The Blood on Satan's Claw (1971)

The Blood on Satan's Claw (1971)
 
 

There be Strange Goings On

Barry Andrews in The Blood on Satan's Claw (1971)

There are mysterious things going on in these parts. Farmer Ralph Gower (Barry Andrews) has uncovered a deformed skull with fur attached except when he informs his employer and her friend the skull has gone when they return to the field. Then there is Rosalind Barton (Tamara Ustinov) the young lady friend of Peter Edmonton (Simon Williams) who after spending the night in the attic comes out distinctly mad and having to be taken away by the men from Bedlam. But the strange goings on continue as some locals start behaving peculiarly after they discover a claw in the fields and it seems more and more people are becoming controlled by something.

"The Blood on Satan's Claw" looks like it could have been a Hammer Horror movie from the 70s, it isn't a Hammer but a Tigon/Chilton movie, but the whole period horror is what Hammer was partly famous for. And to make things simple for the most "The Blood on Satan's Claw" plays out like a Hammer movie where mysterious goings on cause trouble in a small community with the young and usually attractive young women becoming controlled and sometimes naked. We also have monsters, old bones and witchcraft.

Linda Hayden in The Blood on Satan's Claw (1971)

But "The Blood on Satan's Claw" doesn't feel like a knock off Hammer movie for the simple reason is that it doesn't go for the over the top, camp aspects which crept in to Hammer productions. It also is a movie which is shot mostly on location rather than on outdoor sets created in a studio which adds to this strange sense that this is actually better than a Hammer movie from the era.

The trouble is that for me period horror is something you either love or find incredibly dull and despite the fact that "The Blood on Satan's Claw" is a better produced movie than I expected the horror of witchcraft, covens, madness and monsters doesn't exactly get my pulse racing or drawn to the edge of my seat in eager anticipation of what horror there is to come. Having said that there are certainly some disturbing scenes when it comes to what goes on in the woods.

What this all boils down to is that whilst not a Hammer horror movie "The Blood on Satan's Claw" is very much a movie in that manner with a story of period horror. But that makes it a movie which has a very specific appeal and in many ways a movie for those who were hooked on period horror during the 70s.

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