Rituals (1977)

rituals 1977 movie poster
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Good location, interesting story

Film is generally hard to find in good quality

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Rituals

Studio:  Astral Bellvue Pathe

Genre(s):  Horror/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  July 21, 1977 (Canada)/July 1978 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

rituals the lurker hal holbrook robin gammell

Just a walk in the woods…

Five doctors head into the Canadian wilderness for a weekend retreat but meet horror.  When their shoes disappear from their campsite, the group at first thinks it is a prank…but the prank suddenly turns deadly.  Now, the men realize they are being hunted and escaping the woods might be impossible.

Directed by Peter Carter, Rituals has gone by multiple names and is often known as The Creeper.  The film received relatively positive reviews but had a poor box office showing (though it has developed a cult following over the years).  The movie is in the public domain and can often be found in box sets.

Rituals is a direct descendant of Deliverance…but the actual horror version of it.  While Deliverance is one of the most horrifying dramas of all time, Rituals is a horror movie with some dramatic elements…but mostly it is “don’t go in the woods” horror.

rituals the lurker dead body

The woods suck

The plot for the movie is kind of interesting in that it starts out as a movie where the characters all think that the killer is seeking revenge on them for something they did as doctors.  As the movie progresses however and the attacks get more deadly, it becomes obvious that the killer is just deranged and hates doctors.

Hal Holbrook is the “star” of the movie (and allegedly was paid a lot more).  The rest of the cast is rather generic.  It is interesting to note that Robin Gammell plays a gay character.  He talks about not having a boyfriend and it is rather non-judgmental for a movie from this period.

rituals 1977 the lurker ending

One again, it is better just to sit in the road than try to do anything

The movie does look pretty good, but years of low budget versions of the movie means it is hard to find a nice clean copy.  The setting of the movie was shot in Batchawana Bay, Ontario, and the landscape looks great…I just wish that the budget versions you get of the film in multi-movie packs showed it off.

Rituals is a gritty movie that probably should have done better.  It could have had a bigger budget, it could have pushed it farther, and it could have been more actor driven, but on some levels the movie works.  I could see this film being remade with a bigger budget and more hardcore, and I don’t know that it would be a bad thing.  Survival films are popular now and this feels like an untapped “classic”.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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