Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Genre Character of the Week: The Duke De Richleau

Okay folks, we’re going old-school this week with one of my favourite characters from the Hammer Horror films of the ‘60s, The Duke De Richeleau (pictured left) from the 1968 film,The Devil Rides Out, as played by Christopher Lee.

In the film, the Duke is called to the south of England to visit the son of a friend and upon his arrival discovers that young Simon may be involved with Satanists. The young man’s home has all the trappings of Satanism, and as the Duke is something of an expert in the field, he and a small group spend the rest of the film attempting to save their young friend and stop this evil group as well as the Devil himself.

Here’s what I love about the character; he is an expert in Satanism and the occult. There isn’t really any backstory given for why he is so well versed in such a strange area of study, but his calm and steady demeanor allow him to put up a great fight against the ultimate evil. Christopher Lee (who scared me as Dracula, Frankenstein and the Mummy in earlier Hammer Horror Films) plays the good guy in this film and honestly he’s pretty great.

Add to that the fact that the screenplay was written by one of my favourite authors, Richard Matheson, and that the story was based on a book by Dennis Wheatley (British a writer of thrillers and occult novels from the 1930s through the 1970s) and that this was actually the second of eleven novels focusing on the Duke and I’ve got to say, the film is a treat and I’m really looking forward to checking out these other novels.

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