Stations of the Gross: “Mark of the Devil” (1970)


    Beware filmmakers who preface their story with a declaration that the movie about to follow has its basis in historical fact; a claim toward legitimacy that inevitably becomes increasingly vaporous as the film unfolds. This is especially true of exploitation vehicles which have already lured the recklessly daring into the theater with the promise of exotic, erotic or squirm-inducing thrills (ambitious braggadocio will often make claims to all three). Such a notification is posted early in Michael Armstrong’s truly repulsive “Mark of the Devil”: a film which, by this premature juncture, has already gleefully depicted the rape of a nun, acts of dismemberment, torture, a tar and feathering and a group burning at the stake; all lovingly rendered, no doubt, with the dedicated advancement of scholarship in mind. The film’s misplaced pronouncement of historic fidelity never fully explains how a film of such an earnest pedigree corresponds with the advertised distribution of specialty designed novelty vomit bags to every patron (perhaps finding possible use as a fixative against the whirling vertigo experienced by the euphoria of recklessly cramming too much academia at one sitting?), but such are the sometimes contrary vicissitudes of the sideshow barker.

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About chandlerswainreviews

I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pauper, a poet, a pawn and a king, not necessarily in that order. My first major movie memory was being at the drive-in at about 1 1/2 yrs. old seeing "Sayonara" so I suppose an interest in film was inevitable. (For those scoring at home- good for you- I wasn't driving that evening, so no need to alert authorities.)Writer, critic and confessed spoiler of women, as I have a tendency to forget to put them back in the refrigerator. My apologies.
This entry was posted in 1970's movies, Drive-In Movies, Film, Film Reviews, grindhouse, History, horror, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Stations of the Gross: “Mark of the Devil” (1970)

  1. Teepee12 says:

    Sounds utterly missable. For every possible reason.

  2. sheafferhistorian says:

    Even better, it can’t be accused of being another “Exorcist” knock-off

    • Congratulations! I believe this is the first time anyone has uncovered something positive about the film. It is interesting that in a handful of years the Church’s image in film was reversed from persecutor of those supposedly Satanically touched in “Witchfinder General”, “Cry of the Banshee” and “Mark of the Devil”, to savior of the Satanically possessed in “The Exorcist” and its lesser spin-offs, and this in an age of increased cynicism in American film.

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