The black 13

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German title The black 13
Original title Eye of the Devil
Country of production United Kingdom
original language English
Publishing year 1966
length 90 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director J. Lee Thompson
script Dennis Murphy
production Martin Ransohoff
music Gary McFarland
camera Erwin Hillier
cut Ernest Walter

Black 13 ( Eye of the Devil ) is the title of a British horror film from 1966 . The black and white film distributed by MGM is based on the novel of the same name by Philip Loraine .


In the film, contemporary secular life of the 20th century contrasts with the archaic world of imagination of European paganism , in particular with the ideas of the “harvest kingdom”, as described by Frazer in his work The Golden Bough .

Philippe de Montfaucon, a marquis, lives with his wife Catherine de Montfaucon and their two children Jacques and Antoinette in an upper-class family in Paris. During a glamorous evening party, a stranger appears and brings the news to the Marquis that in Belnac, his family's ancestral home, there is a threat of a bad harvest on the vineyards. The marquis decides to go there. He leaves alone, but Catherine, troubled by his troubled nature, follows him against his will with the children to Belnac. This is a small rural community where time seems to have stood still. It is dominated by the imposing renaissance castle of the Montfaucons.

An archaic atmosphere can be felt everywhere, strange things happen. As soon as Catherine and the children arrive at the castle, they witness how a young man, Christian de Caray, the son of the hunting tenant of Belnac, shoots a white pigeon with a bow and arrow that falls at the feet of the marquise. The young man's presumptuous facial expressions and gestures make the process seem like a provocation or a show of power. Later, however, when Catherine was walking alone in the corridors and rooms of the castle and observed a gathering of men in black robes in a chapter house, the pierced white dove was carried in on a silver plate. It becomes clear that she is a sacrificial animal and at the same time a symbol. The plate is worn by Odile de Caray, the shooter's sister, who, like her brother, walks in and out of the castle.

In the following years Catherine rarely meets her husband. In general he seems changed, he has a dismissive effect, stares into space and prays fervently in the castle chapel. Then again he asks his wife to leave or at least to stay out of everything, she doesn't understand any of this. Catherine has plenty of opportunity to look around. She meets Père Dominic, the pastor of Belnac, from whom she hopes, but does not receive, enlightenment about the changed behavior of her husband and especially about his apparently suddenly awakened piety. Instead, the priest tells them to leave Belnac. When she asks Philippe for an explanation, he evades her and speaks of strange customs and the great responsibility he has. He, too, asks her to leave Belnac with the children. Philippe's aunt Estelle doesn't want to tell her either and asks her to leave.

The beautiful Odile de Caray, who seems to be able to turn a toad into a dove, captivates Catherine on the roof of the castle so much that she almost falls from the roof into the depths. Philippe then punishes Odile. Odile had been told to intimidate Catherine into leaving Belnac, but not to put her in serious danger.

Catherine asks Jean Claude Ibert, a friend of the family, to come and keep her company. Together with Catherine, he rummaged through the Montfaucon family chronicle in the castle library. They learn that the last 22 heads of the family died under strange circumstances. Catherine later visits one of the graves in the forest, but sees herself surrounded by men in black robes on the way back. She panics, escapes, gets caught in the undergrowth and passes out. She wakes up in her bed in the castle, Philippe is with her and gives her a sedative. She falls asleep and falls into wild nightmares. It later turns out that she was given an extract of deadly nightshade. The original title of the film is derived from the English designation of the deadly nightshade as "Eye of the Devil".

The situation seems more and more threatening. The castle and villagers encounter Catherine with full disapproval. Finally she learns the background from Philippe's father Alain de Montfaucon, who hides in the castle with the knowledge of his sister Estelle: According to an old tradition, the harvest king has to offer his life as a sacrifice during long periods of drought or poor harvests, this was taken by the heads of each case of the de Montfaucon family. Catherine's attempts to persuade her husband to commit suicide fail. Although she can still escape from the castle in which she was locked up, she has to watch helplessly as her husband, surrounded by men, is shot by Christian with an arrow in a clearing. The press reported afterwards of a "hunting accident". Catherine leaves the castle with her children. The viewer notices that her son Jacques has already been initiated at least partially into the secrets of a head of the de Montfaucons by Père Dominic.


"Ballad horror film, staged with great atmosphere and excellently cast."

“[...] virtuoso photographed horror ballad about“ black magic ”. (Rating: 2½ stars, equal to "above average") "

- Lexicon "Films on TV".


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ The black 13th In: Lexicon of international film . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  2. ^ Adolf Heinzlmeier , Berndt Schulz : Lexicon "Films on TV". (Extended new edition). Rasch and Röhring, Hamburg 1990, ISBN 3-89136-392-3 , p. 726.