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The Blood on Satan's Claw (1971)

R | | Horror | 16 April 1971 (USA)
Horror thriller set in 17th century England about the children of a village slowly converting into a coven of devil worshipers.

Director:

Piers Haggard

Writers:

Robert Wynne-Simmons (original screenplay), Piers Haggard (with additional material by)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Patrick Wymark ... The Judge
Linda Hayden ... Angel Blake
Barry Andrews ... Ralph Gower
Michele Dotrice ... Margaret
Wendy Padbury ... Cathy Vespers
Anthony Ainley ... Reverend Fallowfield
Charlotte Mitchell Charlotte Mitchell ... Ellen
Tamara Ustinov Tamara Ustinov ... Rosalind Barton
Simon Williams ... Peter Edmonton
James Hayter ... Squire Middleton
Howard Goorney Howard Goorney ... The Doctor
Avice Landone ... Isobel Banham (as Avice Landon)
Robin Davies Robin Davies ... Mark Vespers
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A living nightmare of black magic... and unspeakable evil! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Piers Haggard once revealed that he kept a finger from the devil-skeleton as a memento of the film. See more »

Goofs

During a scene when a girl is swung into a river, at 1.04.14 a crew members hand is in shot to stop actor hitting the camera. See more »

Quotes

Reverend Fallowfield: There is growing amongst you all an insolent ungodliness, which I will not tolerate!
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Alternate Versions

The UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC to edit the rape scene and shots of a naked girl dancing in front of a knife-wielding boy. The cuts were fully restored in the 2003 Anchor Bay DVD release. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Good Omens: Saturday Morning Funtime (2019) See more »

User Reviews

 
A Cult Film That Deserves To Be Better Known
26 February 2014 | by Theo RobertsonSee all my reviews

In 17th Century England a man ploughs a field and comes across the skeletal remains of something . Summoning a judge he tells him that the remains belonged to a fiend and takes the judge to the field only to find the remains have disappeared

This acquired a cult following in DOCTOR WHO fandom circa 1990 when the fan press revealed it contained a scene where Wendy Padbury ( 60s companion Zoe ) appeared topless in a scene . Knowing this no one bothered to ask about the rest of the film but the major problem was trying to track it down . It was a time before the internet and Britain was confined to four TV channels and despite Hammer horror movies being broadcast on a fairly regular basis BLOOD ON SATAN'S CLAW was made by an entirely different film company and no one could recall it being broadcast or released on video . In other words it became something of a cult film and a cult film no one had seen but it eventually turned up on Channel 4 a couple of times along with the occasional screening on satellite channels

It'd be all too easy to dismiss this a Hammer clone full of lowbrow thrills and historical hokum featuring witchcraft but this would be slightly unfair to the film whose central idea revolves around Satan trying to reassert himself on Earth by using a 17th Century English village as his bridgehead . Realistic ? Of course not but my disbelief was totally suspended for the entire running time . There's quite a few themes going on at the same time such as the abuse of authority , of scapegoating , sexual repression and sexual awakening and the hypnotic power of sexuality

Piers Haggard doesn't have a massive budget to work with but he does the absolute best with what he's got . Where he succeeds best is in the production design . This isn't the expensive looking interiors you'd find in a big budget historical movie but far more cramped and drab interiors befitting of the times which comes over as being totally realistic . The cast too are very good especially when you compare to these all too good looking and sassy teens we've seen over the decades in American horror movies . Their accents might be a bit too cod regional but this is a minor flaw . The ending itself might be a too silly for its own good where the supernatural comes to the fore but this is always the problem featuring the supernatural . Up until then the human aspects is enough to keep the story going in a horror film that remains something of a cult but perhaps deserves to be better regarded in horror circles


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 April 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Blood on Satan's Claw See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP82,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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