Satan’s Skin (1970)

UK,
95m (UK – theatrical)
35mm film, Eastmancolor
mono, English

A British horror film directed by Piers Haggard. It was released in the UK in January 1971 under the title Satan's Skin but was re-released that summer under the new title Blood on Satan's Claw. The new title originally had no definite article at the beginning – the title The Blood on Satan's Claw only appeared on DVD releases which featured a poorly reconstructed opening title sequence that was full of typos (“Tigron” instead of “Tigon” for example, or “James Hoyter” instead of “James Hayter”.)

A short article covering the making of the film (under the title 's Touch) by Rod Cooper in British trade magazine Kine Weekly referred to the film as “”, currently one of the earliest known use of the term in connection with cinema 1Kine Weekly vol.633 no.3262 (18 April 1970) p.12 – a review of the 1965 film The Fool Killer in the Austin American in the 24 May 1965 issue predates Cooper's usage by five years.

Premise

In 17th century rural England, a farmer ploughs up the putrid remains of a half-human monstrosity. Almost immediately, nasty things are afoot. The local village is plagued by a series of vicious murders, the perpetrators of which seem to be the children, led by Angel Blake. Under the evil influence of the demonic remains, the children – accompanied by a couple of senile old timers – form a bizarre and violent cult, dedicated to rape, mutilation and torture.

Credits

* = uncredited

Crew
Directed by: Piers Haggard
© Tigon British Film Productions Ltd and Chilton Films and Television Enterprises Ltd MCMLXX [1970]
A Tigon British/Chilton Film production
Executive Producer: Tony Tenser
Produced by: Peter L. Andrews, Malcolm B. Heyworth
Original Screenplay by: Robert Wynne-Simmons
With additional material by Piers Haggard
Director of Photography: Dick Bush
Editor: Richard Best
Music Composed and Conducted by: Marc Wilkinson
Sound Mixer: Tony Dawe
Wardrobe Mistress: Dulcie Midwinter
Make-Up: Eddie Knight
Hairdresser: Olga Angelinetta
Art Director: Arnold Chapkis
Made at Pinewood Studios, London, England and on location

Cast
Patrick Wymark (the judge)
Linda Hayden (Angel Blake)
Barry Andrews (Ralph Gower)
Michele Dotrice (Margaret)
James Hayter (Squire Middleton)
Anthony Ainley (Reverend Fallowfield)
Howard Goorney (the doctor)
Avice Landon (Isobel Banham)
Charlotte Mitchell (Ellen Vespers)
Wendy Padbury (Cathy Vespers)
Tamara Ustinov (Rosalind Barton)
Simon Williams (Peter Edmonton)
Robin Davies (Mark Vespers)
Godfrey James [Angel's father] *
Milton Reid [dog handler] *
Geoffrey Hughes *
Andrew McCulloch *
Jill Riddick *
Jason Twelvetrees *

Alternative Titles

Blood on Satan's Claw
The Blood on Satan's Claw
The Devil's Touch – shooting title
In den Krallen des Hexenjägers – West Germany
Paholaisen nahka – Finland
La pelle di Satana – Italy
Satan's Claw
Satans skinn – Sweden

Production Notes

Release
The earliest release of the film was in the British Midlands and North of England on a double bill with El coleccionista de cadáveres (1967) in the early months of 1971 at which time it was still going by the title Satan's Skin.

References

Periodicals

  • Cinefantastique vol.1 no.4 (Fall 1971) pp.31-32 – illustrated review by John Duvoli
  • Cue 1 May 1971 – review (by Donald J. Mayerson)
  • Empire no.176 (February 2004) p.138 – illustrated DVD review (by Mark Dinning)
  • Filmfacts vol.14 no.9 (1971) p.193 – credits
  • Films and Filming vol.18 no.205 (October 1971) pp.62, 64 – review (by Eric Braun)
  • Kine Weekly vo.633 no.3262 (18 April 1970) p.12 – note (Production: Folk horror study from Hemdale and Chilton by Rod Cooper)
  • Kine Weekly vol.633 no.3264 (2 May 1970) p.20(UK) – credits (Shooting now)
  • Kine Weekly vol.633 no.3265 (9 May 1970) p.14(UK) – credits (Shooting now)
  • Kine Weekly no.3302 (23 January 1971) p.13 – review (by Graham Clarke)
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.38 no.446 (March 1971) p.57 – credits, synopsis, review (by David Pirie)
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.38 no.450 (July 1971) p.153 – note
  • The New Yorker 19 April 1971 – review (by Judith Crist)
  • Sight & Sound vol.14 no.3 (March 2004) p.75 – DVD review
  • Starburst no.306 (January 2004) p.87 – DVD review
  • Today's Cinema no.9795 (14 April 1970) p.15 – credits
  • Today's Cinema no.9799 (28 April 1970) p.8 – credits (In production)
  • Today's Cinema no.9801 (5 May 1970) p.4 – credits (In production)
  • Today's Cinema no.9803 (12 May 1970) p.23 – credits (In production)
  • Today's Cinema no.9874 (22 January 1971) p.9 – credits, review (by Marjorie Bilbow)

Newspapers

  • New York Daily News 15 April 1971 – review (by Ann Guarino)
  • New York Times 15 April 1971 – review (by Vincent Canby)

Books

  • Chopped Meat: British Horror of the 1970s by Darrell Buxton p.unpaginated – note
  • Chopped Meat: British Horror of the 1970s by Eric McNaughton and Darrell Buxton (eds.) pp.14-16 – illustrated review (by Selene Paxton-Brooks)
  • Creature Features Movie Guide Strikes Again by John Stanley p.50 – credits, review
  • Horrorshows: The A-Z of Horror in Film, TV, Radio and Theatre by Gene Wright p.160
  • by Walt Lee pp.41; 99 – credits
  • Ten Years of Terror: British Horror Films of the 1970s by Harvey Fenton and David Flint (eds) pp.15-18 – illustrated credits, reviews (by Harvey Fenton, Jonathan Sothcott)