Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Satan's Children (1975)

This lethargic supernatural picture seems as if it wants to be a thriller or even an outright horror picture, though it badly misses the mark. The gist is that a young man leaves a dysfunctional household, endures victimization by criminals, and finds a place among a cabal of Satanists. Pervading the movie are equal measures of homoerotica and homophobia. Awkward! Filmed on grungy stock, performed by lifeless amateurs, and set against a backdrop of thrift-store production design, Satan’s Children has the look of bad ’70s porn and the vitality of a drivers-ed movie. Furthermore, because so much of the narrative involves seedy sexual material, from rape to a physical relationship that borders on incest, and because innumerable scenes depict characters suffering abuse for the sin of homosexual attraction, the movie sends a hopelessly convoluted message. At times, the picture seems like nasty fundamentalist-Christian propaganda equating gayness with evil. Yet because the “hero” of the piece finds his bliss by serving the Lord of the Underworld, it’s not as if Satan’s Children qualifies for the Bible Belt stamp of approval.  In any event, viewers able to slog their way through the whole movie might find moments arrestingly weird. In one scene, young protagonist Bobby (Stephen White) tells coven leader Simon (Robert C. Ray II) that he’s offering his soul to Satan. “He doesn’t want it,” Simon replies on Lucifer’s behalf. “You’re a loser.” Ouch. In another scene, when Simon returns from a trip, he checks in with coven member Sherry (Kathleen Archer), who asks, “Did you have a nice trip?” “Okay, I guess,” Simon shrugs. “Did you have a nice hanging?” Dull Satanists passing the time with chitchat—who the hell knew such a thing existed?

Satan's Children: LAME

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