BLOOD ON SATAN'S CLAW (1971)
posted 00/00/2008

Directed by:
Piers Haggard

Starring:
Patrick Wymark ... The Judge
Linda Hayden ... Angel Blake
Barry Andrews ... Ralph Gower
Michele Dotrice ... Margaret

Country: UK
Runtime: 93 min
   
   
   

While tilling the fields for the coming planting season, a young farm hand unearths the remains of a gruesome corpse (one where the only remaining bit of flesh is a perfectly preserved plastic eyeball with a maggot writhing on it). He runs to get the local judge, to tell him of this apparent witchery, but when they return they find the remains missing. It turns out that a young girl named Angel Blake stole the remains with some of her teen-aged friends and it starts to possess her. Meanwhile, a man's new bride is suddenly struck with madness when she hears noises in the attic, and there appears to be a hairy monster running around the small village, but all you see of it is its hand. But is it really there or is it all mass hallucination?

Angel and the rest of the teens soon lose themselves to the ways of Satanism and build a cult that contains the cliché creepy, old couple. They lure their young friends into the woods and pretend to play games with them, but in fact they kill them, sacrificing them to their dark lord. After two or three young people are found butchered in a brutal ways (and I suppose you can't butcher someone nicely), the local Squire and the Reverend start to catch on and realize that something is going on, especially with the children acting so bitchy. Angel tries to seduce the priest by getting naked for him, but he has the will of God, and denies her, forcing her to frame him for rape. He is about to get hung, when another body turns up, and the true culprit is named. Angel and her coven go into hiding immediately.

The judge from before returns with a new plan of attack. He knew something evil had been dug up in the field and has now been set loose on the village. He grabs a big-ass Anime-style sword and charges into the woods as the coven prepares to finally summon the devil and one can only guess its to rule the world or something. The judge and the torch-bearing farmers find the coven at a ruined church in the woods and they go to work. I won't spoil the ending for you, if any of what I have written has inspired you to see it, but I will say the ending isn't the blood-soaked massacre we were all hoping for.

This film taught me one thing. TCM shows boobies. I had no idea! This movie has at least three great nude scenes and wouldn't you know it, TCM left them in! God bless them! Of course, it probably helped that the film was aired late at night. Anyway, as British horror films go (and I do know how they go because I consider myself a fan), this one isn't half bad or boring. You've got a few interesting angles added to the good old devil worshiper plot and that helps the "Jane Austen"-like approach of the film. It's creepy, it's moody, and it features a Satan the likes of which you have never seen before. The scenes with the devil worshiping kids were especially eerie and I already think the British are eerie to begin with, so that may have helped. But all in all, this is a solid creep fest, which is perfect for a rainy night or a popcorn and candy fueled Halloween eve.

  - Jose Prendes

 

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