Asylum of Satan/Satan's Children
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Asylum of Satan (1971) - Lovely Lucina Martin suspects there's something wrong with the rest home where she's recovering from a nervous breakdown. Therapy includes covering a patient in bugs, setting another on fire, and tossing a third into a pool full of snakes. Then there's the hatchet-faced ghoul running around upstairs and a grinning demon lurking in the basement. Which is why Lucina believes that this is not a tranquil hospital but actually an Asylum of Satan! The first feature from William Girdler, director of "Three on a Meathook" and "The Manitou," is fun, gory drive-in fare direct from Jefferson County, Kentucky. "Satan's Children" (1974) - Runaway teen Bobby is given shelter by a friendly cult of Satanists, but his presence--and questionable sexuality--leads to conflicts within Satan's Children, especially after a lesbian member is damned to Hell. But Bobby proves to be one sick puppy, which he demonstrates in ways that would even make the devil smile. So hilarious, homophobic, and just plain insane, you'd think Lucifer himself was personally involved!
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ASYLUM OF SATAN's plot concerns Lucinda MARTIN, a young woman who is hospitalized after a nervous breakdown and trasferred to a weird private clinic. Her mental and physical health however is at risk there since the rundown medical facility is in fact run by devil worshippers. While the few other patients are killed one by one, Lucinda's fiance despairingly tries to save her, as Lucinda awaits her fate as human sacrifice in a black mass. I don't want to give away the ending, but you can expect a not so unusual twist ending.
ASYLUM OF SATAN clearly shows its shoe-string budget, but is entertaining in a trashy way with its cheap thrills and ridiculous make-up effects. The Devil himself appears toward the end of the film - likely you fall out of your chair laughing when you see this basement make-up "effort". However some scenes manage to be effective, my favorite being the scene with the blind female patient being killed in an indoor swimming pool by snakes.
The second film of this devilish double feature is much better. SATAN'S CHILDREN is a very grim and bad taste movie from the glorious 1970ies, when nobody cared about political correctness.
The plot revolves around runaway teenager Bobby, who flees his sexually teasing stepsister and his tyrant father, only to bump into a vicious homosexual. He holds Bobby at knife-point and phones his equally depraved gay friends for a "hell ass party"(!) They throw Bobby out of their car after they had gang raped him. Bobby is found hurt and naked by some satanists, who resemble more a bunch of hippies than a group of devil worshippers. To put it briefly, problems for Bobby ensue, as the female second in command develops a crush for him, much to the annoyance of other satanists and to the group's leader. Bobby's love interest finds herself buried up to her neck and tortured with ants (!), while Bobby is kicked out of the group, because "Satan hates queers". Will he gain the respect of the satanists?
Without wanting to give too much away I assure you that the end is very mean spirited and cruel - just the way I like it. It involves quicksand, shotgun mayhem, dismemberment and a human sacrifice. Very satisfying ending indeed. I highly recommend SATAN'S CHILDREN, however the squeamish should not apply.
The extras on this DVD are a mixed bag. I urge you to skip the short feature THE SOUL SNATCHER. Despite the brief running time it seems to last forever, is pointless and boring beyond belief. The trailers however are great. Aside from the quite effective trailer for ASYLUM OF SATAN I particularly enjoyed the trashy but fun HORROR HIGH trailer and the trailer for DR. TARR'S TORTURE DUNGEON, which is weird and has a certain arthouse feel to it. My favorite however is the trailer for MANSION OF THE DOOMED, where people are held captive and get their eyes removed. Watch if you dare!
Another cool extra feature is the large gallery of horror comic artwork. I also enjoyed Patty BREEN's extensive liner notes regarding William GIRDLER's ASYLUM OF SATAN. Full of interesting details, it provides entertaining insight into B-movie making.
Conclusion: An essential purchase for fans of trashy horror flicks, all others approach with extreme caution.
The other big question is why is Kissinger playing both Martine and Specter? Is there some reason besides the opportunity to Martine to help Lucina take a bath? I could list a whole bunch of questions that come to mind while watching this movie and I have to admit that that clearly Gridler wants us to be asking questions. The problem is that answers to these questions are not always forthcoming and there is a definite sense of ambiguity that the film cultivates to no clear purpose. However, the point where your jaw will drop down is clearly going to be when Satan shows up. This is because supposedly Satan is wearing the same mask the devil wore in "Rosemary's Baby." If you have seen "Rosemary's Baby" you will not remember seeing Satan's face in that movie you will understand why when you see Satan's face in "Asylum of Satan." I would say it is all downhill by that point in the movie, but this whole movie is below sea level and the face of Satan provides only a brief respite in this overall totally boring film.
What this DVD does offer is a commentary track that is easily twice as good as the movie itself, with Jeffery C. Hogue of Majestic International Films and Girdler biographer Patty Breen (whose booklet "Girdler, the Devil, and Asylum of Satan" comes with the DVD), offering background information and drinking game recommendations for "Asylum of Satan." There are also seven minutes of behind-the-scenes footage of the film for those who like to see scenes from a movie by a hand held camera. The trailer for "Asylum of Satan" is one of nine focusing mainly on bad things happening in a mansion, house, or basement, although "Dr. Tarr's Torture Dungeon" and "Horror High" are probably the most interesting ones in the bunch.
For me the high point of the DVD is "Satan's Dance," the Devilish Short Subject in which burlesque dancer Lorraine Lane does an inventive routine where her right arm and side are dressed up as a devil (complete with a head), who seduces her. If you have never seen one dancer being two persons at once, this is something of a treat. "The Soul Snatcher" the featurette, provided to make sure "Asylum of Satan" is not the worst thing you will see on the DVD (if the devil offers you shoes, just say "no"). There is also a Ghastly Gallery of Ghoulish Comic Cover Art with Horror Audio Rarities, but comic book covers are never as interesting as exploitation art.
"Satan's Children" begins with poor Bobby Douglas (Stephen White), constantly being yelled at by his stepfather (Eldon Mecham) and teased by his his stepsister (Joyce Mollony). So he runs away from home and discovers things can be worse when he is raped by a biker gang, who leave him naked near a community of young Satan worshippers. Sherry (Kathleen Archer), who is in charge while their leader Simon (Robert C. Ray II) is away, helps Bobby recover and decides to join him in bed. However the other Satanists disapprove because they think Bobby is either gay (which is bad) or weak (which might be worse according to their beliefs). Sherry orders Monica (Rosemary Orlando), who appears to have lesbian thoughts, punished and then Simon comes back and orders Sherry punished. On that last part I have to say that with all the fake blood and gore in these movies it is nice to see that you can gross people out by creatively using ants (which are much better than the plastic spiders from the first feature).
What makes director Joe Wiezycki's 1975 film interesting is basically the last five minutes when Bobby decides to stop being weak. After all, if a Satan worshipper challenges your manhood, then you just have to step up to the plate. I have to admit the ending of this one made me laugh out loud (in amazement and not pleasure). I guess the thought that Satan is homophobic never really occurred to me before. I liked "Satan's Children" a bit more than "Asylum of Satan," which had slightly better production values but was just too boring for me. The extras are the best part of this DVD and earn an extra star, but just barely.
1. The amount of times the Douglas family exclaims ALL RIGHT!!!
2. The amount of time Bobby Douglas is walking on the street before going into a gay bar.
3. The speed in which Jake and Bobby travel on his MoPed. They are going so slow, Jake can barley keep it steady.
4. How long Janice's leg is under the table, and the look of accomplishment on Bobby's face.
5. The background when the one girl is getting asked if she is gay or not.
6. The soup Bobby is get fed while he is hurt (It's water)
7. The gunfire screams at the end.
8. The 45-minute love song, while Janice is hanging.
You see all these great scenes and more in Satan's Children!!!
Oh yeah don't miss Chris Duncan's mustache or the zipper on the Satan outfit in the remarkable Asylum or Satan!!!