(1974, GB, 100 min) Dir Harold Andsley. Cast Ian Ogilvy, Franco Francini, Maria Perschy.
Good old Harrow Productions – there wasn’t a popular British film of the seventies that they didn’t half-assedly rip off and in Harold Andsley they had their star director. The Devil Rides Out does well? He can get you Death to the Devil! knocked off in a fortnight. Witchfinder General causing a stir? He’ll get you Carrion Crow – the tale of a medieval demon hunter – in a trice. The one thing that nobody could have foreseen however is that Andsley might have made a good film. Perhaps it was his passion for the subject, having studied the Middle Ages in Oxford? Perhaps it was a complete accident? Who knows! Carrion Crow is Ogilvy’s Crusades scarred knight brought into the service of the church to scour the haunted isles of Britain, rooting out the demonic influence that is trying to take hold with his aged Italian aide Father Carfat (Francini). The film finds them having completed passage to Ireland where it seems they might have met their match in rural priestess Maria Perschy (who was Austrian but dyed her hair red for the part and was totally dubbed so let’s not split hairs) and her village of acolytes. A surprisingly effective and atmospheric picture and worth seeing for evidence that Andsley could make a good film if he really tried.