Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Satan's Slave (1976)

As the 70's went on, the Satanic scare genre brought forth by "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Exorcist" was going strong, with films like "The Omen" and "The Blood on Satan's Claw" making people scared of the devil and his followers. Then there's those movies that have gone mostly ignored or dismissed. The latter case goes to Norman J. Warren's take on the genre "Satan's Slave", which mixes Euro-Sleaze inspired exploitation to the mix, but still somehow comes up short.

Cathy Yorke (Candace Glenndenning) has come to the countryside to spend some time with her uncle Alexander (Michael Gough.) However, strange events start occurring, and what do you know, there's a cult of Satan worshipers on the prowl. Also, Cathy and her cousin Stephen (Martin Potter) have a thing going on.

Fans of exploitation should get a kick out of some of "Satan's Slave." Apart from the incest, there's also some choice violence (including some nasty eyeball trauma), tons of nudity, torture, Satanic acts and other nasty things in the movie. Unfortunately, it ends up feeling like there isn't enough. For all the sleaze on display, "Slave" feels like a movie directed on autopilot. Warren directs much of it like it were a more adult version of a television movie, meaning that few of the visuals have much of an impact. Sure, there's some memorable moments, but you also have to sit through what feels like hours of talk to get to them.

It also doesn't help that the whole thing feels like it was written by people who don't know how to make a good horror or exploitation movie. There's some interesting ideas going on here, but they are rarely touched on, and usually end up falling through the abundant holes in the script. Plus, you really don't care about anyone's fate in this movie, because nobody is written well. People go from being tough and independent to being weak and powerless in the drop of a hat.

It's a shame the end result doesn't hold up, because the exploitation elements at least keep you from losing total interest, the acting is better than usual (Gough in particular is good), the score is effective and the cult itself is pretty creepy. However, the bad outweighs the good here, and in the end it feels like you are watching something that should be more entertaining than it actually is.

Rating: 5/10

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