• Satan’s Slave (Uncut Edition, Katarina’s Nightmare Theater)

    Released by: Scorpion Releasing
    Released on: March 20, 2012.
    Director: Norman J. Warren
    Cast: Michael Gough, Martin Potter, Candace Glendenning, Barbara Kellerman
    Year: 1976
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    The Movie:

    Notorious British exploitation director Norman J. Warren’s first entry into horror, 1976’s Satan’s Slave kicks off with a bang as we see some evil looking Satanists doing evil Satanic things overseen by a creepy dude in a goat mask. Cut to a scene where a young man named Stephen (Martin Potter) has taken his pretty blonde date home for a little fun. Unbeknownst to her, this fun involves some bondage and some scissor on her boobie action, which is not what she signed up for. She runs away and he just keeps on doing his thing. His dad, the mustachioed Alexander (Michael Gough), however, is possibly a far more sinister menace as he appears to be the leader of a Satanic cult out to do something they shouldn’t to Stephen’s very pretty cousin, Catherine (Candace Glendenning), who is visiting after her parents died in a car cash.

    As Catharine settles in and wanders around the lavish estate, strange things start to happen and she starts to experience eerie visions of devilish ceremonies and witches being burned and weird priests doing strange things. Does any of this relate to her? Why is her boyfriend acting so strange? Why is Stephen putting the moves on his own cousin? Why the Hell are goats so creepy?

    Obviously made in to cash in fast and cheap on the supernatural horror film craze that was sweeping the world in the mid-seventies, Satan’s Slave is a fun and slightly sleazy entry that’s as goofy as it is entertaining. The film is shot with a fair bit of style, and if the highlights are the ultra-bizarre Satanic ritual sequences, which seem to be chock full of full frontal female nudity more often than not, so be it. There are a couple of good gore scenes in the latter half of the film, strong stuff for a British film of this period, and Warren is smart enough to keep enough oddities front and center on the screen throughout the film to make sure that it never suffers from pacing issues. The film might be more than a little predictable, which obviously saps some of the suspense out of it, but aside from that this is a fun ride through a very evil part of the English countryside with a cool cast helmed by a director you can always depend on to entertain.

    Michael Gough, a staple of British horror films who is probably best known outside of his native England as Alfred in Burton’s Batman movies, looks a little goofy with his big bushy moustache here, but hey, it was the mid-seventies, it’d probably more unusual if he wasn’t sporting a big bushy moustache. He plays his part well, fitting into Alexander’s evil shoes quite well and hamming it up just enough when he needs to in order to stand out. Martin Potter is also decent here, obviously having a good time playing the malicious and perverted Stephen. The gorgeous Candace Glendenning makes for a fine female lead, and if she’s a little wooden in spots, well, she looks awesome naked so most people probably won’t mind so much. The film is all over the place and suffers from an obviously limited budget and some moments of strained unoriginality but the good outweighs the bad. There’s enough sex, violence and atmosphere to make this one worth a watch.


    Scorpion presents Satan’s Slave in its proper 2.35.1 scope aspect ratio and uncut for the first time on home video (previous releases were cut and improperly framed) in an anamorphic transfer taken from 35mm elements that were evidently in pretty nice shape. There’s the expected amount of grain, and shadow detail isn’t always the best, but overall the image isn’t bad even if some minor print damage pops up in the form of some white specks now and again. Generally the picture quality is clean and stable. Contrast looks good, colors are reproduced very naturally and there are no issues with any obvious edge enhancement or compression artifacts.

    The English language Dolby Digital Mono track on the disc is also good, with clean and clear dialogue and properly balanced levels. There are no issues with hiss or distortion to note and the score is mixed in nicely against the performers, never overpowering them or making things tough to follow.

    Extras kick off with an ultra-cool twelve minute making of featurette called All You Need Is Blood which was made to promote the film around the time of its release and which features some great behind the scenes shots of Gough and company doing their thing as well as some interesting shots of the Black Mass scene while it was being filmed. Covering the film’s score is Devilish Music, which is a thirteen minute interview with the composer of the film’s score, John Scott, who speaks about his work on this picture and talks about his experiences in general. More interesting is the half hour long Creating Satan: The Making Of Satan’s Slave, which is a great retrospective featurette that includes on camera interviews with director Norman J. Warren, producer Les Youn, writer David McGillivray, production designer Hayden Pierce, producer Moira Young and leading man Martin Potter. An early Warren short film, 1966’s eleven minute Fragment is also included here. It first appeared on the BFI Blu-ray release of Warren’s Her Private Hell but its inclusion here is welcome. The black and white short tells the strange story of a failed love affair. If it doesn’t match the feature in terms of tone at all, it’s still an interesting look back at the early part of the director’s career.

    Rounding out the extras are three interesting deleted scenes definitely worth checking out, a trailer for the feature and trailers for a few other Scorpion Releasing titles either available now or in the works for a future release. As this disc falls under the Katarina’s Nightmare Theater line, you can watch the disc with an optional intro and outro from Katarina Leigh Waters. As per the norm, this is done in a humorous vein and amusing enough and as its optional, those who don’t enjoy Waters’ participation can easily choose to watch it without her participation. The Anchor Bay UK release of the disc featured an interesting commentary track that sadly has not been ported over for this disc, but otherwise this is a great collection of supplements.

    The Final Word:

    Satan’s Slave may not be the be all end all of seventies occult films but it is spooky, sexy, bloody and entertaining enough that it’s definitely worth a watch. Scorpion has rolled out the red carpet for this one, finally presenting it uncut and in its proper aspect ratio and loading the disc up with extras. A pretty bad ass release, really, and one of the best in the Katarina’s Nightmare Theater line so far.

    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Robin Bougie's Avatar
      Robin Bougie -
      It says: "Robin Bougie, you do not have permission to access this page."
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Because I forgot to set the publish date. It's nothing personal.
    1. Robin Bougie's Avatar
      Robin Bougie -
      WOOOAH Sweet cover art! And you can reverse it, right? So you don't have to have the shitty "Karina" banner on the top?
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      That pic of the panties is rad-tastic. I want this for that segment alone.