General,’ in which Vincent Price excels in the nastiness of titular Matthew Hopkins (‘Mark of the Devil’ actually eclipsed ‘Witchfinder’ at the box office). ‘Devil’ steps up the graphic cruelty considerably, producing scenes that make you wince. (To quote from Wikipedia, this film was seized and confiscated in the UK under Section 3 of the Obscene Publications Act 1959 during the video nasty panic.) Also, torture and rape are treated so nonchalantly by the characters and directed so matter-of-factly by directors and writers Michael Armstrong and Adrian Hoven (whose intense dislike for each other caused problems wile filming), that when the medieval-style iron torture devices and rattling chains are wheeled out once more, there is a certain inevitability that you will be repulsed. Later, as the same empty-headed soldiers storm a children’s puppet show, you know you are in for some disturbing viewing.

When it begins to dawn on Christian that perhaps the law and the execution of it might just be a little corrupt, you can’t help but feel he has been a little naïve thus far. Watching people being unspeakably cruel to each other for 86 minutes is saved from becoming tedious by the gradual way the acts are stepped up over that time. No men of authority are immune from corruption, and this tale reminds us in its opening moments that any enactments of evil are as nothing compared to what actually happened. A word too for Michael Holm’s rousing and elegant music that is so powerful, it is almost a supporting character in its own right.

Relentless and powerfully unpleasant, this is brilliantly done, but I’m not sure I’ll be watching it twice. It’s reassuring to know that society has progressed beyond such hypocritical barbarism … isn’t it?

3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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