Satan’s Slave (1976)

Well hey there!  It’s another Norman J. Warren joint!

If you’ve been around the site for a while, you know I’m a fan.  Prey is a good little home invasion story that is wrapped up in an alien invasion story – that also features lesbians.  Terror is a fun supernatural flick that has a vengeful witch – that may or may not have included a near miss for a fat guy on a train to have sex with a really pretty British lady.  Bloody New Year is just…  Well, it’s just bonkers, silly fun – that also happens to include an experimental plane that broke time and space.

Satan’s Slave is the first horror film that Warren made that pre-dates all of the above mentioned greatest hits.  As it turns out, it’s not the first of his films I covered in 2020 and it won’t be the last.  That said, I should maybe hold up because I’m quickly running out of his movies!

Satan’s Slave was rather successful.  When it was released, it did play as part of double features, tending to be the “B” feature of the duo.  That said, it was commercially successful.  Enough so that it funded Warren’s next bigger film, TerrorPrey fell in between but considering there is literally only three main characters and two characters who got killed after a single scene, I suspect Warren financed that with the change in his pocket and a few pieces of belly button lint.  Satan’s Slave ultimately found itself released and re-released five times throughout the latter half of the 70s.

Critically, it divides people.  Most, though, definitely agree that this is the most conventional of Warren’s filmography.  It would be hard to disagree with that knowing his films as well as I do.  Some find a lot of thematic comparisons to the glut of post-Rosemary’s Baby occult films.  Not only that, but many feel the film plays with generation gap type of themes while still mixing somewhat cliched things like the “road to nowhere” and Gothic tones that Hammer Films relied heavily upon in their horror movies.  Some even compare the film to works of Jess Franco.

So yeah, let’s watch some motherfuckin’ Norman J. Warren!

Look at that title card.  That is fuckin’ rad.  It shows other things during the credits like a cross, a Tarot card for “The World”, and brings back ol’ Skelly here before finally closing out and taking us to a bitchin’ black mass with a guy wearing a goat mask.  They plan to sacrifice a sexy blonde as the “vessel of reversal” which sounds weird, but no less ominous when a guy in a fucking goat mask says it.  Right about 3 minutes in, we see the girls’ boobs, and she begins to writhe around like she’s having an orgasm.

And she is…  She’s being sexed up by Satan or some other devilish thing.  Her eyes bleed and I really thought she was meant to birth an anti-Christ or something, but that’s not what’s going on at all.  More on that in a bit.

Later, a young lady having dinner at a stately manor with some guy.  She realizes it is quite late and he’s given her just enough wine to make her think that maybe staying there for the night is a good idea.  He shows her to a bedroom and she lies on the bed saying that she’s had too much wine.  That must be all he needs to hear because he goes right for her boobs.  He kisses her, gropes her, she fights…  He tries smothering her with a pillow, but that only makes her maybe pass out?  With her incapacitated, he gags her and ties her feet down.

Then he goes for the scissors to cut her clothes off.  That’s something I notice a lot of guys in these movies do…  They tie someone down and then forget that they are still clothed.  So now they have to find scissors to take the clothing off.  He very nearly decides to cut off a nipple.  But then he moves the scissors down to her vagina and maybe penetrates her with them?  Egads!

You know what he forgot to do?  Tie her hands.  So she gets free and he tells her to get out.  So she makes her way downstairs in the dark mansion and to the door.  She unlocks the door opens it, is about to go through to her freedom, but…

Scissors McFucktwat here just smashes her head with the door.

A lady comes home and discovers with Scissors did but doesn’t seem to say anything.  Cut to the city and the apartment of John, the boyfriend of our lovely leading lady, Catherine Yorke, played by Candace Glendenning.  John laments her going to meet her uncle Alexander (Batman‘s Michael Gough) for a week.  While she’s gone, her birthday will have come and pass.  John gives her a bracelet that belonged to his mother.

Catherine rides to her uncle’s place with her mother and father.  They knew he lived in somewhere remote, but had no idea exactly how remote.  It’s a couple hundred miles outside London.  We’re getting into that good old fashioned middle of nowhere trope.  Well, there’s something else that happens.

Catherine has these weird visions.  In fact, her visions is the whole reason why she wants to go see her uncle because he’s somehow connected to them.  When she and her parents get near Alexander’s house, her father has a sudden, stinging headache that causes him to crash the car into a tree.  She gets out to go get help for her mother who looks to be in pretty bad shape.  I mean, I’m no doctor, but a bleeding face with eyes open and fairly non-responsive really doesn’t sound good.  As she goes to the house, suddenly the car explodes killing her parents.

Now…  If you know your British horror from the 60s and 70s, then you know Michael Gough, whose house Catherine is at now, is rarely a good guy.  You know he’s probably up to no good.  Especially with that cookie duster mustache he’s sportin’.  However, what’s more, his secretary, Frances, is the lady that came home the night before, and his son is Scissors McFucktwat!  Well, I guess Scissors’ real name is Stephen.  Whatever, close enough.

Either way, Catherine’s not in a good place.

So Frances and Stephen have a bizarre relationship.  Apparently they maybe fuck around secretly?  She demands, rather violently, that he leave his cousin Catherine alone.  The guy does weird shit with women, so maybe she thinks, rather rightfully so, that maybe he wants to play a little house with his pretty cousin.  She teases him, defies him, belittles him.  He might be into that because he then kisses her.  Look, dude, I get it.  I’m all for a little belittlement and cucking for the occasional foreplay.

The next morning, Catherine wakes up and realizes that, oops, life is shit.  Alexander is there to comfort her and tells her to stay there for as long as she wants.  He wants her to think of him as her uncle, her father, and her doctor who wants her to feel better.  Now…  I’d be asking why Michael Gough here is talking real calm, smiling, and seems unfazed by his brother’s death.

Eh, what do I know?  There’s no possibly way that Alexander has planned for all this to happen.  And there is absolutely no freakin’ way he was that guy in the bitchin’ goat mask at the beginning of the movie.  No siree.  No chance.

Alexander claims that the police said that her father left the ignition on.  That must of ignited the fuel that led to the explosion.  What’s more, he says he’s not delaying the funeral or whatever any longer.  They are going to bury her parents in the private family graveyard this afternoon.  So, there you go!  That’s all nice and tidy, ain’t it?

Stephen takes Catherine on a tour of the grounds.  She notices that the car is completely missing.  It’s as if it was never there at all.  He says that the police took the car.  I think she’s only been asleep for like 12 hours.  So shit got done quick I suppose.  Stephen tells Catherine that his father doesn’t really like him much.  He’s always gone on and on about his brother’s daughter and that the reason why Alexander didn’t like him was that he always wanted a daughter.  He felt that his brother always had the daughter Alexander deserved.

Stephen asks Catherine about her premonitions.  This comes after he almost told her about what happened here on the grounds of their big ass home.  She gets some ooky spooky feelings and she wants to return to the house, but Stephen won’t take her back.  She gets a strange feeling around a stump in the wooded part of the grounds and sees a flashback of a woman who was tied to a tree, branded with crosses, and flogged.

When she comes to, Stephen is nowhere to be found.  He’s back in the house.  He claims he left for the house and he thought she was following but wasn’t.  She tells him she saw in her vision the car accident, but it wasn’t her parents that were burning, it was her.  Her parents are buried that afternoon.  As she cries at their graves, she sees the wind blowing in the trees.  When she follows it, she finds the grave stone of Camilla Yorke.  As time passes, much to Alexander’s delight and Frances’ dismay, Catherine and Stephen become close.

You know…  I predicted it a little bit earlier:

Yeah, so here things get a little interesting.  First, Frances says that she will not be rejected permanently.  Second, while Stephen leaves with Catherine, Frances does a little snooping around the house.  Third, Stephen and Catherine drive out to the country where they sit in the backseat of his car and have wine.  As they do that, her boyfriend John breaks a glass in the sink which causes the palm of his hand to get cut.  Meanwhile, having stolen the bracelet he gave Catherine, Alexander uses it in a little black magic ceremony that first drives John a little batty in the elevator of his London apartment building, then causes him to commit suicide by jumping off the top of his building.  It’s pretty gross too.  You see his head smash in and the bones in his leg pop out of his skin!

Fuckin’ A, Norman J.!

Okie dokie, so now there’s no boyfriend to tie Catherine down anymore.  No parents to tell her that maybe she shouldn’t fuck around with her cousin or they will have goat-headed babies…  Oh.  Touché, movie.

Catherine comes home with Stephen and Alexander scolds his son for the wine that accidentally spilled on her skirt.  Catherine defends Stephen but Alexander says he will speak to his son about this later.  Alexander tells her that she is running a fever and she needs another good night’s sleep so they can start again with her healing tomorrow.  He basically drugs her to make her sleep.

Catherine dreams about a ritual and…

Dem tittaes.

This movie is relatively titty crazy and I like it.  Anyway, in this ritualistic dream, the one naked girl lays on an altar while the other naked girl touches her and draws a pentagram on her belly with blood.  After the one naked girl kisses the naked girl on the altar, the naked girl on the altar is sacrificed.  Next, Catherine is the naked girl on the altar with snakes slithering around her belly.

Catherine wakes up and Stephen comes to her aid.  She tells Stephen that she doesn’t quite understand why his father says it’s only shock when it feels different.  He asks if she’s frightened of him.  She says no, so he goes in for that incest shit like a fuckin’ backwoods hillbilly champ!  And they really go at it, too.  But while they do, for the whole movie I felt that the actress playing Catherine, Candace Glendenning, reminded me of someone.  I was getting some pretty heavy vibes from someone.  I figured it out.  She’s like the sexy, sexy love child of Lynda Carter and Margot Kidder.  It gives me something sexy to think about while still watching the incest happen in the movie.

Catherine wants to leave to get back to normal life, and she wants Stephen to go with her.  Knowing Stephen and Alexander don’t really like each other, she thinks that all he will have to do is ask and he’ll let them leave together.  Stephen says that it isn’t so simple because he is the only family his father has.  Meanwhile, Frances watches on and stews.  Alexander says he always admired how she could suffer in silence.  He asks her if Stephen is really worth the pain.

Catherine wants to call John to tell him that it’s over between them.  I… Hmmm.  He’s going to ask why.  She’s going to tell him she met someone new.  He’s going to say, “But you went to your family’s estate.”  And she’s going to have to admit to that.  Therefore, it seemingly would lead him to be quite fine with it realizing that the only people she met was family.

Okay, Catherine calls John’s number, but a woman answers and says that he’s gone away for a few days and to call back then.  She doesn’t say who she is, but we know it’s Frances.  Things are in a bit of a pickle because of Stephen’s little pickle.  Because he’s made her feel better with that sexual healing, she now wants to leave.  Alexander is pissed because he needs her for some sort of ceremony that he needs her for… on her birthday.  Stephen kind of getting in the way, and giving her reason to want to leave, well, it might ruin everything.

Frances tells Catherine that everything she’s experienced is due to Camilla’s power.  Alexander and Stephen are pretty into necromancy.  Alexander sacrificed his own wife, at the beginning of the movie, in an attempt to bring Camilla back to life and make her the High Priestess of his coven…  I assume a coven of cookie dusting mustache dudes.  Stephen witnessed this as a child and that’s why he’s into killin’ ladies and being cruel to them and stuff.  Oh and John is dead too.  Oh and she fucked her cousin who likes to kill ladies.

Frances is tasked with keeping Catherine safe, but she’s spilling the whole plan of how Alexander needs her to attempt to bring Camilla and so forth.  Now, I have to suspect that Frances is doing this to, what, keep Stephen for herself by ruining the plans?  I hope she plans on killing Alexander in all this too because I’m not too sure that ruining the plans will turn out all that well for her.

Anyway, that night, dinner is awkward.  No one is talking to anyone.  Catherine knows what Alexander is up to.  Alexander is pissed at Stephen.  Frances wants Stephen for herself.  Catherine just heard some pretty wild shit from Frances.  Alexander notices that Catherine is always looking at the clock as if she’s waiting for something…  Well, it’s just awkward.

Catherine feigns sleepiness and goes to her room.  Stephen comes to her and he tries to hold her and put a little of that sex onto her, but she’s like, get lost, dude.  Stephen picks up on the awkwardness, gets mad, and leaves.  He goes to Frances’ room where he finds some papers about Stephen in her purse when she was snooping around earlier.  She says she was being blackmailed and stuff, but he kills her.

This leaves Catherine in a pretty iffy situation.  She’s all dressed up with nowhere to go.  I mean, she has somewhere to go, but no one to take her.  She goes looking for Frances and finds her hanging on the door with a knife through her head.  From the darkness, Stephen comes out and knocks Catherine out.  Catherine is locked in her room and Alexander and Stephen dig up Camilla’s coffin and bring her to an altar.

Alexander and Stephen come to get Catherine.  It’s the morning of her 20th birthday, and that’s how old Camilla was when she died, so, you know… Math and shit says this will work.  In the woods, they find some hooded dudes waiting for them.  They go to that stump where Catherine had that vision that freaked her out the other day, and they prep it for the big event.

Catherine, who had a nail file from trying to pick the lock on her bedroom door, stabs Stephen in the eye with it.  She takes off running and Alexander has his hooded goons follow.  She runs right into… her father?  She tries to say he’s dead, but he slaps her to snap her out of her shock.  He says that only Catherine was injured.  She hit her head.  Everything is a-ok.  He says they only got there the day before.  They go into the house and there sits Alexander who worries about her state of being.

She tells her uncle that she must have just had an extraordinary dream, but she won’t tell him what it is.  Alexander says she should call John to tell him she’s coming home.  He tells her to go behind the curtain where she finds Stephen’s body.  She tries to run out of the house but she’s surrounded by hooded guys and then, her father, who appears to be some sort of Grand Poobah of the coven closes in on her.  She screams, and we get one more look at that bitchin’ goat head mask.

Aw man…  Just look at that thing.  That’s fuckin’ sweet.

This is a pretty good movie.  It probably is right there in the running for the best of the Warren filmography.  I do find it funny that it is deemed the most “normal” of the Norman J. Warren flicks.  I suppose it is.  After all, Terror had that subplot with the witch possibly possessing the cousin (again with cousin familial ties) of the guy who seems to be the focus of the revenge.  Prey had the lesbian couple which was, in truth, a really abusive relationship.  As I mentioned before, Bloody New Year has that ghost story but also that time travel thing going on…

Yeah, I suppose the movie with a bitchin’ goat head mask for black masses and the incredible amount of bare tits and the whole incest thing really is his most normal movie.

That wraps up this week’s B-Movie Enema.  Next week, we’re revisiting yet another favorite director on this site, Brett Piper.  Sometime ago, I talked about the really fun little apocalyptic sci-fi flick Battle for the Lost Planet.  Well, there’s a sequel made a few years after that.  So that’s what I’ll be discussing next week – Mutant War!

 

P.S. When I stopped the movie, I had it paused on the final image of the goat mask.  Well, PowerDVD holds that image in the dashboard thingy so that you can click Resume and go right back to that moment.  It holds the image so you know what you are about to jump back into.  It just created the most awesome desktop background image I’ve ever seen…

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