Also known as: 13
While hosting a party, Philippe de Montfaucon (David Niven) receives a mysterious visitor and promptly informs his wife Catherine (Deborah Kerr) that he must return to his family's vineyards. He instructs Catherine to remain behind with their son Jacques (Robert Duncan) and their daughter Antoinette (Suky Appleby). Arriving at the vineyards, Philippe is greeted by Father Dominic (Donald Pleasance) who makes a vague reference to the path that Philippe has chosen. Meanwhile, Catherine is suspicious of her husbands unexpected departure and decides to join him at the vineyards with the children. Upon her arrival, she is angered to see Christian de Caray (David Hemmings) shoot a dove out of the air with a bow and arrow. Waiting for her husband to return from the fields, Catherine sees a group of men in black robes, lead by Christian and his sister Odile (Sharon Tate), performing some kind of ritual. Suddenly, a figure appears from the shadows and warns her to drive out of the valley and never turn back. When Philippe returns, Catherine tells him of the strange events but he dismisses her concerns and asks her never to question him again. The next day Jacques and Antoinette meet Odile while playing and she makes Jacques believe she has turned a toad into a dove. Catherine informs Odile and Christian that they are no longer welcome but Philippe refuses to support her and the next day she finds Jacques and Antionette playing on the battlements with Odile. She again confronts Odile but Odile hypnotizes her with a strange medallion and almost makes her fall to her death. When Philippe learns of Odile's actions, he whips her viciously. Later, Philippe's friend Jean-Claude Ibert (Edward Mulhare) arrives for a visit and he and Catherine discover that many of Philippe's ancestors have died under 'suspicious circumstances'. Catherine investigates the grave of one of Philippe's ancestors but is captured by the men in black robes and faints. When she awakes, she is back in her bed with Philippe by her side. Philippe gives her something to help her sleep and, when she awakes again, she is locked in her room. She tries to signal for help but is ignored and collapses. Waking for the third time, things appear to be back to normal and a festival is beginning in the castle square. Catherine goes to the festival and sees Philippe taking part in a mass. Begging Philippe's aunt (Flora Robson) to tell her what is going on, Catherine learns that Philippe's father Alain de Montfaucon (Emlyn Williams) is the mysterious figure that warned her to leave the valley and that he's hiding in the castle. Alain explains to Catherine that the mass she witnessed was a black mass and that Philippe is to be sacrificed. Catherine tries to convince Philippe to stop the sacrifice but he refuses and Catherine is again locked up. She escapes but Philippe, Odile, Christian, Father Dominic and the men in black robes have already ridden into the woods. Racing to save her husband, Catherine arrives just in time to see him killed by an arrow from Christian's bow. The movie ends with Catherine leaving the vineyard with Jacques and Antoinette but Jacques runs back inside claiming he's forgotten his watch, where he meets Father Dominic. Jacques kisses the medallion that Odile had been wearing and the family curse continues.
Type of mind control: Hypnosis/Magic?
Mind control scenes:
There are two obvious scenes of mind control in this movie. The first is when Odile convinces Jacques that a toad has turned into a dove while his sister Antoinette sees nothing. The second mind control scene is when Odile hypnotizes Catherine on the battlements and almost makes her fall to her death. There also seems to be a much subtler undertone of mind control running throughout the entire movie with Philippe seeming to struggle against his fate until he calmly accepts his impending sacrifice.
out of 5
If you enjoy dark, foreboding psychological horror then this is an enjoyable movie. Although there is no induction in the first mind control scene, with Odile and Jacques, it is an excellent demonstration of the power of suggestion. The second mind control scene, with Odile and Catherine on the battlements, is a full (at least by movie standards) hypnotic induction with Odile using a medallion to reflect sunlight into Catherine's eyes and put her in a trance. The more subtle undertones of mind control may just have been my imagination but there was definitely something sinister happening throughout the movie.