Not as lavish and kitsch as the usual Hammer costume movies, and a bit silly at some points (Spider?), it still benefits from a spotless direction from Terence Fisher, and a truly badass performance from Christopher Lee (I mean, the moustache & the goatee makes it all work!)
One of Hammer's most flat-out entertaining films. It's overly genteel at times, and there are some hokey special effects - but it's fast paced and imaginative, with a strong screenplay by genre great Richard Matheson, a fine central performance by Christopher Lee in a rare heroic role, and another superb score by James Bernard. A must for fans of Hammer horror.
Christopher Lee as a British Dr. Strange in a story mirroring the occultist craze of the late 60s / early 70s, with such well-researched information by Richard Matheson and tension created by Fisher's direction. Plus great theme and opening credits. A true work of its times, and the 666th movie I checked on Mubi.
The usual Hammer whiff of musty crushed-velvet and Kensington Gore is atoned by a focused if genteel derivation of Crowley. It has a kind of polite verve that motors nicely through to the expected climax.
The ferocity in which this movie throws out twist after twist, turn after turn, at such relentless speed will leave you breathless. There are no moments to stop and catch one's breath, hardly a chance for explanation on the lunacy that just happened. And has there ever been an occult B-movie that was so lovingly detailed, it was as if Fisher believed all this hocus-pocus, making it all the more moving and - fun.
Like Nosferatu's fear of the outsider, Dennis Weatleys reactionary take on the 1930s finds an audience in the turbulent year of 1968. It has the feel of a Rodger Corman movie rather than a Hammer film, that might be because of the spider! The double ending was very clever. Although it still works as a horror and thriller, it's really about small c conservativism against foreign radicalism!