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SATAN'S CHILDREN (1975; Something Weird Video).

Nowadays, every fledgling DIY filmmaker is trying to make their own sleazy, two-bit feature, usually with middling results. But if you want the real deal, check out this newly-resurrected blast from the drive-in past, which mixes low-rent Satanism with a thick layer of homosexual paranoia. Directed/produced by Joe Wiezycki, the Florida-lensed mindfuck starts when teenaged Bobby Douglas (Stephen White) is forced to do yard work, while his bitchy stepsister Janice lounges at poolside or ridicules Bobby's minuscule manhood. Tired of being treated like a servant by his domineering stepdad and having Janice snitch about his hidden stash of grass, Bobby splits home and thinks everything is going to change for him. He's right. It gets even worse! Trusting the wrong guy, runaway Bobby first becomes the unwilling catcher at a biker orgy and left unconscious by the roadside, only to be taken in by a pack of rural Satanists. Led by the creepy Simon (Robert C. Ray II, who, in his groovy '70s threads, looks more like an extra booted off THE LOVE BOAT), they spend their days praying to a cheap Satan icon purchasable in any Tijuana gift shop. Bobby is soon turned into a Love Toy for Sherry (Kathleen Archer), the cult's second-in-command; and this pisses-off Simon so much that his bell-bottomed minions bury her up to the neck and sic the ants on her. Alas, even when Bobby decides to give his soul over to Satan, Simon doesn't want it, since he abhors any trace of homosexuality. Can Bobby escape from their barbed-wire compound? When he does, why the hell is he only wearing his Fruit Of The Loom briefs? Best of all, wait until this battered (but not beaten) teen returns home for his gloriously vengeful finale! Despite several slow lapses, this ragged gem runs on its own deranged charm, ludicrous plot contrivances and laughable production values. Sure, I could dump on the production's painful performances (much of the cast consisted of University of South Florida drama students), inept directing (Wiezycki's only other feature was the 1968 racial drama WILLY'S GONE, a.k.a. GHETTO RAT), clunky dialogue, and ugly mindset -- but with a film of this ilk, the usual criticism falls by the wayside. This is a truly curdled, one-of-a-kind dollop of regional rotgut.

© 1997 by Steven Puchalski.