This weekend I recorded an episode of THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR called The Sign of Satan. Originally broadcast on May 8, 1964, I was excited to find it starred none other than Christopher Lee, and was based on a story by Robert Bloch. Promising!
As the story unfolded I suddenly realized I had read this story - it was from the July, 1938 issue of WEIRD TALES - which was an especially excellent issue featuring works from Bloch, H.P. Lovecraft, Henry Kuttner, Robert Howard, Seabury Quinn, E. Hoffman Price and more. A veritable who's who of Weird Fiction!
The story concerns studio executives who stumble across a foreign horror film that is so realistic it leaves them speechless. They decide they have to have the star, Karl Jorla, in their picture. And they get more than they bargained for, as the scenes depicted in the film were that of an actual black mass, and were never meant for public consumption. Jorla is in fear of retribution from the Satanic cult members.
The screenplay for the Hitchcock show was written by Barré Lyndon, who wrote the screenplays for a number of films and TV shows, including WAR OF THE WORLDS 1953, The Lodger 1944, and Dark intruder 1965. Interestingly, he also wrote the screenplay for an episode of Boris Karloff's THRILLER I recorded this weekend too called YOURS TRULY JACK THE RIPPER.
Definitely worth tracking down if you get the chance, this is one genre fans - and Lee fans - will want to see. The TV adaptation falls short of the story it's based on, however - but, truth be told, Bloch's evocative writing would be hard to match. You can check out the story for yourself for free on archive.org