A 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.
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.
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!