Directed by Piers Haggard [Other horror films: Venom (1981)]
While this British film certainly possesses some elements that are, on the whole, enjoyable, after seeing it twice, I have to admit that it feels somewhat aimless in it’s goal, and though I do enjoy good portions of this, overall, I’m not sure it’s as strong as it could have been.
The rather small setting – a little hamlet in jolly Olde England – works well with this story, and the production is decent enough to give everything a viable enough feeling of that time period. That doesn’t help the movie feel any more focused, but it does ring true, and that counts for a lot given this is a period piece.
I think much of the meandering tone can be best explained by the fact that originally, the movie was supposed to be three separate stories, an idea that was dropped to just a singular story, but I get the sense that, while things are still connected, they didn’t entirely lose that original mindset. And in a way, this is sort of unique, but even so, it doesn’t always make for the most enjoyable viewing experience.
Patrick Wymark (The Skull and The Psychopath) takes a little to grow on me, but he eventually does, especially when he comes back toward the finale. Linda Hayden (of Taste the Blood of Dracula and Madhouse) was fun to see anytime she was on-screen. Not too many others stood out, though, aside from perhaps Simon Williams (of Remembrance of the Daleks, perhaps on of Sylvester McCoy’s most memorable stories during his stint as the Doctor) and James Hayter.
The special effects, when they pop up, are decent. You get some quality claws, a dismembered hand, and a few other surprises, but despite the title of the film, it’s not as though there’s a lot of gore to be had here. Think any average Hammer movie, and that’s pretty much what you’re in for (though to be clear, this is from Tigon).
The Blood on Satan’s Claw isn’t a bad movie, and those in the horror community know that it’s generally well-respected. It’s a movie I’ve seen twice now, though, and as much as I wish I could like it more, elements just fall flat for me, and the quasi-disjointed nature of the story irks me. It’s not bad for a watch every five years, maybe, but it’s far from a preferred 70’s film of mine.