“I am ready to return, but understand, I shall use undreamed-of measures, to conquer the evil.” If by “undreamed-of measures” the Judge means a BF sword, he ain’t wrong. No one dreamed of it. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, Daphne Monary-Ernsdorff, and Jeff Mohr – as they claw their way through the folk horror classic, The Blood on Satan’s Claw(1971).
Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 148 – The Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971)
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In 17th century England, the children of a village slowly convert into a coven of devil worshipers.IMDb
- Director: Piers Haggard
- Writers: Robert Wynne-Simmons (original screenplay); Piers Haggard (with additional material by)
- Selected Cast:
- Patrick Wymark as The Judge
- Linda Hayden as Angel Blake
- Barry Andrews as Ralph Gower
- Michele Dotrice as Margaret
- Wendy Padbury as Cathy Vespers
- Anthony Ainley as Reverend Fallowfield
- Charlotte Mitchell as Ellen
- Tamara Ustinov as Rosalind Barton
- Simon Williams as Peter Edmonton
- James Hayter as Squire Middleton
- Howard Goorney as The Doctor
- Avice Landone as Isobel Banham
- Robin Davies as Mark Vespers
- Godfrey James as Angel’s Father
- Roberta Tovey as the coven member who lures Padbury’s character to her death (uncredited)
- Milton Reid as Dog Handler (uncredited)
The Blood on Satan’s Claw is frequently mentioned alongside Witchfinder General (1968) and The Wicker Man (1973) as a seminal film in the folk horror subgenre. Daphne describes it as super 70s and she loved the creepiness of the woods and the environment. The film’s amazing title captured Bill’s attention but unfortunately, his first viewing of The Blood on Satan’s Claw was a version in which an essential scene had been cut. Having since seen the complete version, he believes it to be an interesting film worth seeking out. For Chad, The Blood on Satan’s Claw had some unique ideas, in particular how the demon was reconstructed. Jeff found The Blood on Satan’s Claw to be quirky and the story to be a bit uneven but he thought the effects were excellent, especially when some devil’s skin was removed from one of the characters. Doc finds The Blood on Satan’s Claw to be very disjointed, making it hard to tell the protagonist from the antagonist and to stay interested.
Whether you’re a fan or not, you owe it to yourself to check out The Blood on Satan’s Claw. As of this writing, it is available to stream on Shudder and will be available on physical media as a part of ALL THE HAUNTS BE OURS: A COMPENDIUM OF FOLK HORROR [BLU-RAY BOX SET] due from Severin Films in December 2021.
Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror 1970s is part of the Decades of Horror two-week rotation with The Classic Era and the 1980s. In two weeks, the next episode in their very flexible schedule will be Dario Argento’s The Cat o’ Nine Tails (1971), chosen by Bill! Be sure to join us for that one.
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