November 19, 1979 12:00 PM

Poor Katharine Ross. She graduated summa in 1967, raindrops began falling on her head two years later and before you know it, she turned into a Stepford wife. With this sorry bit of satanism, Ross proves that her career has—in more ways than one—gone to the Devil. As an American designer, Ross and her boyfriend, played by Sam Elliott, fetch up at a posh English estate after a minor motorcycle accident. Sound like a haunted house movie parody? No such luck. One guest is roasted alive and then thrown to the dogs. The Who’s Roger Daltrey undergoes a fatally unsuccessful tracheotomy performed by a sinister nurse, Margaret Tyzack, who literally creeps around on little cat’s paws. The Devil makes them do it, of course, but this is Lucifer at his lousiest. Director Richard Marquand is hopelessly unsubtle, the screenplay ridiculous even by the standards of the genre. Not since The Exorcist has the Devil been given his due, yet filmmakers milk the same old theme. Whatever possesses them? (R)

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