Satan’s Mistress (1982): An Accidentally Reflexive Review.

1287558678A lonely woman, longing for the company of her increasingly distant husband, seeks solace in the arms of a mysterious entity who may or may not be a malevolent spirit trapped in their seemingly haunted house. This is the story of Satan’s Mistress (1982), starring Lana Wood and Britt Ekland. This film has a number of alternate titles: Demon Rage, Fury of the Succubus, Dark Eyes, and Demon Seed. It almost goes without saying that it isn’t a good film. At all.

Before I get into my review for Satan’s Mistress, let me tell you the story of how I accidentally watched Cannibal Holocaust (1980) for the first time (I’ve seen it twice now… no more, please). At the time, I was studying linguistics, and was really loving a class called Language Endangerment Studies. It was all about languages becoming extinct due to a variety of reasons. One of our final assignments was to pick an endangered language and write a huge project on it – describing its history, how/why it was endangered, what is currently being done with it, strategies to prevent extinction, et cetera. I chose a severely endangered language from Tierra del Fuego in Argentina, called Tehuelche, which is probably completely extinct by now. This story is going somewhere, I swear.

One night whilst doing my research on Tehuelche, I came across a vague description of a film that sounded interesting. It had a crazy name, but I thought nothing of it. The description went something like, “A man goes in search of a lost South American tribe in order to uncover a video tape that reveals clues regarding a mysterious disappearance”. “That Cannibal Holocaust sounds really interesting!”, I said to myself, young and naive. It was being hosted somewhat legally on the internet somewhere for a film festival, and the synopsis also said something about it being banned in Australia until 2005. I thought, I’d better watch it before it gets taken down! So, I watched it.

I don’t know if any of you have seen Cannibal Holocaust, but it is way more disgusting and graphic than the brief summary sentence above. It’s actually completely gross. There is real footage of animals being killed, really convincing human torture and murder, with a distinct focus on violence against women. The central mystery isn’t even compelling and its approach to understanding non-Western culture is so dated and offensive. I watched the whole thing because once I start watching a film, I generally stick with it til the end. Except for Fat Slags (2004) and Point Break (1991), both of which were just horrible. I really, really hated the film, and it was a thoroughly uncomfortable experience. I should have done more research before leaping in and watching a film with such a ridiculously provocative title.

My point with this story is, I watched Satan’s Mistress as a result of this exact same situation. I clearly haven’t learned anything from my experience with Cannibal Holocaust. I felt like watching a cheesy 80s horror film, I read a stupidly simple summary sentence of the film, thought nothing of the hilarious name, and I thought, “Yep – I’m in, let’s go”. As a result, I’m able to officially say – this film is not good, and it has not dated well. I actually doubt it was an effectively creepy horror film at any point in time.

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Another reason why I watched Satan’s Mistress is because it has a bunch of James Bond actors in it. Firstly, there’s Lana Wood in the lead role, also known as Plenty O’Toole from Diamonds Are Forever (1971). Britt Ekland, Mary Goodnight from The Man With The Golden Gun (1974), makes an appearance as Lana Wood’s best friend slash psychic investigator. Finally, there’s Kabir Bedi, Kamal Khan’s circular saw-wielding henchman from Octopussy (1983), who plays the Satan figure in the film. Literally all of the actors in this film are so wooden. They couldn’t be more wooden if their faces were carved out of a two by four. None of them are particularly impressive or emotive in their respective James Bond films either, but here, it’s as if their acting IQ was decreased by at least fifty points.

As you might be able to guess, the story is ridiculous. Lana Wood and family move in to an isolated beach house where a Satan-type spirit lives and is looking for female company (so to speak). He appears at random times just staring at Lana Wood threateningly, and then for some reason they begin to have a consensual sexual relationship. The rest of the film consists of Lana Wood’s friend and husband trying to figure things out, as Lana and Satan’s relationship starts racking up a body count. Of course, there is a lot of gratuitous nudity in Satan’s Mistress; people should expect this from a cheesy 80s horror film. But the story is just dumb, and it seems like an excuse to see Lana Wood naked a million times. There is zero substance to support the constant nudity and sex scenes. And at no point in time does it contribute anything interesting or new to the horror genre. Most offensively, the music constantly sounds exactly like the battle scenes out of the classic Nintendo 64 game, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. And not in a good way. The whole thing is just dumb.

However, the film does have some quite nice shots of the beach, and of waves breaking onto the shores of where the haunted house is located. That’s all. I give it half a point for that. And here’s hoping that I learn from this experience. The less said about this silly film, the better.

0.5/5
There is no trailer for this on Youtube, it’s that bad. Have a fun song from The Karate Kid instead.

Watch this film at Amazon!

15 comments

  1. Sounds terrible, to be honest, aside from the nudity part 😉 Love the wooden actor part, that was really funny 😀 I did “enjoy” Cannibal Holocaust though, aside from the animal torture which was really hard to watch. It’s probably the most depressing film I’ve ever seen, but I think that was the point. They were trying to show how cruel human beings can be and in that it completely succeeds. So.. I guess you’re not looking forward to Eli Roth’s Green Inferno then? 😉

    1. It’s definitely terrible! Even the nudity is terrible, if you can believe it.

      One thing I did love about Cannibal Holocaust was the music. So much great synthesiser in there. And the message was one that I thought about for a long time. But the violence really put me off! Blending real animal violence and convincing but fake human violence was a total headspin. I think I will watch Green Inferno at some point, I just hope it has a more sensitive approach to indigenous culture! Probably a bit optimistic of me though.

      1. Oh yeah totally, fantastic soundtrack!
        I don’t think it will be very sensitive either btw, but hopefully a step up from Aftershock.. This reminds me: Have you seen any of the Mondo films?

        1. I actually haven’t seen any of the classic Mondo films but I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of them. Have you seen any? Which do you reckon would be a good one to start with?

          1. I think I’ve only ever seen two: The original Mondo Cane (1962) and another one (I can’t recall the title). I don’t know if I’d recommend them 🙂 I was just curious to hear your thoughts on them. They’re very exploitative.

            1. Exploitation cinema is really interesting but it’s a genre I haven’t delved too much into for fear of my brain exploding as a result of racism and bigotry. I reckon it’s time to bite the bullet and give it a go!

  2. Even though your review advises the opposite, I think I would really like to see this one! 🙂

    1. Haha! It would probably make a great drinking game!

  3. The horror is trying to sit thru this whole film! It sounds like a low budget copy-cat of a film that came out aound the same time, The Entity, which is far superior.

    1. Totally right! It was super low budget. Just look at those eyes. But The Entity sounds interesting. Might actually give it a watch!

  4. What?! You lumped Point Break in with THOSE films?! Harsh, harsh, harsh!!!

    1. I know, it’s super harsh. Point Break is literally the only film I’ve started watching, gotten 15 minutes in, and decided to go to sleep instead. I actually got up, brushed my teeth and everything. I’m blaming it on Keanu Reeves!

  5. Lana Wood, of Satan’s Mistress, is scheduled to appear at the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, Sept. 18-20, in Hunt Valley, Md., at the Hunt Valley Wyndham Hotel. Also scheduled to appear are Piper Laurie, Veronica Cartwright, Angela Cartwright, Lee Meredith, George Lazenby, and more. More information is at http://midatlanticnostalgiaconvention.com.

  6. What??? This sounds like my kind of movie!!

    1. Come to think of it, it totally is. Would love to hear your thoughts on this mess! Just as long as you can find it somewhere, since it has about a bajillion alternate titles!

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