Satan's Little Helper (2004) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Although this movie was lensed in 2003 and made its debut at the toney Tribeca Festival in NYC, it is not a high-minded parable about guilt and religion, but a retro-classic horror film about a homicidal maniac, ala Halloween and Friday XIII, complete with macabre humor, gratuitous T&A, and a high body count. Part of the explanation for that apparent incongruity resides in the fact that the director is Jay Lieberman, whose other films were all made in the period 1976-1987. You read that right - it's been nearly 20 years since he made a film, but he picked up right where he left off, by making an 80s film. Do you suppose he was in a coma?

The movie's equivalent of Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees is "Satan Man," who possesses all the characteristics of the 80s-style homicidal maniacs except the back story. Since he is the silent type, and nobody seems to know who he really is, the only thing we really learn about him is that he showed up on an island community on Halloween wearing a Satan mask. The very concept of Halloween allows him to wander around in his grotesque costume without attracting any attention, and the convivial spirit of the holiday causes people to invite him into their homes and parties, often mistaking him for one of their friends or family members. When people get too close to his trail, he simply places the Satan disguise on one of his victims, thus making his pursuers think he is dead, then continues his murderous adventures disguised as Jesus!

The "little helper" portion of the title refers to a lil' "trick or treater," a naive boy about ten years old, who is dressed up for Halloween as the title character in his favorite video game, "Satan's Little Helper." Imagine his joy when he finds a new friend disguised as his master. He turns out to be a perfect apprentice for Satan, all the while thinking that he's playing an adventure game. The kid and his family get milked for the maximum value in irony and grotesque humor. Late in the film, when the boy prays to God to forgive him for helping Satan, the doorbell rings immediately, and who should be there but Jesus himself! It's obviously a miracle, so the boy willingly rejoins the maniac for another grotesque round of nocturnal games. One of the film's funnier concepts involves Satan Man's decision to take the boy's mom (Amanda Plummer) to a party as his date. He uses plastic wrap to gag her mouth so she can't communicate, and to bind her arms and legs to prevent escape. The drunken revelers think her wacky post-modern mummy costume (she's Carmen Miranda underneath the cling-wrap) is the life of the party, so they are amused and distracted by her spastic attempts to communicate, while Satan Man is filling their punch with toxic chemicals.

If anyone ever gets to see this flick, it could become a cult classic, even a franchise. It is filmed in glorious, bright, saturated colors to give it an ironically cheerful look like the beginning of Blue Velvet, and it looks just about as good as a B-movie is ever going to look. It has its scary moments, some mild gore, some bare breasts, and a lot of humor. Although Halloween clones are not normally among my favorite types of movies, I enjoyed the film because it is very heavy on the morbid humor, allowing to it exist simultaneously as 80s slasher fare and a parody of same. It isn't as serious as Halloween or as silly as Scary Movie, but strikes a workable balance between them.



  • full-length director's commentary
  • short "making of" featurette
  • widescreen, anamorphically enhanced (16x9)


Melisa McGregor, in a minor role, showed her breast and buns, first in a shower stall, then leaving to answer the door.

A special tip o' the hat to Melisa, who only had about ten lines, but was completely charming, created and stayed in a credible character, "sold" her death scene, got naked, and showed a very shapely booty in the process.

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews on file, but IMDb features lots of reviews from genre sites and comments from IMDb users, almost all of which are positive.

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even 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. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). 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. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, it's a C+, top-notch genre fare.

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