Monday, March 13, 2017

The Redeemer: Son Of Satan (1978)








DIRECTOR: Constantine S. Gochis

WRITER: William Vernick

CAST:

T.G. Finkbinder
Damien Knight
Nick Carter
Jeannetta Arnette
Christopher Flint
Michael Hollingsworth
Nikki Barthen
Gyr Patterson

PLOT:

When a group of six friends meet up and decide to head to their old high school for their class reunion. The group end up getting trapped in the confines of their old high school as a masked preacher begins to hunt them down one by one. This preacher is hunting down the group of friends due to what he believes to be them leading sinful lives and committing perversions. The friends will have to try and escape if they plan to survive the frenzied murder spree.







The Redeemer: Son Of Satan which is also known as Class Reunion Massacre is a low budget proto-slasher from the late seventies that mixes themes of religion with those slasher elements we've all come to know and love. If you were to discover this film as Class Reunion Massacre, you might not realise you are going to watch a movie that is heavy with religious iconology. That title makes this sound like a generic slasher. The film is heavy on those slasher elements, but there are moments in this film that play completely different and make it almost come across as supernatural.

The moments that play most to the supernatural elements that I mention above are the opening scene and the ending. The movie feels bookended by these weird out of place scenes where a child comes out of a secluded lake and returns to the lake when the film ends. I felt like the scenes didn't actually feel like they belonged. This may be due to me being completely in the dark on a lot of stuff relating to religion. I do think for those who were raised in a religious household, this film may speak to them a lot more than it did for me. Hence why I call this supernatural.

The opening and ending scenes are where I think this one has it's biggest problems. The preacher who summons this child from the lake is never really explained beyond the bookended scenes. I think what I took from these brief scenes are that the child is summoned by the preacher to assist with his killing spree and quest to rid all those people he deems perverted or sinful. We are to believe that this is the child of Satan as the movie title suggests, would he not assist a man of God? Wouldn't the son of Satan relish in sin? It's all very confusing.

Where this movie does gain a few points from me is the entire middle section of the film. Once all hell breaks loose inside the confines of the high school, I think this is where the movie is at it's most enjoyable. Once this killer priest starts murdering all of our group of friends, we get a few really enjoyable death scenes. Characters are shot, burnt alive, impaled and stabbed. I was in a state of gleefulness as the killer took out all his victims. Easily the highlight of the movie for me.

One element that surprised me about The Redeemer: Son Of Satan was the fact that the killer wore a different mask and costume every single time he killed off one of the friends. So every time one of the group came into contact with the killer, it was quite a surprise. No death scene was the same in both what the killer wore or how he killed all his victims. One moment that played very well involved a chase scene through the backwoods that ends in the killer dressed as a hunter/lumberjack who shotgun blasts the victim in the stomach.

The Redeemer: Son Of Satan isn't exactly gory or overly bloody. We have a couple of scenes that contain blood and gore, but this is by no means extreme or grotesque in its display of violence. This is one that won't end up on the video nasty list. The most violent scene involves a giant sword falling from the ceiling and into a man's skull. It's one of the best death scenes in the movie. When it comes to the scares, I thought at several times during the running time that the movie successfully built suspense. The scene in the woods was one such moment.

Reading up on this movie, I can see that a couple of people were offended by all the stereotypical LGBT characters in the film. We have one character who is flamboyant, but he is so likeable that I didn't find it as offensive as some viewers did. The main actress also plays a lesbian character and ends up being what some would describe as the almost final girl. Compared to Island Of Death, the characters in this film were much more enjoyable, and I actually wanted to see these ones survive their ordeal.

Lastly, the acting in the film is excellent. Not one of the actors in this film delivered a character who I thought was annoying. I actually enjoyed the chemistry between the cast, and this felt like they were all friends. The only downside of the acting that I can personally pinpoint is the awful killer reveal. Once he is revealed, he isn't as crazy or vengeful as I expected. A chance to go all the way with this religious zealot preacher is a missed opportunity. They could have given us the Westboro Baptist Church type of crazy, but they sadly didn't try for that here.







DEATH TOLL: 7

BLOOD AND GORE:

- Someone is shot in the neck.
- A man is shot in the head.
- A woman is stabbed with a sword.
- A man is set on fire and burns to death.
- The aftermath of a bullet to the throat.
- A woman is hit in the stomach by a shotgun blast.
- A sword is dropped into a man's skull from above.
- A woman is drowned in a bathroom sink.








The Redeemer: Son Of Satan! is a slasher that deserves to be seen. While I wasn't a fan of the religious themes that run rampant throughout the opening and ending of the film, I enjoyed this as a straight up slasher. Some enjoyable kills and a few neat dress changes by the killer keep this slasher entertaining. This movie also does the rare thing and gives us a group of characters who I actually wanted to see survive. This is low budget but still, tries to do things a little differently than the standard stalk and slash storyline. This is worth a watch.


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