Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Satan War (1979)

Recently I've been on a real kick with TV shows and movies dealing with spirits, ghosts, demons, etc. Ghost and haunted house movies don't have as much of an affect on me as they used to as a kid, but I just blame that on desensitization. The real hard part as a fan of film is that I've tried to see it all, and in my 20-someodd years of doing so have seen some pretty messed up shit. No matter what though, I still seek out new stories about families or persons who become prey to otherworldly forces.

The film in topic is the 1979 film, Satan War. From a VHS collector standpoint this is a pretty hard-to-find movie, as I had never heard of it until one of the contributors of Bleeding Skull posted a picture a month or so back. The lurid cover of a leather-clad Satan was enough for me to be curious, but then upon hearing it was pretty much a Amityville Horror rip-off, I was 100% into it.

Satan War starts off with a narration describing how the stories you are about to see are based off of real life events in the realm of the supernatural. Louise and Bill, a newlywed couple who have just moved into their new home, start experiencing strange occurrences right after moving in. Their emotions fly abandon as they realize something is changing their surrounding. As Louise hangs the crucifix from their wedding cake, strange events start to occur. Like the cross turning itself upside down to the coffee pot and kitchen cabinets spewing out foul slime. Suddenly they're prisoners in their own home by an unseen entity that will do anything to have them out!

The second story within the credits of Satan War revolves around a tribe that does the mambo, a religious dance that is designed to have the spirits of demons, or whomever, enter your body to allow for their wishes to be realized.

So, yeah. That's basically Satan War. If it sounds like it was a bit trying to get through, it was. This isn't to say it's the worst film I've seen recently (that title still goes to Lunchmeat), but the biggest detractor to a film like this is the constant and ever present music in the film. The synth score, while repetitive, isn't the worst. What is the worst about it is that the film is never able to create its own tension and atmosphere as we're always waiting for the next scare based on the music cues. Over the 60-minute run time of the first segment, there were only maybe 2 minutes that did not have music over it. It just got to the point where it would have been better on mute.

The other big issue I had with the Satan War was, much like the music, the repetitive scares. We get the demon doesn't like crucifixes. We get that it can make lightning, thunder and an earthquake when it's mad. We get it can make animal smelling diarrhea come from every point in your kitchen. That's it. These are basically the only things that happen while the newlyweds move in. Well, Louise also finds herself at the end of 2 sexual assaults by an unseen entity.

Now what's interesting is that some versions of the film appears to have an extra scene prior to the Amityville Horror rip-off that involves a Black Mass. I have included that full, 92:00+ version below.

At the end of the day, Satan War is nothing special. I respect what Bart La Rue was trying to accomplish, but due to the repetitive score and the unwillingness to go balls-out with the scares, this is a film only for those really searching for rare and hard to find movies. I don't think you'll hate yourself after watching it, but you may want to have The Changeling, Legend of Hell House or The Evil as a good pallet cleanser.

Rating: 2 out of 5 Trash Bags

Satan War IMDB

Satan War Wiki

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