Blood on Satan's Claw
|The Blood on Satan's Claw|
U.S. theatrical release film poster
|Directed by||Piers Haggard|
|Produced by||Tony Tenser
Malcolm B. Heyworth
Peter L. Andrews
|Written by||Piers Haggard
|Music by||Marc Wilkinson|
|Editing by||Richard Best|
|Distributed by||Cannon Releasing Corp.|
|Release dates||April 1970|
|Running time||93 minutes|
The Blood on Satan's Claw (also released as Satan's Skin) is a 1970 British horror film made by Tigon British Film Productions and directed by Piers Haggard. The film was written by Robert Wynne-Simmons, with additions by Piers Haggard, and stars Patrick Wymark, Linda Hayden and Barry Andrews. It is set in 17th century England, and tells the story of a village taken over by demonic possession.
In his 2010 BBC documentary series A History of Horror, writer and actor Mark Gatiss referred to the film as a prime example of a short-lived sub-genre he called "folk horror", grouping it with 1968's Witchfinder General and 1973's The Wicker Man.
The film opens in 17th century England with Ralph Gower (Barry Andrews) uncovering a deformed skull with one eye and strange fur upon it while ploughing a field. The local judge (Patrick Wymark) is asked to look at it, but the skull has vanished, and the judge disregards Ralph's supernatural fears. However, later many people in the village become affected by this supernatural power, including a young woman (Linda Hayden) who sprouts a claw and children who behave oddly after finding a strange claw and start to grow patches of fur on parts of their bodies.
Peter Edmonton rides to a neighbouring town to find the local judge and bring him back to try to eradicate the evil. The judge does come back after having done some research in a book about witchcraft. After getting some information about a future cult gathering of the evil children in the village, the judge takes some men to the spot, and they kill the satanic beast, whose remains had been dug up by the farmer at the start of the film, and who is responsible for the evil infecting the populace.
- Patrick Wymark as The Judge
- Linda Hayden as Angel Blake
- Barry Andrews as Ralph Gower
- Michele Dotrice as Margaret
- Wendy Padbury as Cathy Vespers
- Anthony Ainley as Reverend Fallowfield
- Charlotte Mitchell as Ellen
- Tamara Ustinov as Rosalind Barton
- Simon Williams as Peter Edmonton
- James Hayter as Squire Middleton
- Howard Goorney as The Doctor
- Avice Landone as Isobel Banham
- Robin Davies as Mark Vespers
- Godfrey James as Angel's Father
Actress Roberta Tovey has an uncredited role as the coven member who lures Padbury's character to her death.
The film's soundtrack was composed by Marc Wilkinson. It was released on CD and limited edition vinyl LP by Trunk Records in 2007.
- Rigby, Jonathan (2002). English Gothic: a Century of Horror Cinema. London:Reynolds & Hearn. ISBN 1-903111-35-8
- John Hamilton, Beasts in the Cellar: The Exploitation Film Career of Tony Tenser, Fab Press, 2005 p 185
- "Blood on Satan's Claw". British Film Institute. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
- Filmfacts. 1970. p. 193.
- Clarke, Donald. "Mark Gatiss’s History of Horror". Irish Times.com. Retrieved 2010-11-02.
- "A History of Horror with Mark Gatiss – Home Counties Horror Ep 2/3". BBC. 2010-10-18.