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The Heritage of “Satan’s Slave”

Satan’s Slave
Year: 1976
Genre: Horror
Director: Norman J. Warren
Stars: Michael Gough, Martin Potter, Candace Glendenning

A young girl is caught up in a devil cult run by her evil uncle and cousin. She can trust no one and even people she thought were dead comes back to haunt her.

Continuing with the Pure Terror DVD Box set next up is Satan’s Slave (also known as Evil Heritage), a satanic story from the 1970s.  While typical of its genre it does have some things worth taking a look at.

Strange Beginnings

satans slave 1Satan’s Slave opens with exactly the type of thing one expects when watching a satanic horror film.  We’ve got the whole ceremony deal with the devil worshipers in masks and robes saying all their spooky “Hail Satan” incantations.  There is a naked girl on the altar, screaming as they sacrifice her to the devil.  It’s effective, I’ll give it that.  Nothing I haven’t seen before but I’ve seen far worse.  It didn’t quite impress me as a great opening though.  In fact the first time I nearly fell asleep because I found it so typical – I’ve seen plenty of Satanic horror films before and there have been more than a few on this box set.  It didn’t really jump out and grab me..  The following scene, however…

This sacrifice isn’t the only thing going on in the opening.  Sure we have our credits but then we meet this young man named Stephen (m=Martin potter) relaxing at home with a girl he’s brought.  They exchange a few pleasantries before deciding “Hey, let’s take this to the bedroom.”  Bad decision on her part because he tries to rape her.  The girl manages to get away for a little bit only for Stephen to catch up and bash her head in with the front door.  It’s a Fulci-esque gore sequence and I loved it.

satans slave 2

So What’s the Story?

satans slave 3Young Catherine (Candace Glendenning) is going on a trip with her parents to meet an uncle she’s never heard of before.  Strangely, she doesn’t find this peculiar in the slightest.  Her father has a wealthy brother that she’s never heard about – a cousin she never knew existed.   She is a wee bit psychic and has an eerie feeling about what this trip may have in store, but she doesn’t pay heed.  She goes off with her family and when they arrive at her uncle’s estate, Dad immediately runs the car into a tree and it explodes, killing both of her parents.  It’s an interesting moment – not as campy as you would think  and is pretty startling.   It certainly caught me off guard though, as the story progressed I feel this scene should have, perhaps, been something else.

As Catherine struggles to mentally recover from what she just witnessed she stays with her uncle Alexander (Michael Gough) and his family.  This cousin she’s never met is Stephen from the beginning of the movie and while we know that he is crazy and spends most of the movie acting just like that, Catherine never picks up it.  Oh her psychic abilities let her see that there have been all kinds of satanic ceremonies on these grounds over the centuries, and she has flashes of naked young girls being slaughtered but she never quite puts two and two together.  It is quite clear to the audience that this family loves Satan and that Catherine is destined to be their next sacrifice.  It’s rather irritating to see how obvious this all is and how she can’t pick up on a single bit of it until it is too late.  While the first 20 minutes are pretty intriguing – the movie quickly becomes pretty dull and drags itself along to a rather predictable twist ending.

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Cast and Crew Stuff

satans slave 5The only actor that really stood out in my opinion was Michael Gough.  He was also on another one of the British horror films in this DVD collection (Crucible of Terror) and he’s kind of playing the same character here as he did in that film – only this time he has a mustache.  He’s not a bad actor and is mostly remembered for playing the role of Alfred in the Batman movies throughout the 90s.  Interesting to note that an actor I’ve seen twice now as the villain in British horror films would go on to play such a kindly character.   The rest of the cast, however, are only worth mentioning to note how bland they are.

More notable would be the director, Norman J Warren, whom I am a bit more familiar with.  He did a few of great B-movies in both the horror and sci-fi genre earning himself the title of “cult director.”Both Bloody New Year and Horror Planet (aka Inseminoid).  While Satan’s Slave is not the greatest horror film around it certainly would have fared worse under different direction.

I really don’t have a whole lot to say about Satan’s Slave.  It’s not bad but it’s definitely something I’m not going to remember for a long time.  It’s a typical satanic horror film with no notable performances.  There is the okay twist ending but it’s so telegraphed that it fails to stun.  Pretty “meh” flick overall.  However I’m more than halfway through this box set.  There’s been good and there’s been bad and there’s been Satan’s Slave stuck here in the middle.

About The Author
Matthew Coats
Matthew Coats
Formerly known under the pseudonym of Alex Jowski. Site owner, movie aficionado, and film school grad. Matthew Coats presents reviews, some written, some as vlogs, and some as weekly shows, for a variety of different movies and television shows. After years of struggling to get his own projects off the ground amidst the normal routine of living, Matthew Coats decided to create a site in order to share and promote movie reviews, video games and much much more from talented and original people all across the internet.

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