Friday, August 28, 2020

Satanist, The (1968)

Directed by:
Zoltan G. Spencer

“Perhaps I am mad. Maybe you can help decide whether my story really happened or is the product of an incurably sick mind.”

Challenge accepted!

Heeding his doctor's orders for "absolute rest" (well, sort of) excessively-hairy writer Joe leaves the big city to stay in a rented home in a small town. You see, while he was working on his latest novel he suffered from a nervous breakdown. Now he's to take a long break from writing whilst avoiding a "strenuous social life." Joe and his wife Mary (Mary Bauer) decide to use this opportunity for a second honeymoon. As soon as they walk in the door, Joe whips out his typewriter (cheater) while Mary whips off her clothes. Seeing how he's obsessed with his career, Mary has to put the cover back on the typewriter, take away his papers and basically drag his ass into the bedroom to get a little lovin'. What a honeymoon!

While out driving through the hills a few days later, the couple accidentally hit a sophisticated-looking woman riding a bicycle. Miraculously, she hops back up, dusts herself off, smiles, introduces herself as Shandra and immediately invites them to her home for drinks and conversation. Feeling it would be somewhat impolite to turn down an offer from the woman they just mowed over, they oblige.

The couple are first struck by the strange decorations and trinkets at Shandra's home, which start making more sense when she confides in them that she is a "student of the occult." Joe sees flashes of a topless woman in the mirror that he writes off as hallucinations from lack of sleep. Before they go, Shandra gives Joe a book on the occult she thinks he may find interesting and invites them to a party on the Sabbath where they'll be guests of honor. I don't know about you, but if a bizarre-acting and seemingly-immortal Satanist invited me to their party as the guest of honor, I know I'd definitely show up!

While Mary's asleep, Joe sneaks back to Shandra's home and peaks through the window to watch a ceremony that involves a topless "slave girl" (Pat Barrington aka Pat Barringer aka Camille Grant) getting rubbed down with cream and then Shandra transforming into a man and making love to her. What time's that party again? When Joe returns home and goes to bed, he experiences "a most curious and erotic dream" about a blonde succubus sneaking into his bedroom and "draining his life" while his wife is fast asleep next to them. After having this dream for a succession of nights, Joe finds himself feeling lethargic and becoming more obsessed with the occult book. Concerned about the influence their brief encounter with Shandra has had on her husband, Mary decides to pay her a visit and stumbles upon a disciple performing a black magic ceremony in the back yard dressed in nothing but a cape and thong. Joe's missing glasses are being used in the ceremony so she snatches them and runs off.

If you're expecting Joe and Mary to immediately flee back to the big city in horror, think again. Instead, they decide to attend Shandra's black mass, where they join 11 others to make up 13, sip on wine and watch Barrington dance topless for nearly ten minutes. To no one's surprise but their own, their drinks have been drugged. Joe is chained up to the wall while Mary is "stripped and shown naked and unashamed" before the coven. Male cultists then trade off a sheep headdress as they gang bang her on an altar, making her "the bride of the devil." The event is topped off by a "bacchanal of the flesh" aka an orgy and then there's another twist at the very end that's ripped off from a very famous silent horror classic.

As you can probably surmise from my description, this is all clearly very stupid. And there's not enough plot here to sustain 20 minutes, let alone 62, so this has a tendency to drag. And it was made during a transitional period in adult films; while this is filled with T&A and has a few awkward soft-core scenes, full frontal nudity and more graphic sex would become the standard just a few years later so this is comparatively tame. And it was shot without sound, nobody bothered to dub the actors in later so we get lots of lips moving and nothing coming out and horribly-written narration (delivered by "Joe") is added over top. And the sets are cheap. And the music sucks. The list of obvious issues is huge. However, judging this for what it is, when it was made and why it was made (to showcase voluptuous women), I suppose it succeeds. At least it's competently shot and there are a few imaginative bits here and there.

Director Zoltan G. Spencer (real name: Spencer Crilly) was an award-winning industrial and travelogue filmmaker before ending his long career with a string of low budget sexploitation flicks in the late 60s and early 70s. He also made TERROR AT ORGY CASTLE (1970) and The Hand of Pleasure (1971), which I've been told I need to see. There are no actor credits but bizarrely there's a "characters" list. The lone recognizable face is actress / model / dancer Barrington, whose interesting life is profiled on a Rialto Report podcast that I highly recommend. If you have an hour to spare, it's better spent listening to that than viewing this.

This was produced by Spencer's own Satyr IX Productions, was distributed theatrically by Olympus International Films and then disappeared for decades. It was thought lost until a 35mm print was discovered and screened at Exhumed Films' Forgotten Film Festival in 2014. It was then released on DVD by Garagehouse Pictures in 2016.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...