Wicked Wednesday: The Hypnotist (2001)

Siblings can be a real pain. My sisters and I like to bicker and judge each other, but at least they never tried to get me committed to an asylum. At least that I know of.

William, Charles and Beatrice Cooke are the children of a wealthy man. On the man’s death bed, he tells his children that they will inherit under one condition: that they live under the same roof to take care of their mother. If they move out, they will be disinherited.

Shortly after their father’s death, Charles begins plotting with a suspicious psychologist, Dr Schadenfreude. He asked for the doctor’s help to get both of his siblings declared insane so that they would be committed to an asylum, and thus would be disinherited by not living in the house.

Dr Schadenfreude goes after Beatrice first. She’s the most difficult target. Charles is convinced that his sister is a “whore” who is also a necrophiliac. It’s up to the doctor to make sure that’s true.

The doctor drugs Beatrice one night, then puts her under hypnosis. The command “open the door” makes her feel an overwhelming sense of dispare. She begins to hate herself and feel sickened. It’s only when he says the command “close the door” that she awakes from her trance to feel herself again.

The next day, Dr Schadenfreude goes after the religious William, who believes his mother is touched by God. The children often debate the state of their mother’s mind, but only William believes that she is completely well. Though one conversation with the doctor makes him uncomfortable (though I’m not really sure how).

Charles later tells his siblings that he wants them claimed mentally incompetent. Beatrice is, understandably, outraged, but William accepts his fate and leaves of his own free will.

Later that night, Beatrice sees her mother for help. The woman is in her bed, and seemingly too unwell to get up. But it’s then that Beatrice is struck that her mother is in fact not mentally insane.

The trial follows, and only Beatrice arrives with the doctor and Charles. William has wandered off alone (supposedly as a confirmation of his ‘condition’). The doctor and Charles try their best to defame the woman. They bring “facts” written only German. They bring “letters” from her gigolos and the men she went to orgies with.

Beatrice tries her best to defend herself, and ultimately announces that Charles murdered two. She tells the judge that all the court records were burned but one. One that she found in her mother’s room.

Dr Schadenfreude quickly tells Beatrice to “open the door” but as she admits she’s deranged, she collapses to the floor. When she awakes, though, she breaks free of the hypnosis. She quickly recalls what happened to her. She tells the judge, then informs her brother that the doctor also put her under hypnosis to steal their money. The doctor flees from the courtroom, rich from his con.

Now completely ruined, Charles begins his (further) descent into madness. He vows to kill Beatrice, but his mother, now out of bed, tries to stop him. Beatrice hears her mother’s cries, and finds Charles standing over their mother’s dead body.

In a rather ghostly ending, Charles runs away. He sees the apparition of his mother, and falls to his death. A rather well-deserved ending, I think.

I love nearly everything Biller touches, but it’s her writing that I love (okay, the visual style certainly doesn’t hurt). And since this wasn’t written by Biller, and you can certainly tell, it doesn’t work as much for me. The script was probably the biggest issue with this short. It’s good, but perhaps a bit confusing in places,  particularly what happens with William. Though I did love the hints of House on Haunted Hill and Douglas Sirk.

Like many of Biller’s films, the main message driven home here is that there are many men willing to weaponise a woman’s sexuality. They’ll use it against her and destroy her for it. It was nice to see that ultimately Beatrice came out on top.

But again, I’m a sucker for Biller’s style. It’s very dramatic and romantic here. And while The Hypnotist isn’t my favourite thing she’s directed, it’s certainly worth the watch.

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Wicked Wednesday: 3 Versos (2016)

The internet is sometimes a wonderful, beautiful thing. It was by pure luck and chance that I stumbled upon this Spanish-language short film 3 Versos. This one, kids, is an absolute fucking gem.

Two sisters, Catalina and Gretta, seek the help of a seer, Margery, after being haunted by sounds and voices in their house. They go to the old woman’s home where she is wearing a mask. Gretta explains that Catalina was attacked by the spirit in their kitchen. Knowing that they were in danger, they sought Margery’s help.

Using a circular spirit board, the three woman, plus the rather-quiet Regina, begin to contact the angry spirit be reciting the three verses. But the seance seemingly goes wrong when Catalina breaks the circle, unleashing half a dozen spirits around them.

Suddenly, Margery is hit with by the spirit Perla, and falls to the table, her mask tumbling off. When the seer raises her head, the girls see that her face is disfigured and they flee.

Only after they leave, Margery reveals her true face – that of a con artist. She enjoys her takings and revels in her successful trick. But later, she receives another call from Gretta, thanking her for getting rid of the spirit. Margery, believing the girl is just silly and superstitious, tries to get more money out of the girl by “cleansing the house.” She demands that the three girls return. Only Gretta is confused. Regina? Who the hell is Regina?

And with that, 3 Versos offers up a deliciously twisty ending to what is certainly a very atmospheric 10 minutes. The costumes are fantastic, the acting is solid (Edvan Galván deserves all the stars for the vaudevillian Margery), and the subtle hints of trickery are also excellent. While many of the elements feel familiar (the board, the haunted sisters), this short-film does with with such style that it feels full enthralling to watch.

Director and writer Antonio Yee also performs as Vander Von Odd, winner of the reality show The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula. 3 Versos uses all the glamour, theatrics and art of drag to create a fantastically heightened mood and unique aesthetic. Luck has found me an artist I’m head-over-heels for, but I’ll be staying of my own free will.

Wicked Wednesday: I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957)

Growing up, I could always count on Little House on the Prairie to be on TV. My mom thought Michael Landon was just so dreamy. And he certainly was!

My mom would have been too young for I was a Teenage Werewolf, but young Landon here is Dream Boat in all its proper noun glory. His puppy dog (har har) eyes and sweet face make for a compelling star of a tragedy.

Landon plays Tony, a troubled teenager with a hot temper. After getting into yet another fright at school, one of the police officers suggests that Tony goes to see a psychologist for help. The young boy shrugs off the suggestion, and refuses.

Later, Tony and his girlfriend Arlene go to a haunted house Halloween party where the kids spend the night playing pranks on each other. It’s all fun an games until they decide to prank Tony. He snaps and attacks his friend Vic. After seeing his friends’ stunned faces, Tony finally realises that he needs help.

Tony goes to see Dr Alfred Brandon. The doctor suggests that he give Tony a sedative, and the boy reluctantly agrees. While he’s under, the doctor talks to his fellow psychologist, Dr Hugo. He tells Hugo that he’s going to use his serum on Tony, which causes Hugo to become uncomfortable.

The experimental serum, mixed with hypnosis, will cause Tony to regress to a more primitive state, where he will gain back his savage instincts. Dr Alfred tells Hugo that he wants the human race to go back in time before it destroys itself.

Dr Alfred injects Tony with the serum, and tells Tony that he’s a wild, killing animal. When Tony wakes up, he’s seemingly fine and goes off on his way.

That night, after another party at the abandoned house, one of Tony’s friends is attacked and killed.

At the police office, the officers are confused by the attack. One of the janitors sees the photos of the crime scene, and claims that he’s seen those types of attacks in his old village done by werewolves. He tells the officer that a werewolf is a man possessed by a wolf (rather than one than can simply turn into one).

As the appointments with Dr Alfred continues, Tony becomes increasingly worried about his behaviour, but the doctor comforts him. Later, the principal at his school confirms the doctor’s sentiments by complimenting Tony on the turn around in his personality.

It’s all sweet and all until Tony stops to watch a girl practise gymnastics. While watching, the school bell goes off, triggering his transformation into a werewolf.

Tony attacks the girl and kills her, only this time he’s caught in the act by several students and his principal. Despite looking rather wolf-y, they can identify him by his distinct jacket. When the principal reports the death to the police, she gives a nearly solid confirmation that the werewolf was indeed the young boy.

A wolf-hunt begins and Tony spends his time in the woods, evading the men looking for him. Dr Alfred, Tony’s father and Arlene’s family are all interviewed. The later two are kept under police watch in case Tony tries to contact them.

In the morning, Tony awakes to find that he’s returned to his boy-form. He goes to a phone booth and calls Arlene. Despite her not confirming his identity, the police are able to track Tony down.

But Tony has time to visit the good doctor one last time to beg for help. Doctor Alfred puts Tony under sedation, and Alfred tells Hugo that he will finally get the proof that his experiment has worked.

The two doctors set up a camera to film Tony, but while they film, the phone rings and sets off Tony’s transformation. As a werewolf, Tony attacks and kills both of the doctors. The police arrive shortly after and shoot Tony. Only when he dies, he has reverted to his normal boy form.

I Was a Teenage Werewolf is one of the quintessential 50’s horror monster movies. The drive-in types that were meant to be shocking and sensational. Of course it’s difficult to find any of this shocking decades later, but the movie still holds charm and is still incredibly watchable.

It would have been great to get some footage of Tony improving as a child instead of just taking the principal’s word for it. Tony became less of a focal point as the movie went on, and he slowly just became background to the story. The police (which included the fabulous Barney Phillips) had a bit too much screen time. Police solving crime. We get it.

There’s a bit of a 50’s “lesson” here that the raucous teenage lifestyle that was emerging post-World War II was somehow dangerous. Or rather, making fun of those who believed that sentiment. Without discipline and good behavior, any kid could turn in to a beast. You know, Blackboard Jungle and all that cal.

But it was great to watch a more classic film for once. You know, these 80’s slashers can all seem the same after a while… So tune in next week for another 80’s slasher? (Probably.)

Wicked Wednesday: Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987)

Prom Night II is a sequel only by name. The Hammonds don’t make an appearance, and there isn’t even a reference to the events of the film. It airs on the side of paranormal more than a straight-forward slasher. Instead, if you haven’t caught on by now, Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II is mostly about some girl named Mary Lou.

In 1957, Mary Lou is queen of her school. She’s provocative and promiscuous, and she loves letting people know. On prom night, Mary Lou leads around her date Billy as if on a leash. He gives her a ring (seemingly any boy would give her anything), and she sends him away to get her punch. She takes her opportunity to run off and shack up with a boy named Buddy.

Billy catches the two canoodling and becomes upset, though Mary Lou breaks up with him and sends him away. Billy decides to get his revenge on her when he finds a stink bomb in the trash of the boys’ toilets. When Mary Lou is announced queen, she takes the stage, and Billy throws the stink bomb on her. Only instead of going off, the flame sets her dress on fire and the girl goes up in flames.

Thirty years later, Vicki lives a much different (actually more 50’s) lifestyle. She’s restricted by her super-religious mother, and only goes with one boy, Craig. Her mother is a monster, and doesn’t allow her daughter to go shopping for a prom dress. So Vicki takes it upon herself to search the school prop room after her friend Jesse suggests it. She finds an old trunk, and in that a crow, a ring and a cape – all once belonging to Mary Lou.

But when Vicki opens the trunk, she doesn’t just find some great vintage items, but unleashes the vengeful ghost of a sexually-hungry prom queen.

Vicki brings the old things to her art class, which catches Jess’s eye. When she’s alone after school, Jess tries on Mary Lou’s things and even removes a gem from the tiara. And that little dabble in restoration ends Jess’s life. An unseen force wraps the cape around Jess, strangling her before tossing her out the window to her death.

The girl’s death is deemed as a suicide, due to the fact that she was pregnant. But Vicki is more suspicious. She has bigger things to worry about, though, like the creepy-ass visions she’s getting (including the worst one: her rocking horse growing a mother of a tongue). Her personality begins to change as well.

She goes to see the local priest, who is Buddy – Mary Lou’s former side-boy. Vicki admits that she thinks something is going on with Mary Lou. Father Cooper then goes to see Principal Nordham, who is both Craig’s father and Mary Lou’s jilted boyfriend. The two men had formed a weird friendship in the years after Mary Lou’s death. But Nordham refuses to believe Father Cooper when he claims that Mary Lou is back.

In school one day, Vicki slaps one of her fellow students. During detention, she’s sucked into the chalk board and emerges full-on Mary Lou. She kills off Vicki’s best friend by crushing her in a locker with telepathic powers! Mary Lou can do anything!

She uses those powers on prom night to throw Vicki’s mother through their glass door. In fairness to Vicki’s mother, she just caught ‘Vicki’ making out with Vicki’s dad. But like a boss, Vicki/Mary Lou heads off to prom like the demonic boss she is.

Nordham, worried about Vicki’s behaviour, goes to dig up Mary Lou’s grave, but instead finds the corpse of Father Cooper. Nordham knocks Craig out so he can’t go to the prom.

At the prom Vicki/Mary Lou kills nerdy Josh, who was trying to rig the prom queen vote in mean-girl Kelly’s favour. She manages to fix things (with her computer-manipulating powers?) and wins prom queen.

But in a very 2018 version of Carrie, Vicki/Mary Lou is shot by Nordham when she goes to get her crown. The girl is seemingly dead, but the charred corpse of Mary Lou emerges from Vicki’s body to wreck havoc on the students. Craig arrives in the nick of time to be chased around the school!

Craig gets to the prop room, where Mary Lou opens up a vortex in the trunk. He’s nearly pulled in when Nordham calls Mary Lou’s name. He gives her the crown and kisses her, seemingly freeing Mary Lou’s spirit. Craig opens the trunk and finds a very slime-covered Vicki inside. But it’s definitely gentle little Vicki, no Mary Lou.

And it’s all over right? Mary Lou got what she wanted. Killed one of her creepy boyfriends, killed a few students. But it wouldn’t be an 80’s slasher without a half-hearted twist. Nordham takes Vicki (who seems ok despite being shot multiple times in the chest) and Craig into the car to go home.

But the radio turns on, playing Ronnie Hawkins’ “Mary Lou.” Nordham turns to the kids, “They’re playing our song!” The man is wearing his sweetheart’s ring, carrying on the sequence of possessions.

I know everyone makes this obligatory sequel joke, but I think Prom Night II: Electric Boogaloo sounds like it would be a great film. I’d watch it. But seriously, Mary Lou is a pretty solid not-really-sequel sequel. It’s the right amount of outrageous 80’s that it’s pretty gross (that damn horse) and fun.

Mary Lou’s powers are a bit ridiculous. She can do pretty much anything. How did she get her demonic powers? Her being a ghost capable of possession I’d buy, but telekinesis and technokinesis is a bit much.

And I love the 50’s, but the styling in the movie was pretty off. “Mary Lou” and Ricky Nelson’s “Hello Mary Lou” weren’t even recorded in 1957. Which, you know, details. But it wasn’t just that. Why the hell was Mary Lou’s catchphrase “See you later…alligator.” Like what? I thought this woman was supposed to be sexy. I doubt that would get anyone’s heart racing, even in 1957.

The biggest issue most people have with this movie is the very heaving nods to other, better films. I say it works if you view it as an homage. Mary Lou is clearly not a film with the intentions of doing anything original. But the lifting of other films is so overt, it comes off as more amusing than lazy.

Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II is certainly more fun than its predecessor. Don’t set yourself any expectations and you might be pleasantly surprised.

Come for the weird catchphrases. Stay for the creepy horse tongue.

Wicked Wednesday: Elvira: Mistress of Darkness (1988)

After last week’s movie’s more, er, serious premise, I was in the mood to watch something cheesy and hopefully funny. And with Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, that’s pretty much as good as you can get. An homage to B-movies with silly characters and an absolutely ridiculous plot.

Elvira is an absolute icon of the genre. She hardly needs an introduction. But even if you’re new here, Cassandra Peterson plays the ditzy goth in her typical fashion.

After getting fired from her TV spot (you know, for not accepting sexual harassment from the station owner), Elvira gets news that a long-lost Great Aunt has put her in her will.

Wanting her own Vegas show, Elvira is in desperate need of $50,000. So the idea of inheriting a large sum of money immediately entices her to travel to Massachusetts for the reading of the will.

But once she arrives in Fallwell, MA, she quickly assesses that her “assets” and look make her stick out like a sore thumb.

Fallwell is a hokey town that looks identical to Kingston Falls and Hill Valley. Only with a lot less fun. The town’s elders are obsessed with chastity and curfews, leaving the other children frustrated (in more way than one).

Elvira’s car breaks down, stranding her in the town for the foreseeable future. She goes to stay in the local inn, but is nearly turned away. She goes to the bowling alley where two men start trouble with her. It’s a lot of the typical “uptight suburbia meets weird weirdo” but it’s quite cute, so it never feels very boring. There’s also a lot of gags about Elvira’s massive tits, but it never feels exploitative, and she certainly comes off as a woman who can hold her own.

At the bowling alley, she meets a guy named Bill who is the most nondescript man ever. But it works.

During the reading of the will, Elvira meets her ‘Uncle Vinnie’, the brother of the deceased Great Aunt Morgana. Elvira learns that she’s inherited three things: a house, a poodle and a book of recipes. Of all these things, its the book of recipes that Vincent seems the most upset about not inheriting. He offers to buy the book from Elvira for $50, and she gladly agrees to the offer.

Morgana’s house is decrepit, and not at all the sort of thing that Elvira can make quick money from. But before they can make their transaction, the book is hidden away by Algonquin the poodle.

The local kids help Elvira fix up the house, but she isn’t able to sell it to anyone. The quirky colours suit her vibrant personality more than anyone else in the town. But the students’ relationship with Elvira riles the locals. The principal and the town council agree to expel any student who associates themselves with the bombshell.

Though the threat doesn’t last too long. After failing to find a job in town, Elvira convinces Bob, who owns the local movie theatre, to show some non-G-rated films at this cinema. The kids sneak out for the midnight showing that Elvira hosts. It’s a success until one of the local idiots, Patty, ruins Elvira’s Flashdance number.

Bob goes to Elvira’s to comfort her. She decides to make him a casserole from her aunt’s cookbook. But instead of green beans with crunchy onions, Bob and Elvira get a beast-in-a-pot that they have to fend off. Thanks to Algonquin’s help, they both realise that Morgana’s cookbook is filled with magic.

Elvira discovers a letter addressed to her from her aunt, explaining that Elvira’s mother was a witch. She had sent Elvira away to be protected from Vincent, who sought only power. But Elvira was left with one thing: a powerful gem that she wears set in a ring.

With the knowledge that she contains real magic, Elvira tries to unleash the casserole monster on the local Morality Club picnic. Instead, though, the casserole fills all the adults in Fallwell with incredible lust.

At the next town council meeting, Vincent reveals that it was Elvira’s magic that did that to them. He then points out that witchcraft is still illegal in the town, and Elvira can legally be burnt at the stake.

Elvira is captured and brought to her pyre. She manages to escape by using the magic of her ring to create a storm. But while she was tied up, Vincent managed to get the spell book. He even gets the ring away from her, making him incredibly powerful.

Vincent terrorizes the locals and chases Elvira to her house. The two battle it out together, and Elvira manages to get the ring back. She bounces his magic straight back to him, and Vincent shatters – dead.

But Elvira’s house burns during the confrontation, leaving her completely broke and without any way of making money. Her dreams of having a show in Vegas are seemingly over. That is, until the locals gather to apologise to the way the treated her.

The lawyer announces to Elvira that she’s the only heir to Vincent’s estate. An estate that was much bigger than Morgana’s. And with that money – the woman has the ability to make her Vegas showgirl dreams come true.

There’s a little big of the 80’s where this type of film was allowed to exist and be entertaining at the same time. A lot of the humour was cheesy and silly, but it was joyful enough to work. I love a bit of suburbia-meets-weird. Like Pee Wee or even a tame John Waters film.

Performances from the greats like Edie McClurg (who has the best accent ever) just made it all the more enjoyable.

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark is a must for any fans. Honestly, how can you be a fan and have not seen this yet? But it’s also pretty fun for a good laugh. Sometimes darkness goes pretty good with a cheap pun.

Riverdale Ep. 35 recap “Chapter Thirty-Five: Brave New World”

After a solid run of episodes, Riverdale rounds up season 2 with a sleepy, predictable finale.

Unsurprisingly, Jughead is not dead. And neither is Fangs, which is one of the biggest cop-outs ever. FP claims that the deputy that called him with the news was lying as a ploy. He tells his son, who appears to be in the same hospital bed where the doctor was killed, that the Serpents don’t exist any more as a gang.

This is a complete lie. As FP is completely determined to send himself and Jughead away to Toledo to meet up with the rest of the family. But when Jughead gets out of hospital, he learns that most of the gang is living in the Whyte Wyrm after the sale of Sunnyside Trailer Park. The place where, incidentally, Hiram Lodge is planning his next acquisition.

Cheryl learns from her mother (who is, again unsurprisingly, in cahoots with Hiram) that Hiram is planning a raid on the Wyrm via his lapdog, Sheriff Minetta. Archie, Jughead and Cheryl manage to get the remaining Serpents out of the Wyrm and into the North Side where they get refuge in the Andrews house.

I feel like the biggest victim in all of this is poor Fred Andrew. He and Archie learn that the man that attacked them in their home was Tall Boy, the former Serpent who was being paid by Hiram Lodge. This, of course, confirms to Archie that Hiram is a horrible man. Because we haven’t already been beaten over the head with this one!

The core four then proceed to try to take down Hiram in their own ways. Veronica blackmails her father into giving her the million dollars back that she got through a shady ransom. She then buys the Whyte Wyrm (because she’s like, what, 17?) and dangles it in front of her dad. She makes him an offer: the Whyte Wyrm, the last remaining piece of the Southside he doesn’t own, in exchange for Pop’s – the one place that her friends still can call their own.

Hiram agrees to Veronica’s terms, but with one last addition: she gives up her share of Lodge Industries as well as her trust fund and allowance. The girl agrees.

FP agrees to stay in Riverdale, but retires (for real) from the Serpents, offering his still-teenage son the role of the head of the gang. These children are way too young to be leading gangs and buying real estate. Right? Or have times changed that much? (I’m not that old.)

Fred eventually loses the election to Hermione. Just incase you were wondering if everything in Riverdale had to be horrible. But the two shake hands and seemingly that makes things ok? But Archie isn’t happy.

He goes to confront Hiram, vowing to take him down once he has the correct evidence. This is such a Bad Move that it deserves to be treated as a proper noun. It’s hardly surprising when Hiram later has Archie arrested for the murder of that random dude at the lake (‘memba that?). But as this is Riverdale, I highly doubt that we will be spending season 3 watching Archie live his life out Orange is the New Black-style.

This is supposedly Hiram’s big idea to tear the core four apart. Not sure how this will work, but they hardly seemed to have got along this season and they still did pretty well against him. But with Archie out of the way for the summer, Hiram can move his plans into action. The plans to destroy all of Riverdale! Open brothels (thanks to Penelope Blossom), sell drugs (thanks to Claudius Blossom and the Ghoulies), just tear shit apart!

Why? Because this is the most cartoon-ish villain a show based on a cartoon can manage.

Betty’s plotline was one of the more boring this week. She’s been a personal favourite of mine, but she did at least have some great moments. With Polly’s insistence, she goes to visit Hal in prison. In a very Silence of the Lambs-moment, she tells her father that “You have no power over me” in which she suddenly finds she has exited the Labyrinth.

The darkness, is of course, not really in our dear Betty, but in Polly. The elder Cooper daughter is still with her weird cult and makes her moves to get Alice involved. I do hope the ‘Farm’ or whatever is a big role in season 3. It’s one of the more intriguing mysteries left in the show.

It’s a big of a shame the show couldn’t go out with a roar like it did last season. Much of the episode was left floundering, trying to wrap up plotlines that would have otherwise been deemed plot holes (student body president – ahem).

I am so sick of Hiram Lodge as a baddie. It’s pretty clear that he’s going to be front and centre yet again next season.

If this nonsense is to continue, the least they can do if allow us one punch to Hiram’s face. Just one. That’s all I’m asking for a satisfactory season 3.

But, kids, this is the end! A pretty limp way to end a really hit-and-miss sophomore season. It’s been fun. It’s been not fun. But it will all start again in October. See you then.

Wicked Wednesday: The Blood on Satan’s Claws (1971)

Here I am again, continuing my quest to watch more British horror films. Now this one, I had pretty high expectations for. And if I’ve learned anything about expectations it’s this: if they’re high, you’re going to be let down.

The Blood on Satan’s Claw is one of the few “folk horror” films made in Britain. It’s a small subgenre of films that focus on stories of folklore (go figure). But when discussing folk horror, there’s one ‘trilogy’ of films that should come to mind: The Wicker ManWitchfinder General and this week’s film.

I quite love The Wicker Man. It’s very subtle, but 70’s horror was good at that.

Unfortunately, The Blood on Satan’s Claw didn’t work for me. At all. Which, you know, is pretty disappointing considering its growing cult status. But it lacks the intelligence of The Wicker Man and bothers with plot as much as the WM’s American remake does.

In a small village, the young Peter brings his betrothed, Rosalind, to meet his aunt. This is scandalous to the aunt as the young ones claim that they want to be married the following day. Even worse – Rosalind wants to stay the night!! 

Just to put the girl in her place, the aunt forces Rosalind to sleep in the attic that night. Unbeknownst to them, local farmer Ralph unearthed a skull while ploughing his fields. The skull (which disappears) clearly possesses evil, which awakens in the night.

Rosalind is attacked by an invisible being, and begins screaming in the night. The family board her up in the attic until she can be taken away to an asylum. The aunt is also attacked (presumably by Rosalind), but disappears in the morning without a trace.

Curious, eh? Intrigued by what will happens to Rosalind and the aunt? Don’t worry, you’ll never find out what happens. There’s a frustrating lack of explanation. Like look, I understand mystery, but ignoring everything is lazy – not suspenseful.

The rest of the film focuses on a group of children after they find a claw. It possesses them with evil. They kill and rape the other local children for kicks.

But Peter decides not to take it, and appeals to a local judge for assistance. He brings in the assistance of some dogs and a…cross, thing to defeat the Satanic group of children. I’m not actually sure what the judge does because a. the film is pretty damn dark, b. it’s filmed so tightly that you can’t see anyone’s arms move, and c. the film doesn’t want to explain anything it’s doing.

But the party is busted up at some ritual that one of the Demonic girls tells the judge about. And that’s pretty much where The Blood on Satan’s Claw leaves things.

I feel like The Blood on Satan’s Claw and I could have gotten along much more if I didn’t have any expectations for it. I love atmospheric films, and this has so much of it (it’s truly beautiful when the camera allows for the scene some space). If you have an incredible tolerance for looking past plot-holes, this will probably please.

But really, it takes a lot more than a wreath of branches and some furry eyebrows to make a movie good.