The Blood on Satans Claw 1971 (1971) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: Horror thriller set in 17th century England about the children of a village slowly converting into a coven of devil worshipers. Runtime: 97 mins Release Date: 29 Nov 1971
Frightening and simply unforgettable British horror! (by Nightman85)
In 1670 a British plow boy unearths strange skeletal remains while tilling a field. As it turns out it's the bones of Satan and soon the children of the village begin to practice black masses; preparing to make some murderous sacrifices to their possessor.Blood on Satan's Claw is a profoundly eerie little horror film. It possesses such a powerful atmosphere of dread while its intriguing plot builds to some truly chilling imagery and some genuinely shocking scenes. Also there's a sexual undertone to the happenings which adds all the more to the unsettling vibes that surround this <more>
dark tale. In addition there's one disturbing rape scene and some grisly murder sequences. The film is finely directed by Piers Haggard with splendid camera work, lush locations in the English countryside, and a believably Gothic setting. The unique music score by Marc Wilkinson is terrifically creepy too. The cast is strong in their performances. Patrick Wymark in one of his final roles is good as the Judge who faces down the evil. Linda Hayden is menacing as the young lady who becomes a temptress for the devil. Barry Andrews is likable as the farm hand who unearths the evil and may just become sacrifice for it. The supporting cast is solid as well.Blood on Satan's Claw is simply a must-see for horror fans. It's outstanding film making wrapped around a haunting tale of good verses evil. Not for all tastes, but the serious horror fan will find it an unsettling and captivating gem! One of the best British horror films of the 70's.**** out of ****
Real English countryside locations that breath ancient history. Old stone built houses, wild forests and mysterious ruins. Folk beliefs and practice of witchcraft and mysticism of nature. Now here's an evil fairy tale that both looks and feels right. One of the best films in British horror genre with only a few others on the same line, like 'The Witchfinder General' and 'The Vicker Man'. This is no way an ordinary horror flick, but bears its claws deeply into historical core of the witchcraft in Britain and uses its influences most efficiently.Piers Haggard's direction <more>
is not overwhelming, neither is it using loads of usual heavy horror gimmicks. It simply lets the story evolve more naturally with only a few necessary effects cleverly executed. The young actors are good and mostly unknown for me, except Linda Hayden disturbing the local priest and the whole farming community with her ways of black magic. She was also appearing in 'Taste the Blood of Dracula' as the figure of innocence corrupted by evil. A certain sense of innocence is present here too in nearly all the people, even when cruelty takes place. It's like simple minded children playing with something new and dangerous and not quite understanding the real state of madness until it's too late. The young are constantly pushed and ordered by their elders, which makes the seek for rebellion and trying the forbidden more tempting. And still they end up even more possessed and ordered by Angel Hayden , who clearly enjoys her new found form of twisted strength. Patrick Wymark's firm judge, who tries to bring back the order through his stronger set of rules and valued formulas, may show up as the only savior. But in the end, is he really just the lesser of two evils? So a certain metaphoric message can be seen here if one so wishes. In a way by this kind of surroundings and people the whole story comes out as a bit more believable tale. All this doesn't mean that the film isn't enjoyably fun to watch too.
An unusually good Hammer, with solid acting throughout, a good plot, and only slightly absurd twists. A poor ending rather mars it, but this should not put anyone off. Look out for Michelle Dotrice going at it with a positively masturbatory zeal.
Curse the day the devil came to town. (by lost-in-limbo)
Set in a small English country town in the 17th Century a farmer unearths inhuman remains that are covered with fur. So he gets the judge of the town to view it, but the evidence has strangely disappeared. After the discovery about the skull and fuss about, weird and horrific occurrences start developing with the appearance of the devil's claw. Also some of the children of the village led by Angel are committing unspeakable terror and performing satanic rituals in a desecrated church in the woods to restore their master.Atmospheric brilliance on director Piers Haggard's part! Jeez, it <more>
was hard to shake off the powerfully foreboding and frantic awe that pierced the air. Mood is a very big key to this film's success in pulling you in with its pervasively chilling and subtle imprint. Visually, Haggard manages to create a beautifully staged period horror by capturing the times and making the most of it's brooding countryside and quiet rural life. What gave it such an embracing atmosphere was that it was mostly shot on location. The beautiful backdrop works rather well with the contrast to the devilishly acts occurring in the peaceful valley. Another thing that hit me and added more to building upon the feel, was the strikingly effective, fine tuned camera-work and the robust score that generates momentum with its unsteady vibe. Also the faintly placed sound effects really do scratch away and cause sudden chills! The classy performances are all strong from the British cast with some richly developed characters. But it's Linda Hayden Taste the blood of Dracula luminous performance as Angel Bleak the manipulative evil prowess who stands by the devil's right hand doing his work that makes the film very memorable. Also Patrick Wymark is exceptional as the Judge, the highly placed leader and hero of the town's folk. Maybe the film could have done with a star actor to give it an added boost, but those involved were more then perfect anyway. These provocative aspects took shape and simply completed the film.The immensely original plot manages to incorporate a whole lot things ranging from folklore tales of witchcraft and Satanism practice to sexuality involving temptation, seduction and lust. This is all done with a serious face. I wouldn't call the plot flawless, as there are many unexplained and meaningless events associated within the material, but it does inject many unexpected turns. It plays around with idea that some sort of curse has hit the town with the devil's presence sinisterly lurking beneath the cracks. Although, it's not terribly all about the devil, but on the innocence of the children, to how the devil has preyed upon them to do his bidding and that's what makes this rather eerie to the bone. Since this is kind of sexually charged in a semi-way, it does provide nudity, but it's not overly graphic when it came to the violence. The gore is low. Though, saying that it does provide some disturbing, raw and perverse images that have the force to stun. It's terrifyingly unpleasant and malevolent in small patches. Like the intense ferocity of the rape scene. Now onto the make-up. Well, the devil design stays mostly hidden in a black cloak, well that's up until the end were we get a clear shot. It's not so bad for the budget. Like so many have pointed out - the only real disappointment in my eyes was the under-whelming conclusion, after being squeezed real tight with tension it just fizzles out without a bang.Obviously there was profound talent involved, they put their heart into this low-budget production and it all came together perfectly to be highly regarded by those who've seen it. I for one agree. Highly recommended.By the way I love the original movie poster artwork for this flick. It's damn creepy!
The Devil's presence rarely felt this real (by Coventry)
The Blood on Satan's Claw is a terrific film from Tigon Productions and yet, it's still pale compared to their greatest film this being `The Witchfinder General' staring Vincent Price. Don't let the opening sequences of this film mislead you. The first 20 minutes are rather disappointing, with false scares and missed opportunities to set a satanic tone right from the start. The only real moments to enjoy during these initial 20 minutes are the atmospheric images of rural Britain around the 17th century. The photography of the little cursed village, completely isolated from <more>
the rest of England, is shown very effective. Yet, the real `horror' only kicks in when we're introduced to the absolutely astonishing Angel Drake. The young and bewitching Linda Hayden plays this shrew from hell. The plot can be summarized as followed: Satan although never directly referred to as takes over a little town by transferring his maniacal thoughts and devilish rituals over to the local adolescents and teenagers. Led by Angel Drake, these `children' perform witchcraft, mutilate and brutally kill fellow children who're marked by the growing of Satan's Skin a bizarre fur suddenly growing on their bodies . Truly atmospheric and tense with a dazzling demonic theme, subtle undertones of eroticism Hayden seducing the priest in the church!! and a spirited courage of director Haggard to break all the typical taboos in horror pedophilia! Or the Children as symbol of evil! . Peter Wymark is terrific as `the Judge' but you can't help imagining Peter Cushing to play his role. I read in the production notes that Cushing was approached to star as well as that other British horror legend, Christopher Lee but the budget of the film was too small. But, just because the budget is modest, it doesn't mean the film can't be shocking. On the contrary! The group-rape scene controlled by the ghastly eyes of Hayden is still shocking, even by today's standards. Can you imagine the impact this particular scene caused at the time it was shot? In the year 1970, mind you! Despite a few flaws, `The Blood on Satan's Claw' is an absolute highlight in the British horror field. Especially recommended to admirers of Hammer films and semi-sleaze lovers. The only letdowns aside from the semi-tedious opening is the rather annoying overuse of inappropriate music and the all-too-dramatic slow motion ending.
If I were to pick the single element that makes this movie work it would have to be its rare mood of authenticity. It's characters and environment convey a sense of people actually living in a remote rural region of 17th Century England. Credit goes to the filmmakers for trying to populate the story not with Hollywood's stale stock characters but with people recognizable as real, albeit living in a culture of a different time and place.And in this time and place - where beliefs would figure more prominently than knowledge even in normal times - frightening inexplicable events become <more>
even more dreadful.This isn't a strongly plot driven movie. For the first half of it we see more the consequences of the evil, without explanation of what it means or even exactly what it is that's happening. But because of that we are put into the same helpless position as the innocent and good characters in the movie. And people who turn to evil? A nice touch is that that the actors don't go over the top trying to be the most utterly evil of all possible screen characters. Rather, they are evil enough, but appropriately for who and when and where they are. And in a sense that is the REAL evil that happens in the movie, the people who become so.And that's why the movie survives the murkiness of its presentation of the more overt evil. Since even after seeing the movie it may be unclear, here it is, with a mild ***SPOILER*** warning because the confusion actually creates some of the atmosphere in the early part of the film: Various body parts of an evil being called "The Devil" by the locals, though we needn't take that too literally begin turning up, occasionally found in places like a plow furrow, but most often through the transformation of body parts of the local people. These parts are then cut off either voluntarily by those who become this "devil's" followers or involuntarily from those who don't . The aim is to re-assemble them and actually create the body of this being.But in truth this is only the motivation and background to the main focus of the movie, which is to produce an excellent period piece where the people act and react to a horror in character with their times and culture. And it's a pure pleasure that they succeeded in that. But as a movie and as a story would have been helped by running somewhat longer, so they could linger over some events and add more depth to the characters and their interactions. For as it is, sometimes a brief scene, or even just a few lines, are used to set up situations where a more extended treatment would have enhanced all the scenes that followed. That the story still held together using so little glue to stick the scenes into place shows commendable efficiency in the writing, but perhaps it was excessive efficiency. The ending is particularly hurt. A resolution should flow from the main body of the story and not from a relatively minor side-stream. Their ending came very close to being merely tacked on. Not quite, but they could have used more storytelling glue when they put it in place. And I do have to mention the wonderful score. The melody of main theme sounds like it's based on an old English folk song, but it's arranged in a very 20th Century horror manner. The result is superb. Not only is it haunting, creepy and effective, where a mere switch in key can make it sweet or spooky, but the basic tune is also appealing and memorable.From what I've written here, pointing out flaws and weakness, you probably won't pick up on just how extraordinarily fond I am of this movie. It's the kind that can stick in my mind for decades between viewings and I wish people would make more like it. About the version I rented under the title "Blood of Satan's Claw", distributed by the Cannon Group ... though less edited than the TV version I saw some 30 years ago, still this video shows signs of being cut. Though by todays standards this movie's virtually sole scene of sex and violence would be exceptionally mild, evidently it was considered too much at some time in the past. I dislike this kind of editing in general and I find the choppy cuts and jumps in the music during this one scene to be irritating. If an original version exists on video, possibly under a different one of its several names, that would be the one to own, though feel free to rent any version... the edits are minor and shouldn't be cause for you to pass on this movie.
See this for Linda Hayden's sexually charged performance as Satan-loving teener Angel Blake, one of British Cinema's more memorable portrayals of pure evil in a petticoat.Possessing a WITCHFINDER GENERAL-type atmosphere, helped immeasurably by Mark Wilkinson's truly beautiful score, this tale of superstition and a Satanic contagion that exhibits itself as an ugly, hairy patch on the skin motivating alternate title SATAN'S SKIN is evidence of solid horror-making afoot.Patrick Wymark as the pseudo-Witchfinder anchors a mostly youthful cast who become victim to the spreading <more>
"disease".The climax is a ballsy one for director Piers Haggard who also helmed the taut VENOM as he dares to portray Satan himself. It's always a risk serving up a visual absolute of a universal concept, but it works surprisingly well here because Haggard knows just how much to show. As noted earlier, Linda Hayden is dynamite as the sexually provocative Angel and makes it easy to understand how many a fool would follow her to the depths of hell just for a taste of her own brand of heaven.BLOOD ON SATAN'S CLAW, an evocative title if ever there was one, accomplishes everything it sets out to do.It comes close to being delightfully lurid at times, and that's what gives it an edge.Also worthy of applause is Dick Bush's striking, atmospheric cinematography.
Unforgettably creepy period horror film (by TORSO!)
Set in 17th century Britain, this severely under-rated horror yarn fairly drips with a thick, creepy atmosphere that is hard to shake. The incredibly sexy Linda Hayden here sporting bizarre, wicked eyebrows stars as the sluttish leader of a group of children who discover, then worship, the remnants of what appears to be a demon in a farmer's field; they soon begin to perform sacrifices of other children to it. Patrick Wymark, in a fine, subtle performance, plays a Matthew Hopkins-type who puts a stop to the group's murderous shenanigans. The plot is presented in a somewhat <more>
disjointed, vague manner, especially during the disappointingly incoherent, anti-climactic finale. But the film's great strength is its amazingly real sense of place and time. Set during a remarkably superstitious period, the vividly presented characters the acting is uniformly excellent are in constant fear of an evil presence that palpably lurks everywhere; the film is so extremely well made that the viewer comes to share their constant dread. The end result is a stylish horror movie that is very uncomfortable to watch.
Not always coherent but manages to get under your, er skin (by Prichards12345)
Blood on Satan's Claw, while obviously suffering from a few narrative lapses and abrupt transitions probably due to editing is a fine little movie. Like it's Tigon-backed predecessor Witchfinder General, this succeeds in capturing the medieval period splendidly, and the diabolic goings on are cleverly contrasted with the pastoral setting.The film also manages to be original in a way few of its contemporaries manage. It handles its shock moments very well and remains a disturbing entry in the British horror field. I should mention that some viewers might find what amounts to a rape <more>
scene a little too distressing. The shocks and gore moments are mainly done by implication or quick cuts away, so it's the suggestion as much as what you see that makes it work.The plot at times is a little hazy for the first time viewer; but essentially the demon Behemoth pronounced BEY-AH-MOTH is churned up by a plough and spreads some sort of infection amongst the rural community, driving a girl mad on her wedding eve never explained and growing various parts of itself on the younger members of the community. These are gradually used to make a composite of the demon.As silly as this may sound committed performances from the actors - Linda Hayden and Michelle Dotrice especially - and some narrative obscurity actually makes it work. With an excellent music score and a brilliant realised medieval rural England Blood On Satan's Claw has retained its position as a Cult favourite. Memorable and atmospheric and well worth seeing.