Friday, August 13, 2021

Satan's Cheerleaders

Satan’s Cheerleaders
Greydon Clark

Satanists trick a group of high school cheerleaders into their clutches. They require a virgin to sacrifice to Satan. Unfortunately for them one of these cheerleaders wields supernatural powers of her own. Now she has to keep her teammates alive long enough to escape.

The first twenty minutes of Satan’s Cheerleaders is pretty standard 1970s T&A comedy, there are the cheerleaders in skimpy outfits, the horny jocks, the clueless teacher, and the evil janitor who uses his Satanic powers to spy on the girls in the locker room. We get two interesting turns: Patti (Kerry Sherman) seems to have powers of her own and later the whole team is kidnapped and trucked of to a cult compound. The terrible jokes continue but at least Satan’s Cheerleaders looks like it’s going to be a goofball exploitation comedy with some low stakes for the duration, and it basically is at least until…

"Yoo-hoo, Satan!"

So, we are bopping along in this very light and very silly T&A comedy that seems to be balancing things just fine when we get a gross tonal shift featuring a sexual assault. As far as these things go, it thankfully happens off screen, but it is such an ugly moment in something so weightless. It’s dropped note that a film like this isn’t really equipped to deal with. That fact that it comes into play at the film’s climax is just insult to injury and it throws off the rest of the film. There’s a maddening lightness to all the events of this film after this point. There are no real consequences for anyone. The whole thing goes out with a coda featuring the football being helped towards victory with Satanic powers, and if the whole film hadn’t just hinged on an off-screen rape, I might have even found that a charming way end things. 

These Ring remakes are getting weirder and weirder.

We get a few famous faces in the film, Yvonne De Carlo is Emmy, one of the cult heads and there is a cameo by John Carradine. Neither is enough to elevate the film above mediocre but it’s always nice to see a familiar actor. Kerry Sherman never brings any real gravitas or other worldliness to her witch character and the fact things hinge upon her actions doesn’t help. Jacqulin Cole is Ms. Johnson, the head of the cheerleader team. She’s fun, but gets the absolutely worst lines in the film and is on the receiving end of the most egregious transgressions in the whole story. 

Satan’s Cheerleaders is a mess, it doesn’t really work as exploitation, horror, or comedy as it can never commit to any of them well enough to make things work. It is a shame too because this is a perfect recipe for something memorable. Well, it is memorable, but probably not for the reasons it should be. There are much better titty comedies out there, that are much better Satanic cult horror films out there. I’d search those out rather than spend any more time with Satan’s Cheerleaders.

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