Sunday, June 20, 2010

Satan's Slave - 2.5/5

Oh the Satanic 70's. It seems that after the release of Rosemary's Baby in 1968 that nine out of ten horror films released throughout the next decade had major plot elements that revolved around Satan or a Satanic cult. Satan's Slave is just another film that fades into the background of this subgenre that was overtaken by high budget Hollywood films like The Exorcist and The Omen. Still how much can you expect from a film called "Satan's Slave" anyhow? Well to be completely honest the film came out being a lot better than it's silly title. Perhaps this is why distributors re-titled the film Evil Heritage for American release.

The film opens with a satanic ritual and then jumps to a young woman waking up from a nightmare. It seems that her and her parents are going to make a trip to visit her reclusive, yet wealthy uncle (genre great Michael Gough). While pulling up to the house, her father has some sort of seizure and crashes the car at a low speed. The car ends up exploding (in typical film fashion) killing her parents. Her uncle, who happens to be a retired doctor, takes her in for treatment and she decides to stay for while (despite having a worried boyfriend at home!). While there she befriends her creepy cousin and her uncle's assistant. All is well until she finds out her uncle is a Satanist and has plans to sacrifice her to resurrect some witch that was tortured and killed on the premises.

The film, for a low budget, is well made with a nice creepy British atmosphere and solid acting by the cast. The plot, despite having a slow start, also has some very irrational decisions by the characters and a "twist" ending that most viewers will see coming from mile away. First of all after the crash, our lead actress refuses to talk to police. Wouldn't she want to see what caused the explosion? She also doesn't question when her uncle decides to have a quick burial of her parents in his personal graveyard. She doesn't find this just a little bit peculiar? She also decides to stay at her uncle's for what seems to be like weeks without ever thinking that her boyfriend might want to see her after such a tragic event, god forbid he might want to go to her parents funeral! She even falls in love with her ultra creepy cousin! To top it off the twist ending just proves want an insanely gullible person she really is! I just don't get this character and her irrational decisions and actions made me scratch my head until it bled.

Perhaps if the script was better written for the character's decisions and motivations would this film come out as good as other British films in the Satan genre, like Hammer's The Devil Rides Out. As it is it is a solid British horror film with some good atmosphere and a little gore and nudity for exploitation fans but it will hardly shake the pillars of hell.

Written By Eric Reifschneider

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