It’s Catherine’s Birthday… You’re Invited To Her Torture Party

I checked out another old horror movie yesterday, this one being a somewhat obscure 1976 release directed by Norman J. Warren (“Her Private Hell”, “Prey”) titled “Satan’s Slave”.top a

Satanic Priest
Satanic Priest

Some kind of Satanic ritual is taking place at the start of the film, involving a priest wearing a goat mask with luminous eyes, several hooded figures and, of course, a naked young woman as a sacrifice.

Stephen Yorke
Stephen Yorke

We then cut to a large house in the country where Stephen Yorke (Martin Potter – “Cruel Passion”, “Fellini Satyricon”) is entertaining a young woman who, rightly, suspects that his intentions are less than honourable. Quite how right she is comes as a bit of a shock so early in proceedings though!

Michael Craze
Michael Craze

Switching location to a city tower block we meet Stephen’s cousin, nineteen year old Catherine Yorke (Candace Glendenning – “Tower Of Evil”, “The Flesh And Blood Show”), and her boyfriend John (Michael Craze – “Dr. Who”, “Terror”) discussing the fact that she has to do away with her parents to her Uncle’s home, some two hundred miles away in the countryside, for a few days.

James Bree, Candace Glendenning & Celia Hewitt
James Bree, Candace Glendenning & Celia Hewitt

As Catherine and her parents arrive at her Uncle’s home her father Malcolm Yorke (James Bree – “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, “Without A Clue”) inexplicably manages to crash their car into a tree – instantly killing his wife Elizabeth (Celia Hewitt – “The Shuttered Room”, “Life In Danger”). As Catherine runs to the house for help the car explodes.

Michael Gough
Michael Gough

Catherine’s Uncle Alexander Yorke (Michael Gough – “Dr. Terror’s House Of Horrors”, “Batman”), who is luckily enough a doctor, gives her some sedatives to help her sleep and deal with the shock of losing her parents. When she awakes the next day she is bizarrely calm and says that everything seems as though it was a dream.

Barbara Kellerman
Barbara Kellerman

Stephen has already got his eyes on Catherine, much the annoyance of former conquest Frances (Barbara Kellerman – “The Quatermass Conclusion”, “Hammer House Of Horror”) who is also his father’s secretary.

A Witch Gets Flogged
A Witch Gets Flogged

Catherine spends much time alternately stressing or seeming very relaxed, whilst also having visions of various things including the flogging and burning of witches that may, or may not, have something to do with the history of her Uncle’s house.

The Hastily Arranged Funeral
The Hastily Arranged Funeral

Meanwhile Uncle Alexander manages to get rid of the burnt-out car, arrange a funeral for his brother and sister-in-law for that day and have them buried within the grounds of his home – all without any visible communication with the police or any other official body!

Plenty more twists are to follow before Catherine discovers exactly what her relatives have planned for her imminent twentieth birthday…

Now, it’s fair to say that this isn’t as good as the similarly themed “The Devil Rides Out”, some of the dialogue is a bit stilted and there is some less than stellar acting on display too. It’s more gory than your average Hammer film and there is more female nudity too. Nonetheless, there is enough on offer here to keep the viewer entertained (well there was for me, at least) so although I wouldn’t recommend tracking a copy down I would say it’s worth watching if it happens to pop up on TV one day…btm a

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