Review By Paul Mount, 3.5 out of 5 This moderately-entertaining horror film hails from the early 1970s, when UK horror was still very much the domain of the bods at Hammer and Chris Lee? Dracula was camping it up in increasingly-silly romps and Peter Cushing was still manipulating the twitching corpse of Frankenstein? monster. BLOOD ON SATAN? CLAW is a curio in that it isn? a Hammer film and, whilst it? been largely forgotten over the years, those who remember it probably either think it? part of the Hammer canon or else remember it as a WITCHFINDER GENERAL wannabe with a few breasts thrown in because, hey, it? 1971!
17th Century England. There? no electricity and everyone speaks very determinedly in ?hees?and ?hous? A lowly farmworker uncovers some grisly demonic remains and inadvertently unleashes a terrible power which turns the whole village on its head when the locals – particularly the youngsters – start behaving oddly and growing hair where there should be no hair. Innocent youngsters are mutilated and sacrified and it seems that only the Judge (Wymark) can save the day with his big knife.
BLOOD ON SATAN? CLAW is an odd little piece. It? superbly atmospheric, thanks to lots of squawking crows and tasty location filming, and it? clearly inspired by the gritty feel of the classic WITCHFINDER GENERAL. But where the former was about the Witchfinder and not about the witchcraft, this is more firmly a supernatural horror film with the Behemoth (the Devil?) manifesting himself at the end as a bloke in a cloak with a naff mask. The narrative wanders all over the place, the script? focus shifting from Simon Williams?character, to the pouting temptress Angel Blake (Hayden) and then back to the farm-worker who started it all in the first place (Andrews). So the film seems a bit uneven and characters disappear after a while (Hayden? absence from the centre of the film is quite noticeable) and then return towards the end. But generally it? quite creepy stuff, the horror somewhat diluted by the terrible farting, parping score by Marc Wilkinson which would have suited CARRY ON SCREAMING better than a real horror film. The performances are pretty good and DOCTOR WHO fans will delight in spotting all sorts of guest stars from their favourite show – from Wendy Padbury to Barry Andrews by way of the uncredited Roberta Tovey (from the Peter Cushing movies). However, I think I may be permanently traumatised by the sight of the Master (Ainley) being seduced by Linda Hayden in a celebrated kit-off sequence. Hayden, that is, not Ainley – that would be too terrible to contemplate. BLOOD ON SATAN? CLAW is worth a look but it? hardly the celebrated classic the accompanying booklet and text features would have you believe.
THE DISC: Anchor Bay have done wonders for the DVD release. The picture looks good and there? a nice DTS track which, whilst a bit bassy, is far more than anyone could have expected from a 1971 movie. Just as I was wondering ?hatever happened to Linda Hayden??along pops a thirteen minute interview feature. Trailers, text stuff and photos complete a pleasing little package.