Director – Norman J. Warren (Horrorplanet, Bloody New Year)
Starring – Michael Gough (Batman, Sleepy Hollow), Martin Potter (The Outsides, Doctor Who), and Candace Glendenning (Flesh and Blood, Angels)
Release Date – 1976
Rating – 3/5
Blu Release – 4/5
Tagline – “It’s Catherine’s Birthday. You’re invited to her torture party”
My heart will always belong to 80s cinema but I do have a soft spot for the Satanic cult films of the 60s, 70s, and early 80s. The British really took the idea and ran with it. They created so many unforgettable films Satanic horror films with my favorite being The Devil Rides Out.
A few months ago Vinegar Syndrome released the 1976 film Satan’s Slave on blu. I was distracted by life and completely forgot about the release and was sad to discover that the film release with the sleeve had sold out. I was just about to buy the regular blu when a friend of mine gave me his copy because he knows I collect Vin Syn releases. Glad to add this one to my collection with the sleeve.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows Catherine (Glendenning) who is visiting her estranged uncle with her father and mother. When they arrive at his estate they are involved in an automobile accident resulting in the car exploding with her being the only survivor. He uncle and cousin take her in and everything seems fine at first but soon her uncle begins acting weird with her while her cousin shows interest in her sexually. When she tries to leave she finds herself constantly being stopped from leaving until her uncles real intentions are revealed and they need her to be part of a human sacrifice. **Spoiler Alert**
I was very excited to check this one out as I said earlier. I have a huge soft spot for Satanic cult flicks and this is one I had never seen before. The movie was not as fun as I was hoping but it still entertained.
The acting in this one is hit or miss. I liked Candace Glendenning and Michael Gough’s characters and their performance. These two really made the movie as fun as it is but the remainder of the cast was a little goofy to watch. I really did not like Martin Potter’s performance. His character was extremely bland and lacked personality. I get the type of character he was going for but his performance fell flat.
The story for this one is has a lot of potential but it just doesn’t reach it. We get a movie with great atmosphere but no thrills. We get a weird cousin loving cousin angle with a much darker uncle sacrificing niece story but they both fail to reach their full potential. Then the movie ends with the cheapest ending in horror movie history. It was like they ran out of time or funding to give the viewer a proper ending with closure.
Finally, if you want blood and gore you wont find it here. The film has great atmosphere and I loved the sets and locations but the effects are minimal if we get any at all. A little bright red blood here and a glass shard in the eye gag there but that’s it. Overall, Satan’s Slave is an entertaining late 70s Satanic panic flick but does have plenty of room for improvement. I suggest grabbing this one on blu now from Vin Syn.
Newly scanned & restored in 4k from 35mm negative elements
Audio commentary with director Norman J. Warren & composer John Scott
Audio commentary with film historians Samm Deighan & Kat Ellinger
“Creating Satan” – making-of featurette
“All You Need is Blood” – archival making-of featurette
“Devilish Music” – composer John Scott on his score for Satan’s Slave
“Fragment” – a short film written & directed by Norman J. Warren
Multiple theatrical trailers
Multiple deleted scenes
Reversible cover artwork
English SDH subtitles