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Greydon Clark
John Ireland, Yvonne De Carlo, Jack Kruschen, John Carradine
Writing Credits:
Greydon Clark, Alvin L. Fast

A janitor puts a curse on a high school cheerleading squad.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English PCM Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 92 min.
Price: $29.96
Release Date: 11/7/2017

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Greydon Clark
• Audio Commentary with Genre Filmmaker David DeCoteau and Film Historian David Del Valle
• Photo Gallery
• DVD Copy


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Satan's Cheerleaders [Blu-Ray] (1977)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 20, 2017)

For a slice of low-budget drive-in fare, we head to 1977’s Satan’s Cheerleaders. At Benedict High School, janitor Billy (Jack Kruschen) secretly spies on the female cheerleaders.

Billy also sports other plans, for he acts as the scout for Satanists who seek a virgin to sacrifice. This leads the cheerleaders on a series of adventures.

What do I expect from a campy slice of cheese like Cheerleaders? Very little, honestly – I anticipate a romp with enough light comedy and nudity to keep my attention.

In terms of the latter, expect disappointment. A smidgen of skin pops up, but Cheerleaders usually goes out of its way to hide the actress’s charms. What self-respecting 70s teen exploitation film offers a shower scene and sticks with close-ups?

This one, and Cheerleaders opts for modesty the majority of the time. Given the movie’s target audience, this feels like a weird and misguided choice.

“Misguided” seems like a good term for the entire project – and “weird”, too, if you want to apply that to mean “incompetent”. My synopsis leaves the impression Cheerleaders includes a plot, hut in reality, it offers little more than a conglomeration of themed scenes without much development or movement.

Basically the girls meander around and act slutty. Nothing seems to impact them – death, terror, and other drama fails to touch their worldview, so the cheerleaders constantly behave like they’re hanging out at the malt shop.

Some of this might offer material of interest if the characters managed any form of personality, but the girls seem one-dimensional at best. Each girl sports a T-shirt with her name on it, and that’s good, as otherwise we’d never retain that information.

The movie vaguely attempts personality traits among the girls, but these don’t stick. They’re an amorphous blob of slutty stereotypes and little more.

Though pretty, the lead females lack any form of acting talent. Have I seen worse performances? Maybe, but I can’t think of any off the top of my head.

To my surprise, Cheerleaders includes a few genuinely talented actors in its ranks. In addition to Kruschen – who worked in classics like The Apartment and Cape Fear - we find notables such as John Ireland, Yvonne DeCarlo, and John Carradine.

What did those poor actors do to deserve this fate? They must’ve fallen on hard times by 1977 – or lost a bunch of bets.

As I noted earlier, I don’t expect much from fare like this, but Satan’s Cheerleaders can’t even live up to modest hopes. Stupid and boring, the film offers a plodding 92 minutes of idiocy.

The Disc Grades: Picture C/ Audio C/ Bonus B-

Satan’s Cheerleaders appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I expected little from a 40-year-old “B” movie, and I got a lackluster image from Cheerleaders.

Sharpness became an issue, as most of the movie offered mediocre delineation. At best, the film showed passable clarity, but the majority of the film seemed on the fuzzy side.

I saw no jaggies or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws seemed modest, as the image lacked specks or marks. Cheerleaders could look flickery, though, and some griminess impacted the sides of the frame on occasion.

Colors appeared acceptable. Though they never seemed better than average, the natural hues managed passable fidelity.

Blacks were somewhat inky, while shadows appeared dense and thick. Objectively, the movie offered a drab image, but given the source, I thought it seemed watchable.

Note that the Blu-ray includes a “restored” version as well as an “original transfer”. I compared the two and thought they largely appeared similar except in terms of print flaws, as the “original” looked a lot dirtier.

I have no idea why the disc provides two separate transfers, especially since the “original” clearly fares less well. Still, if you want to watch the inferior presentation, it’s there for you!

As for the film’s PCM monaural soundtrack, it also showed its age, with quality that remained mediocre at best. Speech was intelligible but tended to sound edgy and brittle.

Music and effects followed suit. Neither demonstrated much range, and they could seem somewhat shrill and rough. Again, given the vintage and limitations of the source, the audio seemed adequate, but that’s the best I can say for the mix.

As we head to the set’s extras, we find two separate audio commentaries, the first of which comes from writer/director Greydon Clark. He provide a running, screen-specific look at the project’s development, cast and performances, sets and locations, nuts and bolts components and the impact of the film’s miniscule budget.

From start to finish, Clark makes this a terrific chat. He offers a lot of insights into the production, with an emphasis on all the ways he needed to scrimp to succeed within the movie’s lack of funds. Expect a really informative track here.

For the second commentary, we hear from genre filmmaker David DeCoteau and film historian David Del Valle. Both sit together for a running, screen-specific look at cast/crew as well as other films in the satanic genre.

This commentary disappoints for a variety of reasons, one being that it doesn't really offer a lot of insight about the subject matter. Del Valle and DeCoteau often just dish about the actors, and much of the track feels like little more than a recitation of movie names/credits. We don't really learn much about these films beyond their titles and some of those involved.

In addition, Del Valle makes an awful lot of misstatements for a film historian. He claims the success of 1968's Rosemary's Baby directly led to Satan's Cheerleaders despite the nine years between the movies. He thinks The Exorcist came out during the "Reagan Era", even though the Friedkin classic debuted years before Reagan became president.

And so on. DeCoteau occasionally calls Del Valle on his mistakes, which helps, but when an expert offers so many obvious errors, it becomes tough to accept anything he says as gospel - especially when Del Valle declaims all of his remarks with such apparent conviction.

The commentary remains brisk and breezy, so it goes down easily. Still, it just doesn't give us much real insight or depth, and the mix of misstatements makes it flawed.

A Photo Gallery runs three minutes, one second. It spans 43 images that mix shots from the set, movie elements and publicity materials.

These are usually decent, though we do get actual full-frontal nudity from a lobby card at the reel’s very end. Taken from the shower scene, it depicts way more skin than you’ll find in the actual movie.

A second disc provides a DVD Copy of Cheerleaders. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

Maybe fans of 1970s drive-in cheese will enjoy Satan’s Cheerleaders, but I can’t even embrace it as camp. The movie’s too slow, dull and incompetent to become anything other than a bore. The Blu-ray offers dated picture and audio along with supplements highlighted by an excellent filmmaker commentary. Satan’s Cheerleaders flops.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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