Satanism + Cheerleading = An Old-Fashioned 70's Film: Satan's Cheerleaders Blu-ray Review + Screenshots

The cheerleaders look on as one of the girl's boyfriends leaves the area
Greydon Clark's Satan's Cheerleaders is one of those films that you rent because of the title and then are disappointed when the film didn't live up to the title. The film does have some things going for it, but they are few and far between. Still, the film is campy as hell and can be fun.








The Satan's Cheerleaders title card


Commentary with director Greydon Clark

This track is the best thing on this disc. Clark is a studied man of Hollywood, having directed many films, and he puts his knowledge right on the track. He goes everything a filmmaker would need to know about making a film, while he relates everything to Satan’s Cheerleaders. Clark’s delivery is dry, but the track is entertaining as it is informative.

Commentary with genre film director David DeCoteau and journalist David Del Valle

Photo Gallery (3m 5s, HD)

This is a slideshow that contains no music. Stay until the end for something that I was not expecting.




The front of the Satan's Cheerleaders blu-ray from VCI Entertainment


The front cover features what I think is the film’s original theatrical poster. Featuring the four cheerleaders from the film doing a cheer in the fires of hell with Satan himself overlooking them. This is a nice, simple cover that gives the film more credit than it deserves, but I like that VCI went with the theatrical poster.



The back cover of Satan's Cheerleaders blu-ray from VCI Entertainment


The back cover gives us a few screenshots from the film, while also giving us a terrible plot synopsis. We also get a features list, but no tech specs.


The blu-ray and dvd of Satan's Cheerleaders from VCI Entertainemt


There are two discs inside the case: a blu-ray and a dvd. Both feature the same cover art, which in itself is the film’s theatrical poster also featured on the front cover. I am not a big fan of companies using the same art for both discs as it can be confusing to the consumer.

The discs are REGION A and the dvd is REGION 1.







John Carradine looks worse for wear


On the main menu of the disc, we are given two options on how to watch the film: Restored and Original Transfer. I went through both of the transfers and came to the conclusion that the Original Transfer was up to snuff when they got it back from the lab. There are scratches and dirt throughout the film’s runtime and there are also some other anomalies that only appear in the Original Transfer, like rolling damage. I don’t know what it would be called, but there is what appears like a thin snake that rolls through the footage from time to time. I noticed it when the girls are on the football field and thought that I was seeing something weird. I was, but that is not the point.

The Restored version isn’t clear of any damage or anything. There are the specs and dirt that pop up every so often, but nearly as many times as in the Original Transfer. I also noticed that the rolling snake is gone and there is a medium level of grain, especially in the nighttime scenes. Colors look good and skin tones look right. Nothing pops out, but there is nice film-like feel throughout.






Man with handlebar mustache has big gap in his front teeth


The sound here is good but shows that there is some damage to the track. Audio levels are not consistent and, sometimes, is hard to hear. There is also a slight spike on the letter “S”, but nowhere near as bad as John Carpenter’s Body Bags or Black Christmas. There isn’t much in the way of music, but when it does come into play it sounds pretty good.




Morticia Addams has her hand in a flame


The janitor at a local high school is actually the scout for a coven of Satanists on the lookout for a virgin to sacrifice. One day he kidnaps the cheerleading squad to use for their rituals. However, unbeknownst to the devil-worshipers, one of the cheerleaders is actually a witch, and has plans of her own for the Satanists.

I was excited to watch Satan’s Cheerleaders. Here is a film that I had never heard of with an awesome title. I looked on the back of the case and read the following:


“A satanic altar at the high school nodes ill will for the students. Bill, the janitor, decides he’s had enough if the cheerleaders’ teasing. When he brings them to the altar, it’s not the chapel of love”

From this description, I thought that there would satanists in the school (which there is the janitor) who bring the cheerleaders to an altar in the school (which there is none of). I felt like I was in for an interesting mix of high school comedies and satanic horrors. Hell, the tagline for the film is:


“Funnier than “The Omen”...Scarier than “Silent Movie”

How could this go wrong?

The film is more of a “lost in the woods” film than anything else. The cheerleaders and their teacher are on their way to the school’s first big football game of the year. The janitor follows behind the makes a car run the cheerleaders off the road. He picks them up and takes them to the woods, where he plans on raping one of them. He takes his chosen cheerleader to the cleverly hidden satanic altar where he tries to go about his rapey ways. He is struck down by what I assume is the devil and left to die.

The cheerleaders, who have the reactions of someone bored with what is happening rather than being scared, and their teacher, jump into the janitor’s truck and find the local sheriff. It turns out that the sheriff is the satanists’ leader and goes about trying to capture the cheerleaders so he can sacrifice them to Satan.

All of this takes place is very limited locations. Going to IMDb to find out more about the film, I found out that the film was shot in ten days with some of the actors shooting their footage in less than a day. Looking at the film again with that knowledge, I can see how that can be right, but it doesn’t make the film worse than it already is.

I usually can go for a film like this, but it has to have something that hooks me. Sure, the cheerleaders and the satanists are a good catch, but the film has many more problems than it has pluses.

First, the acting sucks, even from the more seasoned veterans. There are two scenes with John Carradine that offer nothing to the film other than “Hey look! We got an actor that you may know!”. This is something that this film and many others made afterwards, would do. They would get an actor who is down on his/her luck and put them in a film. This helps both parties out as the film needs a name actor (doesn’t matter if that name is known anymore) and the actor needs a paycheck. Anyways, Carradine is no needed in the film as he does nothing through his scenes. I wish that the filmmakers could have gotten someone else for that role, but it IS John Carradine, so I guess they get a pass.

The rest of the cast is just as bad. The cheerleaders, being front and center for the whole film, should have been cast better. They can only emote in happy feelings so the scenes where they are needed to be scared or sad, they come off as bored.

The film is also fairly boring. The script just has the cheerleaders show up somewhere only to be sneak away. This happens many times throughout the film and it became very monotonous very quickly. The dialogue is also a culprit here. Many films like Satan’s Cheerleaders have gotten away with having crappy dialogue, but they have something else that makes the film work, like good acting or well-directed setpieces. Here we have characters talking about nothing while doing nothing. I wasn’t annoyed by these characters, which is something that I was fearing, as I am bored by them. There is a water balloon fight towards the beginning of the film that couldn’t have been duller if it had been used to chop wood.

This leads me to the director, Greydon Clark. The man knows the industry inside and out. He has written a book about low-budget filmmaking and has made over ten films. Of the films he has directed, I have seen five of them, and I have not liked a single one. Clark’s films come off as high concept/low effort films. I know that this film had a $75,000 budget, and Clark makes a mention in the commentary track that a third of it went to buying and developing the film, but he still had $50,000 to work with. This is a lot more than Fred Olen Ray has had on many of his films, but Ray has made entertaining films, Clark has not.

Satan’s Cheerleaders is not a terrible film. It is a film that doesn’t live up to its title. The film can be watched (which is something not every film can say) and can be entertaining if in the right mood. I would wager a bet that watching this film with a group of friends instantly makes the film a lot more fun to watch. If the screenplay had been better and the direction been a bit more energetic, then I think that Satan’s Cheerleaders could have been a good film in its own right.




The Film4
The Picture8
The Sound7
The Features8
The Packaging7.5

Summary

Satan's Cheerleaders will never be called a "good" film. Hell, I don't even think that it is a "good" and I love watching crappy films all the time. The acting is terrible, the dialogue is awful, and the direction is mediocre at best. There are some fun scenes, but the film is a bit to "dopey" for me. With a group of friends, Satan's Cheerleaders could be a fun watch.

The blu-ray, from VCI Entertainment, is pretty good. The picture quality is good and they even give us two choices on how we want to watch the film, which is something I have only seen once or twice before. The audio is ok, with some rough sounding patches throughout. The special features are not plentiful, what is there is really good. I can't say that would recommend this, but if you are into films like this then give it a shot.
7
Overall Score





CHECK OUT PAGE 2 FOR MORE SCREENSHOTS FROM THE "RESTORED" VERSION. CHECK OUT PAGE 3 FOR SCREENSHOTS FROM THE "ORIGINAL TRANSFER"!!!!
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