Saturday, June 23, 2007

Critical Reactions #2 (To The Devil A Daughter)


Here are a few various samplings of critical reactions to Nastassja's second film.

"A somewhat belated attempt by Hammer to hitch themselves to the EXORCIST/ROSEMARY'S BABY bandwagon...final results are rather confused, despite the best efforts of Lee as the demonic Father Michael and a top notch supporting cast...Sykes's direction has a certain flair to it and makes good use of the film's London locations."
-Howard Maxford, HAMMER, HOUSE OF HORROR-

"Poorly calculated attempt to cash in on THE EXORCIST...muddled, proving the studio was not up to the groundbreaking standards they set in the sixties."
-Richard Hilliard, Chiller Theater Magazine-

"The audience is treated to bizarre almost psychedelic dream sequences and a gory childbirth scene that imitates some of the most gruelling moments of THE EXORCIST and foreshadows the 'chest burster' from Ridley Scott's ALIEN....The delineation between the forces of light and darkness is always clear and lacks the moral ambiguity suggested by a film like ROSEMARYS BABY. In that sense, more than any other, it feels like a 'classic' Hammer horror film."
-George Watson, Screen Online-

"the film's demonology is still literally written, much better than the usual occult films of the period...17 year old Nastassja Kinski brings her custom earthy Gypsy sensuality...Particularly standout is Christopher Lee who gives a performance of towering, lascivious evil that dominates the whole film."
-Richard Scheib, Moria Review-

"Clammy, unnerving atmosphere...graphically unpleasant....also well made and enjoyable. The performances help a lot...Kinski was only 15 when the film was made and she does extremely well, already radiating the Mittel-European mystique that was used to such good effect in CAT PEOPLE."
-Mike Sutton, DVD Times-

"More, in terms of ambition; less, in terms of achievement...most over directed exploitation movie I have seen in a long time."
-Roger Ebert-

"The film's unlikely trump card is Richard Widmark...who romps through the proceedings with a disarming stoicism...it's a good deal more interesting than the rest of the possession cycle, but still a disappointment."
-Time Out Film Guide-

"Many Hammer films are fairly quaint chamber pieces, this film has a more modern, expansive feel to it...includes one of the earliest roles of future sex kitten Nastassja Kinski...according to Peter Sykes, she was hired merely because the German co-producers insisted on a certain percentage of German talent...stellar cast, impeccable production values and stylish direction, TO THE DEVIL A DAUGHTER comes close to being a very great film...one of Hammer's finest, most underrated films. It certainly is one of their most chilling too, and in this department it blows THE DEVIL RIDES OUT right out of the water."
-Troy Howarth, DVD Maniacs-

"Hammer goes out with a bang. Not a classic, but enjoyable."
-Bob Bloom, Lafayette Journal and Courier-

"Shockingly bad adaptation of the Wheatley novel."
-Ken Hanke, Ashville Mountain Express-

"Famous largely as the last Hammer horror film, but for most of its running time it shapes up as one of their stronger thrillers until a lame conclusion frustratingly knocks it down several notches. But for a while there, it’s a winner, and proof that Hammer could have competed in the world of late-’70s genre filmmaking."
-Matthew Kiernan, Fangoria-

"A bizarre film, which is actually far more of its time than something like DRACULA AD 1972 because of the serious approach it has, To The Devil... A Daughter may be occasionally unwatchable, but it's a fine way for Hammer to bow out. It's just a shame they did, as for a last film, it promises much for the future...undoubtedly a classic."
-British Horror Films.com-

"When I see the film, I'll probably cover my eyes."
-Nastassja Kinski around the time of TO THE DEVIL A DAUGHTER'S RELEASE-

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