Class Reunion Massacre (1978)

aka The Redeemer: Son of Satan!
Article 3036 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-30-2009
Posting Date: 12-6-2009
Directed by Constantine S. Gochis
Featuring Damien Knight, Jeanetta Arnette, Nick Carter
Country: USA

Six alumni attend their tenth year class reunion, but are surprised to find they are the only ones there. However, they soon find they are locked in the building where the reunion is being held, and someone is knocking them off one by one.

This is a movie with a message, and therein lies the problem. Though on the surface it seems like your typical slasher film, the surrounding details are anything but routine. The murders have something to do with a boy who appears out of a lake and a preacher who sees evil in the hearts of several of the students who graduated from his school; these are the same students who attend the reunion. It obviously has something to say about religion, but I’m not quite sure whether it’s catering to religious fanaticism or criticizing it. The answer lies in the true nature of the boy from the lake; is he the “Son of Satan” (as one of the titles of this movie suggests) who has given the preacher the power to pursue his twisted sense of justice and redemption? Or is he a Christ figure (his name is Christopher) helping the preacher to take revenge on the sins of the world? Given that the “sins” of those attending the reunion don’t seem extreme enough to deserve this kind of justice (one is an athlete who’s a bit of a jerk, one is a woman who married a rich man, one is a criminal defense lawyer, one is gay, one is lesbian and one sleeps around), one is certainly not hoping gleefully for their demise. Furthermore, the first murder is committed against a man who isn’t even part of the class reunion. Overall, the message seems to be against the hypocrisy of the religion, but things are just a little too muddled to be clear. It would be interesting to hear commentary from the director and the writer, but neither of them seem to have made any other movies; yet, the movie does show a certain amount of professional polish. Could they be pseudonyms?

At any rate, if the movie has a big problem beyond the message, it’s that some of the dialogue is just plain weird; some of the patter made by the inspector feels like a bizarre stream-of-consciousness diatribe, and the murderer’s various guises are occasionally long-winded, incomprehensible and boring. Some of the characters are stereotypes, particularly the gay actor. Some moments are quite interesting; I like the way the movie will occasionally clue you in to what is happening with very few words being spoken.

Still, in some ways, this is one of those movies that will get you thinking about it, whatever its quality.

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