Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Short Cuts: Blood on Satan's Claw (1971)

After Michael Reeves scored big with the remarkable Witchfinder General (a.k.a. The Conqueror Worm), a whole slew of "witch hunt" films burned up the screens and gave horror fans the world over plenty to get fired-up over. Piers Haggard's film is one of the better ones. But unlike Witchfinder General, which eschewed any kind of supernatural motives to the proceedings, Satan's Claw thrusts the viewer into a demon-haunted world where the Devil truly stalks the earth and uses a gaggle of 17th century teenagers to further His diabolical ambitions. With its rich sense of atmosphere and sometimes startling imagery--the possessed youth manifest demonic scales on their flesh--the film only wavers at the end when the Devil actually makes an appearance. He may be the Prince of the Infernal, but when burdened by a low-budget He simply looks like a wet, two-legged yak. Or a monkey. Or something wet and ridiculous. Anyway . . . Satan's Claw is always interesting and should be a must-see for any true horror film connoisseur. And watch out for the very sexy Linda Hayden, who portrays the deliciously satanic Angel Blake. Think the looks of Baby Spice mixed with the soul of a Manson girl and you'll sort of get an idea of what I'm talking about. But perhaps I'm divulging too much about what makes my heart all a flutter.

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