Like BAD SANTA the film pivots around a little boy who is a long way from being the sharpest tool in the shed; for certain he has trouble separating fact from fantasy. Dad's got him hooked on a computer game called "Satan's Little Helper", and for Halloween he wants to be just that. He hopes if he's good enough Satan will actually show up. While strolling the neighborhood in his little devil costume he spies a hulking black-clad man with a goat-horned Satan mask arranging corpses on the front lawns of houses in broad daylight. Convinced he's Satan he happily introduces himself to the silent marauder and offers to be his helper, provided he tags along home to kill his sister's new boyfriend. The boy is having a great time as this Satan terrorizes and kills assorted townspeople, convinced it's all phony. The boy's family is equally confused, believing this to be the sister's boyfriend playing an elaborate charade. By time they know the truth all proverbial hell has broken loose in the small town.
SATAN'S LITTLE HELPER is the kind of movie destined to be a cult favorite, as Lieberman knows how to construct scenes that are both unnerving and horrific, and within a few breaths is pushing buttons that elicit the kind of laughs where you say "I can't believe he just did that!". This is a low budget film, and certain aspects of the script seem either careless or not fully realized. The character of the boy is one of the most annoying child characters I've seen in a film - you can't help but want to reach out and smack him. The suggestion is at a certain age a child's rich fantasy life makes the fact / fiction separation a precarious task, yet the kid (like in BAD SANTA) just seems so dense he becomes a distraction. What manages to save that from becoming a detriment is just how successful Lieberman realizes his Satan Man character, a killer worthy of joining the likes of Jason, Michael, Freddy, & Leatherface in the horror hall of fame. Performance wise the strongest work comes from Katheryn Winnick as the sister, Joshua Annex as the Satan Man (without ever speaking his entire performance is a gleefully dark pantomime, and he really puts himself into the part), and Amanda Plummer's goofy variation on the Mother role.
There are many more pluses than minuses here. I'm happy to see Jeff Lieberman back, and with such a twisted little film. It's bound to make you look more closely at those gruesome Halloween front-lawn displays in your neighborhood.