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  Satan's Mistress Woo-oo! Wood WooedBuy this film here.
Year: 1982
Director: James Polakof
Stars: Britt Ekland, Lana Wood, Kabir Bedi, Don Galloway, John Carradine, Sherry Scott, Elise-Anne, Tom Hallick, Chris Polakof, John Simon, Alan Harris, Michael Blackburn
Genre: Horror, Sex, Trash
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Lisa (Lana Wood) has been suffering domestically recently, mainly thanks to her husband Burt (Tom Hallick) being at work, her daughter Michelle (Sherry Scott) being at school, and her home in a Californian beach house being far away from her friends, or any company at all, for that matter. This has made her relationship with Burt fraught with tension, as she wonders why he is not paying attention to her and fears the worst, but really her isolation is sending her ever so slightly around the bend. For that reason, she is easy pickings for a spirit (Kabir Bedi) who takes notice of her, and visits her in her bedroom one afternoon to give her the most thunderous orgasm ever...

Now, you might have thought from the premise above, coupled with the release year, that Satan's Mistress was a rip-off of the previous year's hit horror The Entity, but actually this was made first, some four years before it came out. Not that the other female-centred chiller's success was not a motive for dusting it off and putting it out there for the public to see, but it did have the advantage of pursuing the theme before, plus the major disadvantage of showing up after the party was over - though thanks to the old retitling trick, it was able to be re-released over and over under different names throughout the nineteen-eighties: imagine getting duped into seeing this twice.

That was more chilling than anything here, which was frankly incoherent, either thanks to its limited budget or its poor handling. It posed as a study of loneliness, specifically in those who are at home all day like Lisa, so every so often you would get a scene where, say, John Carradine appeared as a priest and offered a lecture on how the lonely can be subjected to all sorts of demons, both figurative and literal, as if that was able to clear anything up. It didn't, and you had to observe it failed to explain who the bearded Indian bloke was who kept turning up to service our hapless heroine, who seemed to be under a spell of possession, a la the big seventies horror The Exorcist.

Wood had been a Bond Girl in 1971's Diamonds are Forever, which had garnered her some attention, as did her willingness to doff her togs for the camera, something her sister Natalie Wood would not have indulged in, but you could never particularly term her a major star like her sibling. With choices like Satan's Mistress, this was not a huge shock, though then again perhaps it was all she was being offered, and the chance to explore the sort of character not often depicted on the screen might have been attractive as well. Hmm, the road to Hell being paved with good intentions and all that would not lead you to be too taken aback when director and co-writer James Polakoff was not up to the task, certainly his sound recordist wasn't, as too many scenes had dialogue drowned out.

By the ocean, by the music, by the soundtrack of weird noises, you name it, it did not help the film in being any easier to follow. There was another Bond Girl present, a rather more celebrated one, in the shape of Lisa's pal Britt Ekland, who was in a handful of scenes yet managed to rate top billing despite Lana's status as the protagonist. She was married to Don Galloway's wisecracking character, Galloway a TV actor who never made it on the big screen, but here at least demonstrated that nobody likes a wiseacre by dint of the fact the spirit chops his head off with the guillotine that happened to be in the basement. Why was there a guillotine in the basement? You got me. As if that was not enough of a muddle, daughter Michelle is visited by a female spirit who inflicts nightmares on her in two sequences blighted with a wavy line effect that makes them highly difficult to make out. Really, whatever good intentions this may lay claim to were sabotaged by its overriding interest to show off Lana in a state of undress: pure exploitation, under the banner of pretension. Music by Roger Kellaway.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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