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In the XVIII Century, in the countryside of England, the landsman Ralph Gower finds a skull with one eye and fur on the field. He summons the local judge to see his finding but it has disappeared. Meanwhile the local Peter Edmonton brings his fiancée Rosalind Barton to his aunt's house to marry her on the next day. However during the night Rosalind becomes insane and in the morning she is sent to an asylum and Peter sees a claw that has replaced her hand. Then Peter wakes up with a claw attacking him and he cuts it out, but he finds that he has hacked down his own hand. The local children have a strange behavior under the command of Angel Blake and they rape and kill others. In common, they have a strange fur on their skin. The judge returns from London and concludes that evil has possessed the children. What will he and his search party do? Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Both Wendy Padbury and Simon Williams were both displeased with certain aspects of the film. See more »
There are two spelling errors in the opening titles: the production company is called Tigron instead of Tigon (in the copyright notice beneath the main title), and screen veteran James Hayter is billed as James Hoyter. See more »
The Blood on Satan's Claw is a terrific film from Tigon Productions and yet, it's still pale compared to their greatest film this being `The Witchfinder General' staring Vincent Price. Don't let the opening sequences of this film mislead you. The first 20 minutes are rather disappointing, with false scares and missed opportunities to set a satanic tone right from the start. The only real moments to enjoy during these initial 20 minutes are the atmospheric images of rural Britain around the 17th century. The photography of the little cursed village, completely isolated from the rest of England, is shown very effective. Yet, the real `horror' only kicks in when we're introduced to the absolutely astonishing Angel Drake. The young and bewitching Linda Hayden plays this shrew from hell. The plot can be summarized as followed: Satan (although never directly referred to as) takes over a little town by transferring his maniacal thoughts and devilish rituals over to the local adolescents and teenagers. Led by Angel Drake, these `children' perform witchcraft, mutilate and brutally kill fellow children who're marked by the growing of Satan's Skin (a bizarre fur suddenly growing on their bodies).
Truly atmospheric and tense with a dazzling demonic theme, subtle undertones of eroticism (Hayden seducing the priest in the church!!) and a spirited courage of director Haggard to break all the typical taboos in horror (pedophilia! Or the Children as symbol of evil!). Peter Wymark is terrific as `the Judge' but you can't help imagining Peter Cushing to play his role. I read in the production notes that Cushing was approached to star (as well as that other British horror legend, Christopher Lee) but the budget of the film was too small. But, just because the budget is modest, it doesn't mean the film can't be shocking. On the contrary! The group-rape scene controlled by the ghastly eyes of Hayden is still shocking, even by today's standards. Can you imagine the impact this particular scene caused at the time it was shot? In the year 1970, mind you!
Despite a few flaws, `The Blood on Satan's Claw' is an absolute highlight in the British horror field. Especially recommended to admirers of Hammer films and semi-sleaze lovers. The only letdowns (aside from the semi-tedious opening) is the rather annoying overuse of inappropriate music and the all-too-dramatic slow motion ending.
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