Blood on Satan's Claw (1971)

Genres - Horror  |   Release Date - Jul 1, 1971 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Brian J. Dillard

Though it boasts plenty of period detail and gorgeous countryside locations, this unsung horror gem relies more on psychological tension than costume drama trappings to sustain its air of ambiguous dread. Too much of a genre piece to be read as a grand allegory, yet rich enough in subtext to invite careful viewing, The Blood on Satan's Claw flits constantly from the supernatural to the mundane but makes both realms equally compelling. The cast mostly impresses, especially Wendy Padbury and Linda Hayden as two very different teenage archetypes. It's director/co-screenwriter Piers Haggard, though, who deserves the bulk of the credit for deftly navigating so much plot and so many characters without sacrificing the mood of sinister dreaminess. Bleak and sensual in equal measure, the film would almost surely appeal to fans of Robin Hardy's Wicker Man and M. Night Shyamalan's The Village.