This blog will be all over the place in the world of horror films and exploitation cinema. I will cover pop culture Redbox films, common Netflix streams, underground films of which you’ve probably never heard, and indie films that filmmakers send my way. This means I will cover many different sub-genres as well. My favorite films tend to come from the eighties. There is tons of nostalgia for me when it comes to this era. When it comes to sub-genres, I’m a zombie guy. If you want to talk about seventies exploitation, I’m a pretty big fan of cannibal and women in prison films. My review today looks at an area of filmmaking that was pretty repetitive. The satanic films all were very similar in content and plot. But so were the films of almost every other sub-genre, so who am I to hate. Today’s review will cover Satan’s Slave, one of the lesser known films of this genre.
I do need to mention one thing that is blowing my mind, before getting into the review. I am very quickly learning that Amazon Instant Video actually has a great variety of films. You really just need to know where to look. Once you watch a few films, of course, the computer will begin recommending tons of films you never thought would appear on Amazon Instant Video. I have found some of the more difficult to find slashers, like The House on Sorority Row. I was also really surprised at what I found in the world of exploitation films. I found films like Satan’s Slave (Warren), Kidnapped (Bava), The Black Klansman (Mikels), The Emperor Caligula: The Untold Story (D’Amato), and more. Since I have a love-hate relationship with Netflix, Amazon looks like the next service where I decide to hang around for a while. Now, let’s move onto Satan’s Slave, a 1976 film also known as Evil Heritage.
Norman J. Warren is a British director known for Horror Planet, Bloody New Year, and Evil Heritage. Evil Heritage is also known as Satan’s Slave. Although this film is nothing amazing, it does a good job of working with what was available at the time. Like every movie involving satanic rituals, it has some pretty cool scenes of twisted forest-based satanic rites and human sacrifice. Since it is also a grindhouse/exploitation film from the seventies, it has a pretty decent amount of nudity.
If you have seen any films from this era with any form of the word Satan in the title, you probably have a pretty good idea of what is in store for you. This story involves a young girl that has to stay in a huge, and possibly haunted, mansion. She is staying with weird relatives that do create a sense of intrigue. Sadly, the intrigue usually just ends up being overshadowed by bad acting. There is some pretty crazy stuff going on with this family though. For instance, one character does enjoy torturing women. He will provide the most memorable scene of the film, involving sex and scissors.
Outside of the house, our protagonist seems to become the target of a satanic cult, in which her family members are involved. Like every film of this type, you need a young girl to sacrifice for Satan. It is these scenes that have some decent gore and nice dark imagery. At times, however, the scenes of Satanism seem haphazardly tossed together. To me, it seems that editing is a major issue in the film. Things happen randomly and almost for no reason at all. It’s like the filmmakers could tell the pacing was slow, so they quickly threw in a scene with a naked chick surrounded by Satanists. Aside from the editor, whoever was doing the music was pretty weak too. The soundtrack stood out to me in no way whatsoever. So just like the special effects, I believe this was probably a budgetary issue. Like many B-movies, this film seems rushed together and pushed out for release. Although this is not always a bad thing, it does create a somewhat repetitious viewing experience. As long as you aren’t watching two satanic cult movies from the seventies every single night, you will probably be fine with checking this movie out.
Overall, I would give it a 6/10. This film is widely hated upon by reviewers, but I will give it the benefit of the doubt. It does have decent kills, although the effects were lacking. It has good-looking girls, nudity, and mildly frightening scenes of ritualistic torture. It also has that damn scissor scene. In fact, it is probably the scissor scene that keeps this film out of the 5/10 range for me. It barely falls into the scoring range that I believe most people should try to watch. Obviously, a younger reader of this blog probably will not appreciate the positive aspects of this film, and the time period in which it was made. A fan of grindhouse, exploitation, and horror cinema from the seventies, however, will probably have a really great time with this film. I found myself in between these two groups of viewers. This is probably because I fall in between their age ranges as well. Since it was free on Amazon, I was also okay with my cost/entertainment ratio. This film also made me realize that even though it is not my favorite sub-genre, it has unlocked tons of free films that I will be busy “researching” for free on Amazon this summer.
It is also very affordable on a double-feature DVD from Amazon: