Friday, December 1, 2017

Satan War (1979)

Years after his minor career as a TV actor sputtered, Bart La Rue directed his first and only fictional feature. It’s beyond terrible. Satan War, which is padded with long vignettes at the beginning and end, largely concerns a couple enduring torments after moving into a new house that appears to be haunted. Said torments manifest in silly ways, as when brown goop oozes from the stove or the cross on the wall spins upside down as if moved by invisible hands. Through it all, the idiotic residents act as if the haunting problem will solve itself. Or at least that’s how they behave until hooded cultists enter the house with knives. Where the story goes from there is . . . well, for lack of a better word, it’s stupid, but that’s par for the course in Satan War, among the dullest movies ever to invoke the Prince of Darkness in a title. Even those who relish rotten cinema are likely to get bored waiting for things to happen during the main storyline, since most of Satan War’s train-wreck appeal resides in the prologue and epilogue. The prologue is a cheaply filmed black mass that for reasons beyond comprehension includes lots of interpretive dance, and the epilogue—basically the same shot played on an interminable loop for about 10 minutes—features a voodoo priestess gyrating to the rhythm of tribal music. Fair warning: You may start the picture loving the John Carpenter-ish score, but by the time you’ve heard the same three or four abrasive cues several times each, you’ll be ready to scream, and not because you’re frightened.

Satan War: SQUARE

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