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Retro Revolution Records

Exploitation Cinema Terror / Satan's Slave DVD

Exploitation Cinema Terror / Satan's Slave DVD

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Exploitation Cinema Terror / Satan's Slave DVD

This double-feature DVD includes two 1970s exploitation flicks from British director Norman J. Warren: SATAN'S SLAVE (1976) and TERROR (1978). Both films were penned by David McGillivray, who also scripted two excellent films--HOUSE OF WHIPCORD (1974) and FRIGHTMARE (1974)--from the better-known director of British horror and exploitation, Pete Walker.

SATAN'S SLAVE, the weaker of these two films, stars beautiful Candace Glendenning as a young woman who is the descendant of a powerful and evil witch. After her parents are killed in a suspicious accident, she goes to live with an uncle and his son, and soon after she discovers that her relatives plan to sacrifice her during a ritual that will resurrect her infamous ancestor.

While the acting is okay and the directing adequate, the script for SATAN'S SLAVE is rather uneven and the plot is overly convoluted and hard to follow. As an exploitation horror flick, however, this film delivers the goods with plenty of gratuitous nudity and numerous gore shots that include a smashed head, a bloody suicide, and a gruesome eyeball stabbing.

The second film, TERROR, is the actual highlight of this double feature. It opens as a mob of medieval villagers capture a fleeing witch and attempt to burn her at the stake. The witch calls upon satanic forces to rescue her from her the flames, and as she escapes, she places a curse upon the descendants of the noblewoman who incited the villagers to rise up against her. This entire scene is then revealed to be the ending of a horror film, and the filmmaker claims that the story is based upon true events from his own family history. He and his female cousin, he says, are the last descendants of the noblewoman whose family was cursed by the witch. Naturally, there is skepticism among the audience for whom he has just screened the film. But at a wrap party later that evening, the filmmaker's cousin falls into a trance and attacks him with a sword...and he and his cousin begin to worry that the family curse just might be real after all.

Like the other film on this DVD, TERROR has a fair amount of female nudity--the stripper in the nightclub scene is especially eye-popping--and lots of outré gore. But this film also has a logical, comprehensible story line that is bolstered by strong performances and able directing, and the exceptional production design and cinematography create an ambiance that is exponentially eerier than that of SATAN'S SLAVE. Indeed, hardcore horror fans will recognize the distinct influence of giallo master Dario Argento on this film, especially in regards to atmosphere and gore.

This double-feature DVD offers both films at their original theatrical aspect ratios (enhanced for 16x9 TVs), and though the prints used for the transfers aren't in perfect condition, the images are very good and the soundtracks are fairly crisp and clear. Bonus materials on the DVD include a handful of trailers for other 1970s-era grindhouse and exploitation films, as well as a "grindhouse experience" option that allows you to watch both films back-to-back with concession-stand adverts and trailers inserted therein. It's almost like being in one of Manhattan's 42nd Street theaters back in the grindhouse heyday.

Mint Used DVD (Rare)

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