They’re at it again in old Cornwall. This time a drop of blood falling on the grave of a recent suicide brings the victim back from Hell.
Under a curse, and known as The Stranger (Mike Raven), he must sacrifice young virgins to Satan until one is found who willingly accepts death to spend eternity with him.
The horror elements are mainly dependent on the graphic deaths and bloodletting rather than atmosphere and characterisation. In one vividly detailed scene the hero’s sister, Ruth (Virginia Wetherell), is spread-eagled on a table and her heart is cut from her chest, held dripping and squeezed so that the fluid runs into a cup.
By the film’s conclusion, almost everyone except the hero and heroine have been despatched.
The high point of the film is a visit to the home of Melchisidech, an old Jewish cabalist. Here the Parson (Ronald Lacey) and the hero, Ralph (Stephen Bradley) have come to get help in combatting The Stranger’s black magic.
The cabalist (Nicholas Amer) welcomes them with “I’ve been waiting for you. Here are my pots and pans, they’re all in order, all in good working order. My paraphernalia. I’m in good working order too. At your service.”
The film’s exposition comes when he shows the visitors what The Stranger is up to in his ‘Mirror Unto The World’ – a kind of magical TV set. When the cabalist proclaims that “he hasn’t had time to work in sevens so it must be in threes” referring to the devil’s disciple, the Parson says “Thank the blessed trinity”.
To which the cabalist replies, “Trinity, schminity. This is none of your Christian schmitters. This is your kosher Yiddisher magic,” and he gives them a talisman, magic sand and holy water to ward off the attacks by evil spirits sure to come.
Mike Raven as The Stranger has one or two good moments but for the most part, acts as if still in the grave.
The film owes much to the camerawork and colour photography by William Brayn. One long shot of a gallows is particularly good with its brooding background of dark clouds.
Melchisidech, the Cabalist