Cry of the Banshee
1970 Vincent Price
Cry of the Banshee is the story of a sidhe, and its devilish work to kill, and kill again to fulfill the terrible vengeance of an evil woman.
This woman, a Macbeth-like witch, called Oona (ELISABETH BERGNER), the high priestess of a heathen cult, wishes revenge against Lord Edward Whitman (VINCENT PRICE), an influential figure in the community and a tough, harsh magistrate who believes that authority, his authority, is the main part of the law. Whitman has been responsible for breaking up a temple of witchcraft at which two of Oona's children have been massacred.
Her curse is that he will pay for the two deaths until the last of his bloodline is in the grave. Her sidhe, an evil spirit, is called Roderick (PATRICK MOWER).
Years after the killings, Lord Edward's son, Harry (CARL RIGG), returns home after schooling at Cambridge to find that things have changed. An atmosphere of evil and madness has settled on the family home.
His father is as cruel as ever. His mother,
Lady Patricia (ESSE PERSSON), is a victim of some mental disorder, while his brother, Sea (STEPHEN CHASE), seems to have inherited all the rough justice that marked his father's judgments.
Only sister Maureen (HILARY DWYER), is at all likeable, and that, probably, because she is love with her father's stud groom.
She urgently begs her brother Harry to return as she is frightened by what is happening to the household. Harry returns with Father Tom (MARSHALL JONES), and a new parish priest.
After a weird and mystical religious rite, it seems as if he has succeeded, but then Oona calls on her sidhe to begin her revenge. Winds start to howl, lightning flashes and houses seem to tremble and vibrate as the banshees start their crying. Lady Patricia writhes again in agony as unknown forces prowl the dark of night. And when things grow quiet again, Sean Whitman is dead.
After the burial, Father Tom notices that Roderick wears a strange medallion. Perturbed by it, he seeks help from Harry and they discover it is a replica of graves in an ancient witches meeting place. The signs and symbols are those of the long-dead.
Before his suspicions amount to anything, Oona's vengeance strikes again. Once more the winds wail and the banshee spirits call out, and again death stalks the night.
This time it is Lady Patricia who is killed by the sidhe. When Edward goes to see her after the killing, he lifts the lid of her coffin and recoils in anguish. Lady Patricia, once beautiful, has aged in death. Her body looks a thousand years old, and her raven hair has turned white. She is a horrible sight.
Roderick, meanwhile, knows little of his life as a sidhe. When not wrecking the revenge of the banshees, he is quite normal, and, in fact, is making plans to marry Maureen. Their love is a hope for his future despite the dreams that trouble him, dreams of his other life as a being from beyond the grave.
Edward, however, discovers the youngsters making love in a stable, and beats Roderick, turning him eventually out of the house. Maureen flees, too, running to catch Roderick who has escaped to the woods where Oona and her fellow banshees practice their rites.
As she runs through the darkness, Oona calls for more revenge. Her necromancy brings Roderick back from the living to his state of evil, and the sidhe finds and attacks his lover.
As he is about to kill the girl, though, their love proves stronger than the harmful ways of the banshees. He lifts the barely conscious girl and carries her torn and bloody body to safety. Then he returns for one more killing.
And this time it is the body of Oona that he attacks. Oona's evil lives on, though, and when Father Tom goes to find Roderick, to cure him of the powers of magic he now knows have a hold on him, the sidhe turns on the priest and kills him, too. But in doing so, Roderick's body is also destroyed and vanishes to nothing.
It is all over. The banshee vengeance has been halted. But for Lord Edward, now alone, there are still horrible memories. And for Roderick, well, a sidhe has no death. It stays loose, roaming the regions of space and time with no body and no soul.