Satan's Cheerleader's (1977) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

I don't usually find a reason to quote from the liner notes, but sometimes they just provide an unintentional irony that I could never duplicate with one of my rants. In doing so, they tell you exactly what you need to know about the film, even though that information isn't what the writer intended to convey. Check this out.

"Benedict High School's cheerleaders don't know that a curse has been put on their clothes. And they don't know that their trip to the first big game of the season might sideline them - FOR ETERNITY. Will the cheerleaders succumb to the dark ritual of sexual sacrifice and death that's been plotted for them? Only those who dare watch will know. Starring Yvonne DeCarlo, and John Carradine."

The press kit, on the other hand, suggested that the film was supposed to be a comedy. I was going to suggest that the guy who wrote the liner notes didn't actually watch the movie, but then I came to my senses and realized that watching it would provide no meaningful evidence of its humor. But he could have read the promo kit. The tag line in the ads positioned it as follows:

"Funnier than The Omen, Scarier than Silent Movie"


There are very brief peeks of parts of the breasts of the other three cheerleaders, and a distant undressing, but only Kerry Sherman shows anything of significance (breasts)

To tell you the truth, I'm not sure when they decided that this was a comedy. My suspicion is that it happened after they read the reviews, and the whole comedy angle was an exercise in damage control. I don't think they were trying to be funny most of the time, but you have to love this dialogue:

Sheriff Bubb: We need a virgin.

Cheerleader Debbie: An unsoiled maiden? You got to be kidding, man ... I've been a cheerleader for three years.

It is good to see that Satan finally realized what went wrong in his famous battle against God and the good angels. Some people have insisted that God's omnipotence was the big hole in Satan's game plan and had a major effect on the outcome of that battle, but Lucifer has always been a guy to think outside the box. He looked at the game day stats and realized that he matched the good angels in power, speed, and defense, but fell far short in crowd support. The answer - cheerleaders. Hey, if it could make people root for Tom Landry, it could work for Satan.

The plot: Four cheerleaders and their teacher, all beautiful and semi-clad, get lost en route to a football game. The school janitor, who has been ogling them through peep-holes, drives by and gives them a ride. As it turns out, he is not just a janitor, but vice-president of Satanists' Local #37, which is led by a guy named Sheriff Bubb. The girls manage to get away from the janitor's attempted rape, and contact the local authorities.

I'll leave it to you to guess the identity of the policeman that they ended up contacting.

When the girls manage to get away from Bubb, they run off in separate directions, but it seems that Satan has a dominant market position in the area, comparable to Pepsi-Cola's position in the old Soviet Union. Everyone they run into seems to work on Satan's team, and leads them right back into trouble, even the local farmers. I guess the farmers aren't technically on Satan's main team, but one of the farm teams.

How could the girls possible escape such a situation? The screenwriter had a perfectly logical solution. Fortunately, one of the four cheerleaders has even greater powers than Satan, and was even more evil than the dark lord himself. In fact, it is even possible that she was as evil as Geraldo Rivera.

I don't know, it always seems pretty boring to me when WWF bad guys go against each other, but that's kind of how it all ends up, evil vs evil, one-on-one.

Oh, yeah, the entire film is backed by an obnoxious 70's grade-b disco score, adding further evil to the experience.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • no widescreen

  • no meaningful features

Tuna says ...

Mixed is good in nuts, is bad in metaphors, and was not great in this film. Take your standard High School cheerleader titty flick genre, and combine it with a satanic cult genre, and voila. Standard plot elements for the cheerleader genre have sexy cheerleaders dating football players, a mean coach, a naive chaperone for the cheerleaders, and an evil janitor who spies on the girls through a peephole. All of these were present here, as well as the battle with the rival cheerleaders from another school. Unfortunately, they skipped most of the locker room and shower nudity with the exception of Kerry Sherman in her premier role. They deferred the "virgin gets deflowered" cliché to the satanic cult portion of the film.

In case you are not up to date on your ancient occult symbols, a pentagram is a 5 pointed star, symbolizes man, and has a single point up. Thus the top point is the head, the side points the arms, and the bottom points the legs. An inverted (upside down) pentagram is a symbol for Satan, where the upper two points are horns. The "evil eye" is mainly an Islamic icon, and protects your possessions from others who give them the evil eye, or covet them. The film makers created a normal pentagram with an evil eye in the center for the logo of their satanic cult. In other words, a symbol meaning a man who protects your belongings.

So, back to the plot ... the girls are on their way to a game when the car breaks down. The janitor picks them up, but it turns out he is a member of the satanic cult, takes them to an outdoor altar, and tries to rape one, but old Satan himself beats him to it. They escape, and run to the sheriff, B L. Bubb, who ends up being the cult head. The sheriffs wife, Yvonne De Carlo, notices that one of the girls has "the power," and gets into a battle of wills with her. John Carradine plays a drifter who lives in the town, which is, by the way, 100% cult. The most convincing performers in the entire cast were two Doberman Pinchers. The brief breast exposure from Sherman did not qualify this as a titty flick, and everything about the production was bad. I have to say F on this one.

The Critics Vote

  • Maltin 2/4 (surprisingly high)

The People Vote ...

IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a D or worse. Too boring to work as a pleasurable bad movie, but it is close to that status. Not good enough to work as a horror film. Not enough titillation or T&A to be a good exploitation film. Not funny, although the video was marketed as a comedy. Just a clumsy b-grade mess.

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