Satan’s Slave (1976)

aka Evil Heritage
Article 3248 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-11-2010
Posting Date: 7-6-2010
Directed by Norman J. Warren
Featuring Michael Gough, Martin Potter, Candace Glendenning
Country: UK
What it is: Devil worship/terrorized woman movie

A woman goes with her parents to visit an uncle she hasn’t seen in ages. When the parents die in a mysterious car accident, she is taken care of by the uncle and his son. Unfortunately, they have ulterior designs on the woman…

The first scene establishes there’s some devil worship going on. The second establishes that the son is a sadistic sexual deviant. The strange car accident establishes that something mysterious is going on. After these three scenes, we pretty much have the central situation set up, and, truth to tell, there’s not a whole lot of mystery about what sort of horror the woman is going to have to face before it’s all through. Still, there’s an awful lot of running time to fill up, so how does the movie fill it? Well, like so many bad movies of this sort, it fills it up with vagueness; we get lots of dropped hints about what’s going on, a romantic triangle subplot involving one of those characters who only exists in a movie like this to give the villains someone to kill, and lots of uninteresting chatter. If the goings-on were truly mysterious, this might work; unfortunately, since you have a good idea early on where the movie is going, the vagueness becomes more infuriating than compelling. Combine this with deliberate pacing, a misplaced emphasis on subtlety, dull direction, and an unexciting score, and you have one of the duller stretches of cinema that I’ve sat through. Even the scenes of gore and sex that pop up feel too detached to have any real power. Good touches here and there help, but even these don’t really lead anywhere new. All in all, this is one dull exercise in horror.


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