Alternate titles : The Tortures of the Inquisition.

Tagline : "The most horrifying film ever made."

Mark of the DevilBorrowing heavily from The Witchfinder General, this European cash in takes place sometime during the 16th century in a remote town in rural Austria. Here, the noted Witchhunter Lord Cumberland (Herbert Lom) has been summoned to oversee the local witch trials, after the towns current witchfinder, known as the Albino (Reggie Nalder), has been found getting a little too carried away with his work.

The locals hope with the arrival of Cumberland, that future trials will be carried out in a fair and just manner. But it isn't too long before they realise that their new Witch hunter is no less brutal or over zealous in his judgements. As he swiftly starts sentencing the unfortunate souls brought before him to various nasty forms of torture and execution.

Cumberland's young apprentice, Count Christian (Udo Kier), initially believes they are doing gods work. But when a young maiden named Vanessa is accused of Witchcraft by the Albino, for nothing more than rejecting his advances, he begins to have a crisis of faith.

Suspecting the Count to be torturing and murdering his way through the various villagers and noblemen for personal gain, he starts to rebel. But with the villagers beginning to turn hostile towards them, is it too late for him to put matters right?

Filmed by British director Michael Armstrong for a German film crew, "Mark of the Devil" proves to be an even more brutal affair than Witchfinder General, showing even more graphic scenes of torture and execution, as the unfortunate victims are seen being stretched on racks, burned with branding irons, flogged with cat-of-nine-tales and stabbed with various sharp implements in graphic close up before being either beheaded or lowered into a burning funeral pyre whilst still alive.

But whilst the film is quite graphic, it would be unfair to simply dismiss it as pure exploitation. The film is well acted and does have a number of sympathetic characters and does try to show you the sort of brutally unjust things that went on back then, in which cunning men preyed on the superstitions of locals for either settling scores, or financial gain.

Makes an excellent companion piece to the aforementioned "Witchfinder General".

Overall Marks : 6/10.

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Buy the UK BD/DVD combo pack  [Amazon UK]


Buy the US BD/DVD combo pack  [Amazon US]


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