Monday, December 30, 2013


Greydon Clark, 1977
Starring: Yvonne De Carlo, John Ireland, Jack Kruschen, Kerry Sherman, Jacqueline Cole

Patti, Chris, Debbie and Sharon are young, nubile cheerleaders that get waylaid en route to a football game when their car breaks down. They get picked up by the school janitor, who happens to be a perverse Satan worshipper. The cheerleading coach, Ms. Johnson, is too meek and innocent to protect them when Billy the janitor tries to drive them into the woods and, with the aid of Satan's power, rape them. Unfortunately for Billy, Satan has other ideas. Billy has some sort of attack and the girls, though shaken and suffering slightly from amnesia, escape.

They wander to the Sheriff's house (Sheriff B.L. Bubb, played by the hammy John Ireland) and tell him their troubles. The Sheriff, who we already know is the leader of the local cult, claims he will help them and takes their statements while they wait at his house. One of the girls, snooping around, overhears that the Sheriff and his wife (the sinister Yvonne de Carlo) plan to sacrifice the virgin and kill the rest of them. The girls hatch an escape plan to try to call their parents or go for help, because poor Ms. Johnson has been kidnapped and Patti (the cute, blonde one) has stayed behind as a diversion. Patti, of course, is not all that she seems after her experience in the woods earlier and the cult is in for quite a surprise. 

One of the best worst movies I've ever seen, Satan’s Cheerleaders helps fill that particular void in my life that can only be soothed with movies about satanic cults. Of which I'm developing quite a stock pile, mostly from the ‘70s. The performances are about what you would expect. The four main girls are played by Kerry Sherman, Hillary Horan, Alisa Powell, and Sherry Marks, all of whom went on to do very little, with the exception of some TV episodes and Alisa Powell, who had a small role in The Toolbox Murders (1978). The prolific John Ireland pretty much plumbs the depth of his skills as the duplicitous Sheriff and Yvonne DeCarlo (The Ten Commandments, The Munsters) does her best at menacing the camera. Even the wonderful John Carradine as a cameo and, as always, is a great inclusion. 

Directed Greydon Clark made and acted in a number of exploitation films including Al Adamson’s Dracula Vs. Frankenstein, Hi-Riders, Uninvited, and Joysticks. I can’t say that his skill is dazzling, but whether intentionally or not, some of the scenes in Satan’s Cheerleaders are side-splittingly hilarious. 

This movie is ridiculous. I'm not sure if it's a horror-comedy or just a bad horror film, but it will appeal to the same type of viewers who are transported with delight every time they think about Psychomania or Werewolves with Wheels. In other words, its a typical '70s B-movie with a Satanic conspiracy, slutty cheerleaders, and brain dead dialogue. Nothing makes any sense, but it's wonderful regardless. With a few notable exceptions (Rosemary’s Baby being the most popular), there aren't a lot of well made, competently scripted Satanic films, but I love many of them anyway. Satan’s Cheerleaders is high on that list, simply because it is so much fun. 

It comes highly recommend, particularly if you want a fun party movie for a bunch of drunk horror fans. There is a cheap DVD available from VCI, but this is about the best you can expect. Though it isn't going to make any money in the near future, someone out there obviously loves it as much as I do. There is actually a Satan’s Cheerleaders tribute site that has the trailer, facts, trivia, a detailed synopsis, tons of sound clips, stills, links to actor info, and an extensive list of review links.

Aura Precis Mea, Satana Blessed Be.

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