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Blood On Satans Claw – Review

Blood on Satans Claw

Well what can be said of this movie?  This 1970 film, released by Tigon British Film Productions, directed by Piers Haggard and written by Robert Wynne-Simmons, is a classic of the sub-genre of folk horror. What is folk horror I hear you ask?  Well it was short lived genre in which the stories took their themes from folklore and paganism.  Other movies from this period that fall into the folk horror category are ‘Witchfinder General’ and ‘The Wicker Man’.

The movie starts in 17th century England in which a ploughman, played by Barry Andrews, unearths a strange desiccated body covered in fur.   From then on events take a turn for the worse.  After asking the local judge (Patrick Wymark) to look at the body they find that it has mysteriously disappeared however he dismisses the ploughman’s initial fears of the supernatural and witchcraft as nothing more than superstition.

Blood on Satans Claw - CrucifixAfter a number of strange events, a woman driven mad and taken to bedlam, one man cutting his own hand from his body after believing it to be a claw belonging to a demon and a number of strange deaths, the judge starts to change his mind. A power seems to have possessed the children of the village who go on to carry out brutal acts of violence and one particularly horrific rape. I won’t give too much of the plot away as I believe that this is a movie that you truly have to experience.

So what’s all the fuss about? Well on a surface level it’s a damned fine horror movie about demonic possession, beautifully shot and well-acted.  Below the surface however  lies a story about the churches fears concerning the burgeoning sexuality of young adults and in particular that of women, the fact that those who were possessed could be spotted by a patch of hair growing upon their bodies and its connection to teen adolescence was not lost on this particular viewer.

So what’s my opinion? Watch and enjoy it, this is lost gem of British horror cinema and I cannot recommend this movie enough.

Blood on Satans Claw - Stump

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