SATAN'S CHEERLEADERS (1976)
Label: VCI Entertainment
Region Code: Region Free
Duration: 93 minutes
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78.1)
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78.1)
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles
Director: Greydon Clark
Cast: John Ireland, Yvonne De Carlo, Jack Kruschen, John Carradine, Sydney Chaplin
Horny cheerleaders and a cult of Devil worshipers collide in this fantastic slice of drive-in exploitation from low budget director Greydon Clark (Without Warning) who begins the film with a fun beach scene of horny bikini-clad cheerleaders playing a game of touch football with the school football team. The frustrated coach implores the team to save their precious bodily fluids for the big game tomorrow, but the cheer squad have other plans, and the jocks will be scoring long before tomorrow's bug game.
The following day the cheerleaders and their air-headed PE coach (Jacqueline Cole) are en route to the big game when they're car breaks down on the side of the road, luckily for them Billy (Jack Kruschen) the school janitor Billy happens along and offers them a ride. What they don't know is that Billy is a sequin-studded peeping tom who regularly spies on the naked cheerleaders through a peephole in the shower room, and he has no intention of transporting them to the game. He kidnaps them and whisks them away to a Satanic altar out in the middle of nowhere where he will sacrifice them in the name of Satan, and get his rocks off in the process. Unfortunately for him things don't go as planned and one of the young cheerleaders named Patti (Kerry Sherman) strips nude and lays on the altar and is apparently raped by the Beelzebub while Billy throws a tantrum off to the side yelling that this was not the plan. There are corny red flashes on screen and Billy drops dead, seems making a deal with Old Scratch never goes as planned. Now slightly dazed poor Patty seem transformed by the Satan-rape experience, becoming more sinister herself.
The girls make of with Billy's truck and encounter a bum on the side of the road, played by b-movie hero John Carradine (The House of Seven Corpses), who directs them into the town of Nether where they find Sheriff B.L. Bubb (John Ireland, Red River) and his wife. Emily, played by Yvonne Decarlo, whom you might better know as Herman's wife Lily from The Munsters TV program, but who had definitely seen better days at this point in her career. In a turn straight out of Race With the Devil it turns out that the Sheriff is the leader of the satanic cult and he and his devil-worshiping wife plan to make a virgin sacrifice at the stroke of midnight. There's only one problem, these cheerleaders have not been virgins for quite some time, which throws a wrench into the diabolical plans of the hayseed Satanists.
Satan's Cheerleaders is a very silly and camp-infused seventies slice of Satanic cinema with oodles of poor acting and unintentional hilarity, it is a truly awful film but manages to be immensely entertaining for those same reasons, it's just ridiculous fun. These ladies do not have an ounce of talent between them but they are super cute and very easy on the eyes, I love 70's babes. Add in phones in performances from b-movie stars John Carradine, John Ireland and Yvonne Decarlo and you have the makings of b-movie romp ready for ridicule with a few brews and a roomful of drunk friends, which really is the only way to watch something this bad. Of note, this was one of cinematographer Dean Cundey's early features, he would go onto a very storied career beginning with John Carpenter Halloween just a few year's later but don't go in expecting this to be an early example of his visual artistry, it's not.
The disc from VCI offers the film in anamorphic widescreen for the first time but won't win any year end awards for the transfer, which is soft and flat with poor contrast, and muted colors. Day shots fare better than the under lit night scenes which are a murky undefined mess, but at least the source material is in fair condition without an abundance of print damage. There's a commentary from director Greydon Clark who tends to be technical and overly serious when discussing such a silly movie, but he does offer plenty of making-of anecdotes and behind-the-scenes info that fans of the film might enjoy.
Satan's Cheerleaders is a silly slice of devil-worshiping cinema that's sure to have your eyes rolling back in your head with loads unintentional camp and awful acting, but I wouldn't change a thing about it other than to say more nudity wouldn't have made it better, just more enjoyable. 2/5
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