Eye Of The Devil marked the official big-screen debut of actress Sharon Tate. Prior to her first movie role, Sharon Tate appeared in various TV shows like Mister Ed, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies. With Eye Of The Devil she joined an all-star cast of British talent, including David Niven, Deborah Kerr, and David Hemmings. The movie was also helmed by J. Lee Thompson who directed classic films like Cape Fear and The Guns of Navarone.
Niven and Kerr play a couple who own a vineyard in Eye Of The Devil, but the crops have fallen on bad times and it soon turns out a quite literal sacrifice might be needed to restore it. The movie was based on the novel Day Of The Arrow by author Robin Estridge, but the production hit a major problem when it was nearly finished shooting. Kim Novak (Vertigo) was originally cast in the Kerr role but towards the end of filming, she injured her back in a fall. When she returned a few weeks later, it was clear after a day of shooting she wasn't fully recovered. This left the production little choice but to recast, and the majority of the movie had to be reshot with Deborah Kerr.
Sharon Tate plays Odile de Caray in Eye Of The Devil, while David Hemmings plays her brother, Christian. Their roles in the film are important but relatively minor in terms of screentime. The movie was pitched as something of a star-making role for the actress too, but due to its delayed release, she had already made an impact in films like Don't Make Waves and The Fearless Vampire Killers.
Eye Of The Devil also has a key role for horror vet Donald Pleasence (Halloween), and while it wasn't much of a hit upon release, it later attracted a cult following for its eerie tone and Sharon Tate's performance. Its occult themes would later be explored in movies like The Wicker Man and Midsommar, especially in regards to their downbeat endings. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood recently reminded viewers of Tate's talent and celebrated her tragically short life. Even in her first true movie role in Eye Of The Devil, her talent was evident.
Eye Of The Devil isn't one of the better horror movies of its era, but its an effective and creepy chiller with a standout performance by Sharon Tate.