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Benedict High School's cheerleaders aren't shy and sweet. The football team knows them well - and Billy, the school's disturbed janitor, would like to. In the locker room, the girl's shower and dress, unaware of the evil eyes which secretly watch them. They don't know that a curse has been placed on their clothes. And they don't know that their trip to the first big game of the season might sideline them for eternity. Will the cheerleaders succumb to the dark ritual of sexual sacrifice and death that's been plotted for them? Only those who dare watch will know!
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It actually isn't bad, from a bad is good perspective. Some of the acting is just so overwrought it is hysterical. The script is very funny at times, probably unintentionally so. (When the writers tried to be clever, it was obvious.) Yvonne DeCarlo is in it as a high priestess, and it's fun to hear Lily Munster's voice chanting satanic phrases, replete with lots of sound effects as she pleads to Satan to kill the cheerleaders.
If you like looking at young women in skimpy outfits, you'll enjoy the first half hour during which many of them are in bikinis. And you may enjoy when one of the cheerleaders mates with Satan (well, you don't actually see Satan, but that's what you're supposed to believe) on an altar.
While this certainly cannot compete with "Plan 9 From Outer Space" in terms of being the worst film of all time, it does have a number of glaring errors as well, particularly edits which do not make sense.
The worst thing about this movie, however, is that it has too much extraneous junk in it, and only one of the cheerleaders has any connection with Satan. It actually takes a while to even understand why the film is called "Satan's Cheerleaders."
DVD quality is mediocre at best. The mono Dolby Digital sound is almost always intelligible. The picture is okay but there are the occasional black circles and other picture flaws. The only extras are two trailers, one for this film and one for a film called "Ruby." I've never seen "Ruby" but it looks like an attempt to recreate "The Exorcist." The trailer is hysterical but my guess is that the best two minutes of the film were used for the trailer.
Satan's Cheerleaders is certainly of the genre of cheapo, softly sexploitational flicks that no viewer expects to be good. One would imagine that competent actors like John Ireland, Yvonne DeCarlo, and John Carradine would be utterly wasted in such a debacle--either in one-take cameos or in straitjacketed portrayals that would squelch even the ability of an Olivier. Not so, however. Carradine's bum character is tailor-made for a thespian of his talents, and he plays it to the subtly satired hilt. Ireland simply casts his skills aside and phones in a flat reading of his lines--seemingly in an attempt at humor--and, to a point, succeeds. DeCarlo gives it her utmost, but in a portrayal that requires her to repeatedly mumble a weird hybrid of Satanic/Wiccan incantations, she merely comes off as ridiculous. Her performance, however, is the closest the movie comes to being so bad it's good.
Charactor actor Jack Kruschen gives his janitor role a decent effort, but the remainder of the cast is, for the most part, composed of non-actors and those of marginal abilities. The action takes almost forever to move beyond cheerleaders flashing their legs to an actual plot--a limp, plodding one that is kept barely breathing by the intermittent presences of Ireland, DeCarlo, and/or Carradine. The trio does, however, supply just enough sardonic zest to make such a grade-Z feature worth a look--well, maybe....
The movie begins with a poorly lit scene featuring some robed individuals performing some kind of ceremony in the woods at night. After this, we're taken to a sunny beach scene, where some high school students are playing touch football and we get to meet the nubile cheerleading squad of Benedict High School...there's Patti (Sherman), the petite blonde, Chris (Horan), the slightly chubby brunette, Sharon (Marks), the extremely well developed (in terms of body, not brains) sandy haired blonde, Debbie (Powell), the slutty one, and their coach Ms. Johnson (Cole), who's about the most idiotically naive character I've seen in a film in a long time. Some members of a rival school show up, words are exchanged, a `chicken' fight ensues, some water balloons are thrown, and Debbie gets it on with a player in the bushes. The girls head back to school for a shower scene (a lame one at that) prior to leaving for the big game, and are spied upon by Billy (Kruschen), the creepy janitor, who surely hates those uppity kids. Oh yeah, Billy is also a part of the Satanic cult seen earlier in the film...go figure. The girls don their uniforms (complete with t-shirts featuring their names on the front), Debbie gets it on with the quarterback, and they all leave for the game. Some car trouble ensues, and Billy just happens to come along, offers them a ride, but kidnaps them in the process (Billy's taken a real shine to Patti), and Debbie offers herself up in exchange for freedom. The girls manage to escape, find the local sheriff (Ireland), and are home free, right? Wrong...turns out the sheriff and his wife (De Carlo) are in the cult too, and are planning a sacrificial ceremony, one where a pure maiden will be offered up, but this poses a problem as there's nary a one in the bunch...or is there? The girls escape again, but get caught again, and Debbie offers up herself in exchange for freedom...again...yeah, okay, we get it, Debbie's like a doorknob, everyone gets a turn...some more stuff happens and Satan, represented by a cheap wooden mask and an even cheaper red solarization effect, makes the scene...oh bruther...
I really do enjoy oddball, exploitive features from the 60s and 70s, but I have to admit, even for Greydon Clark, Satan's Cheerleaders was a real stinker. The acting, the directing, the script, it all suffers here (along with the audience). My favorite character here had to be Billy, the lecherous janitor, played by the multi-purpose, ethnic character actor Jack Kruschen whom many might remember as 'Papa' Papadapolis from the early 80s TV series "Webster". Be sure to get a good look at his off work apparel, which consisted of snazzy polyester leisure wear and denim shirts festooned with rhinestones. The girls, who would have been interchangeable had they not been wearing their names on the front of their T-shirts, spent most of the time either getting, or making, not so subtle innuendoes ("I'm wild about your backfield in motion!") or remarks with regards to their own lack of virtue...near the end, when the coven is trying to find an unsoiled maiden in the bunch, Chris blurts out "Are you kidding me? I'm no maiden...I've been a cheerleader for three years!" ...and I didn't get the impression she said that as a way to get out of being sacrificed (none of the girls were that smart), but more so because it was true...lovely. This was the extent of the comedy, which would often feature some screwy tuba music to try and help punctuate the intent of being humorous...it worked, but not through any intentional efforts put forth by those making the film. Carradine's character is kind of interesting (albeit pointless), appearing for about a total of five minutes on the screen. He's credited as `The Bum', a drifter type whom the girls run across a couple of times. Check out the scene where, after the girls escape from the sheriff and split up, Debbie comes across Carradine's character and Carradine goes into his own little scene like Debbie wasn't even there. As far as Ireland and De Carlo, they seemed like they were trying to make the best out of it, knee deep in swill as they were...a job's a job (and a check's a check), I suppose. De Carlo hams it up pretty well, especially when she's spouting the devil speak, but gets shortchanged near the end as her finale occurs off screen. And then there's Ireland as the sheriff and leader of the coven...he has two Doberman Pinchers, named Lucifer and Diablo (oh bruther), a pentagram hanging over the fireplace mantle, and a shrine of evil behind a curtain in the living room. Oh yeah, he and his fellow worshippers also have a tendency to wear their colorful cult robes around in broad daylight, indicating either the entire town is in on the evil shenanigans, or there's just an overall sloppiness of the coven in general...as for the coven, they were perhaps the least frightening, most unorganized, grabasstic gaggle of devil worshipers I've ever seen...and I've seen a few, cinematically speaking. I sincerely doubted Satan would have aligned himself with such an incompetent gaggle of boneheads. If you're looking for sleaze, there's not a lot (not as much as I'd hoped), and the nekkidness, while present, is minimal, limited to Ms. Sherman showing off her boobery in a couple of scenes.
The picture, presented in fullscreen, on this VCI Entertainment DVD looks about as good as you'd expect a low rent production from the 70s would, meaning it's watchable, but does have significant flaws throughout. The Dolby Digital mono audio does come through well enough. The artwork on the main menu page is about the shoddiest I've ever seen, so much so someone at VCI should see about getting a refund. As far as extras go, there's a couple of rough trailers, one for this film, and another for one called Ruby (1977).
If I learned anything from this film it's that Satan doesn't appreciate `sloppy seconds'...
Most recent customer reviews
The Horror element is quite campy and I wonder if it was regarded the same in 1977.Read more