(director: Chelsea Stardust; screenwriters: Ted Geoghegan, Grady Hendrix (also story); cinematographer: Mark Evans;  music: Wolfmen of Mars; cast: Hayley Griffith (Samantha Craft), Ruby Modine (Judi Ross),  Jerry O’Connell (Samuel Ross),  Rebecca Romijn (Danica Ross), Jordan Ladd (Kim Larson), Arden Myrin (Gypsy Neumieir), AJ Bowen (Duncan Havermyer), Gina Hughes (Danielle); Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Adam Goldworm/Dallas Sonnier/Amanda Presmyk; RLJE Films; 2019)

“But even if too gory, clunky and terribly flawed, it’s a smarter picture than it looks.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Chelsea Stardust (“Seeing Green”) is director of this senseless low-budget horror comedy about Satanism and human sacrifice. It was shown at the 2019 Fantasia International Film Festival. It’s written by filmmaker Ted Geoghegan and Grady Hendrix as if meant to be a hipster midnight movie. It’s based on a story by the novelist Hendrix. 

Samantha “Sam” Craft (Hayley Griffith) is a teenage cancer survivor and the now 22-year-old on her first day working a pizza delivery job. Delivering on a scooter to a mansion in the exclusive Mill Basin section of Dallas, she is not tipped by the man answering the door. Therefore she goes inside to try and find the owner to get a tip. What she finds is a meeting of scarlet robed high society women Satan worshipers led by the scarlet-clad elegant homeowner Danica Ross (Rebecca Romijn). Danger calls, when the clueless Sam learns the cult need a virgin sacrifice and she’s it. Danica’s recently deflowered clever smart-ass daughter Judi (Ruby Modine) is also a target of the group, so the two band together to try to escape and outwit the crazy Satanists bent on ritualistic punishment.

Gypsy Neumieir (Arden Myrin) has a funny role as the cult member determined to overthrow the hammy acting hateful leader Danica.

Its blend of horror and comedy have mixed results, with its gore scenes coming off best while the comedy often seems forced and more vulgar than funny. There’s also satire directed at the entitled rich as villains who force the working-class to be their slaves.

Rachel Wilson’s bondage outfits are delicious, Wolfmen Of Mars soundtrack is playful, the location shots offer a perfect setting for horror and the lashings are cheesy but are the film’s tastiest bits. Because of the relentless violence (including a disembowelment), this is not a film for those can’t take shocking violence sequences. But even if too gory, clunky and terribly flawed, it’s a smarter picture than it looks. Here the big joke is that the Satanists sold their soul to the Devil for hard cash (He might be financially strapped).

satanic panic

REVIEWED ON 8/22/2019       GRADE: C +