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  Satan's Cheerleaders 2-4-6-8! Who Do We Eliminate?
Year: 1977
Director: Greydon Clark
Stars: John Ireland, Yvonne De Carlo, Jack Kruschen, John Carradine, Sydney Chaplin, Jacqueline Cole, Kerry Sherman, Hillary Horan, Alisa Powell, Sherry Marks, Lane Caudell, Joseph Carlo, Michael Donovan O'Donnell, Robin Greer
Genre: Horror, Comedy, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: The local university's cheerleading team of four girls are practicing their latest routines with their trainer, Miss Johnson (Jacqueline Cole), while on the beach. Miss Johnson worries their moves are too suggestive, but the cheerleaders take little notice and soon some guys from the football team show up to play a little game with them. Their coach (Joseph Carlo) is not happy, and when a group from a rival college arrive they stage a "chicken" fight as to who should be staying on the beach. However, these petty concerns will pale into insignificance when the janitor at the university reveals his own plans - schemes which involve Satan himself...

When the names come up before the title to Satan's Cheerleaders, it's clear that those top billed are not playing the main characters, so I'm sorry, this is not your chance to see John Ireland and John Carradine as cheerleaders. But those twin obsessions of nineteen-seventies exploitation cinema, Satanists for horror and cheerleaders for sex comedy, are combined here to produce a film that is neither especially frightening or especially sexy. Or funny, for that matter; what it is is camp, and not all that amusing camp at that, which is a pity considering the opportunities offered by such a title ideal for spoofs.

Scripted by director Greydon Clark and producer Alvin L. Fast, the film takes its own sweet time in getting the plot moving. The intelligence levels of our heroines are presented early on when Patti (Kerry Sherman) sits alone on the beach for a minute, and when asked what she's doing she replies that she's just thinking. "Why would anyone want to do that? is the baffled response. When the foursome return to the university for more practice, they engage in a water fight with their rivals which raises the ire of the coach once more, and so it's off to the showers, but don't get too excited as the person who sees the most is Mr Brooks (Jack Kruschen), the peeping tom janitor.

What Mr Brooks has in mind is sacrificing the girls to Satan that very night, and using some mumbo-jumbo he manages to get their car to crash on the way to the big game. Nobody is hurt, but Brooks quickly arrives to offer them a lift, much to the disdain of the cheerleaders, who are all basically the same character, so thank goodness they have their names printed on their costumes so we can tell them apart. Switching between perky and sarcastic, the young ladies are not in truth any better written than the Satanists, who are just as two-dimensional.

And speaking of the Satanists, they make their presence felt when Brooks leads the girls to an altar in the middle of nowhere, and Patti is imbued with special devil powers, meaning that there are two factions representing evil in the film, with apparently baddie goodies and baddie baddies to contend with each other. The film's fatal flaw is that it's not sure how seriously to take itself, with the cheerleaders figures of fun, but having an offscreen rape and a character being eaten by dogs too, which isn't exactly hilarious. Ireland plays a sheriff called B.L. Bubb (shouldn't that be B.L.Z. Bubb?), which should give you a hint to his inclinations, and the last half hour is dominated by an interminable chase around the countryside with the sheriff in pursuit. Silly and inconsequential it all may be, but at least it's aware of how daft it is. Music by Gerald Lee.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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