5.3/10
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44 user 32 critic

The Redeemer: Son of Satan! (1978)

Six people are trapped within the confines of their old high school during their 10th high school reunion with a psychotic, masked preacher who kills them off for their sinful lives they have made for themselves.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Damien Knight ... John Sinclair
... Cindy
Nick Carter ... Terry
Nikki Barthen ... Jane
Michael Hollingsworth ... Roger
Gyr Patterson ... Kirsten
T.G. Finkbinder ... The Redeemer
Christopher Flint ... Christopher
Richard Timmins ... George Hanrahan
Jessica Bein ... Maisie Hanrahan
Eric Kjoenes ... School Watchman
Rosa Arift ... Gypsy
Larry Mooney ... Bible Salesman
Daniel Elliot ... Choirboy With Knife
Carla Ness ... Legal Secretary
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Storyline

Six former classmates receive invitations one day to a high school reunion. When they arrive at their alma mater, however, they find that not only are they the only ones to have receved letters, the invitations were actually sent by a deranged preacher intending to murder them all as punishment for their wicked ways. Will any of them escape from the remote schoolhouse alive, or will they all meet their final judgement? Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

If You Have a Craving for Terror...Come to the Class Reunion See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

5 February 1981 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

The Redeemer: Son of Satan  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The angry man in John's law office was played by Layne Loeffler, an alumnus of the Staunton Military Academy (film location) and at the time he owned the defunct school. He leased the property to the filmmakers for one month. He was attempting to raise funds to reopen SMA but was unsuccessful. The building was demolished after the entire property was sold to Mary Baldwin College. Mr. Loeffler passed away several years ago. See more »

Goofs

At the very end of the film, Christopher walks back into the lake and submerges. Once submerged, the scene cuts to a much more broad picture of the lake in which the credits start to roll. If you look very closely at the right side of the picture, you can see a person walking along a path that is on the right edge of the lake. It is clearly Christopher because he has the same blue shirt and maroon pants on. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Times Square (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A neo-mythological slasher told in the form of an acid flashback
16 March 2018 | by See all my reviews

"The Redeemer" follows a group of six adults who are conned into attending a high school reunion party at a the remote academy they all graduated from. Among them are a vain actor; an avaricious lawyer; a woman who married for wealth; a frivolous (albeit kind) woman on her umpteenth divorce; a lesbian in a committed relationship; and a man who is a lite gourmand. When they realize they are the only ones there, they grow somewhat suspicious of the supposed "reunion," and it isn't long before they find themselves locked inside the building. Like rats in a cage, they are systematically knocked off according to their "sinful" proclivities. Oh yeah, and did I mention that the film is inexplicably bookended by the literal son of Satan emerging and entering a lake...or something?

Opinion on "The Redeemer" (also released as "Class Reunion Massacre") seems to be divided, with some reviling the film for its religious overtones and sloppiness, while others herald its surreal disposition and dread; I tend to fall in the camp of the latter for a handful of reasons. While it is admittedly no masterpiece, "The Redeemer" does weave a spell on its audience, and the entire thing feels like it could have been borne out of the writer's fugue state. A large part of this weirdness is due to the bizarre supernatural angle that is woven into the film; the beginning and end almost feel as though they are part of a different movie entirely, while the mid-section is a fairly conventional (albeit atmospheric) slasher. In the beginning and end, there is a boy coming out of a lake and interacting with a lunatic preacher (i.e. the killer); the boy is ostensibly the son of Satan-at times one wonders if the boy is the childhood version of the preacher/killer-the reality is that we'll probably never know. Promotional material for the film tried to tether it to the success of "The Omen," which leaves me wondering if these bookended sequences were added as an afterthought to cash-in on the "supernatural child" motif that was en vogue at the time.

The bulky midsection of the film is remarkably atmospheric, at times reminding me quite a bit of another oddball proto-slasher, "Savage Weekend." There are a few artful sequences leading up to the characters' arrival at the school that predate similar sequences in countless slasher films, and there is an unnerving score that permeates the entire film. The killer's appearance alternates from victim to victim, though each is marked by theatrical pontification; some, such as a shotgun murder, are twisted and ingenious in a tongue-in-cheek way while others, such as a protracted murder in a bathroom, are far more grim and unpleasant to watch. Each of the adult characters have a bit of personality and humanity to them which is supplied by capable performances, so there is an emotional gravitas to the film that makes the killings feel particularly mean-spirited; it also lends a potentially subversive ethos to the proceedings, as the extent to which the characters are truly "sinful" remains questionable as we watch them like lambs to the slaughter.

In the end, it all comes crashing down in the same way it began. Who is the boy with the three thumbs, and why does he come out of the lake? What is his connection to the killer? Why this particular group of "sinners"? Is the film a commentary on religious delusion, or is it a mythological Christian morality tale dressed as a slasher movie? Was the director on acid? I don't have patent answers, but I can say that I find the film endlessly perplexing. Accidental or intentional, there are macabre strokes of genius here. For those who are attracted to the weirder side of the slasher spectrum. 8/10.


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