This is, perhaps, the worst movie I have ever seen. Be warned then when people refer to Satan’s Cheerleaders as a cult classic, or long lost gem, that these same people may actually be agents of The Horned One and want nothing more than to torment you for 92 minutes.
Okay, that said, so what is Satan’s Cheerleaders anyway? I asked myself this question as I prowled around the local DVD shop looking for something, no, anything, else to buy for the Hall of Shame. I tried the back of the box for some help, and for a few hours (until I popped this coaster into my DVD player) I had hope. The back of the box reads:
“Benedict High School’s cheerleaders aren’t shy and sweet. The football team knows them well - and Billy, the school’s disturbed janitor, would like to. In the locker room, the girls shower and dress, unaware of the evil eyes which secretly watch them. They don’t know that a curse has been placed 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...”
What the back of the DVD box should say is:
“Anyone with a cheesy robe costume can make a Satan worship movie... but not a good one as evidenced here.”
Anyway, Satan’s Cheerleaders was produced in 1977 and the film hasn’t aged well at all. My guess is this movie probably had a run as the second or third bill at the drive ins of the day then vanished, and rightly so, until the emergence of DVD. Many, many, many low budget and independent films took this track. Only a few of the non-studio pictures followed the success of Tom Laughlin’s “Billy Jack” and went on to success in traditional theaters.
Like virtually all low end 70’s movies, Satan’s Cheerleaders borrows liberally from both film and television in script, acting, and camera work. Therefore nothing in this movie is new, original, or interesting. What we end up with is a retread of “Race with the Devil” minus the motor home, action sequences, and acting. What we are left with is a group of morons in robes praying to a carved lion’s head and some bra-less cheerleaders. Throw in some softcore porn imagery, wakachika-wakachika-wakachika music, and double entendres that would fail to amuse a pre-schooler, and you get Satan’s Cheerleaders.
Really, that’s all there is to the movie.
The film begins at the beach as the four bikini’s cheerleaders (Debbi, Sharon, Patti, and Chris/Alisa Powell, Sherry Marks, Kerry Sherman, and Hillary Horan) of Benedict High are practicing their extremely Caucasian routine with Stevie (Lane Caudell), the cheerleader coach.
From the first frame or so I started to think Stevie was missing a few nails in her shed, if you get my drift. She delivers all of her lines like she is smacked to the gills or on a persistent acid high that makes her perceive everything as serene. It’s entertaining for about one second, then I wanted to slap her.
The girls then head off to play football against the Benedict High football team, of which there are only three players (or so it seems) led by the team quarterback. Since I have no idea what his name is, we’ll call him asswipe. Asswipe and his friends LOSE to the cheerleaders while Stevie and Coach (Joseph Carlo) look on in dreamy bemusement (Stevie) and horror (Coach).
The playful frolic at the beach is interrupted by the arrival of a rival school’s cheerleader/football contingent who get into a heated argument over nothing worth mentioning. The potential for violence diffuses with the Caucasian interlopers vowing to take revenge on Benedict High by toilet papering the campus.
Ah, the 70’s! When inter-school rivalry could be solved with weapons no more powerful than Quilted Northern and water balloons. Today, of course, Satan’s Cheerleaders would have ended here, on the beach, in a bullet riddled bloodbath of Crips and Bloods.
The entire beach sequence, and virtually ALL of the pre-Satanic events are flooded with “wakachika-wakachika-wakachikka” music that pervaded 70’s film and TV like cockroaches at Haitian Motel 6 (We’ll leave the light on for you). The nostalgic charm of this music wears off almost immediately.
Cut to a scene shot with virtually no lights as Satanists perform a by-the-book ritual so popular with movies of this time period. An old fat guy who looks an awful lot like Captain Kangaroo receives a pentacle necklace from The High Priestess (Yvonne De Carlo). Yes, Lilly Munster figures largely in the proceedings. It’s a shame too, because like Ida Lupino in Food of the Gods, bring a sort of quiet dignity to her role.
Back at the school where Captain Kangaroo pushes a broom around miles of toilet paper. He’s the Benedict High janitor. Meanwhile the Cheerleaders and football team are engaging in more of their double entendre-spouting antics in a field literally drenched in toilet paper (that other gang meant BUSINESS!!) as Stevie heads out fo the field to gather the girls for their road trip to “The Big Game”.
The Big Game apparently does not feature the Benedict High football team as far as any of us can tell because they neither prepare for, or travel to, said game with the cheerleaders.
Coach wants out of this whole Benedict High athletics program, and really, who could blame him? As he escorts a potential employer and his... er... secretary from a fundamentalist Christian school around campus he winds up on the field just as a green Cadillac tears onto the scene. Packed into this aircraft carrier of a car are the members of the rival cheerleader gang.
A water balloon fight ensues for no reason other than to show the Benedict High cheerleaders in wet t-shirts. This is mostly a waste of celluloid except for Sharon. She has a rack-and-a-half. Her knockers are so huge that for all of the movie her tee-shirt reads “Haro” as the S and the N are shunted off to the sides of her mamarian magilicutties.
I watched this scene twice.
The girls hustle off to shower up for “The Big Game” and we get to see it in ultra close-up so this isn’t really a gratuitous boobie shot because we follow Captain Kangaroo into his utility closet where he looks at the girls.
It must be frustrating for him to have spent the time to create a viewing port into the girls shower room but put it in such a place that his view of the girls is restricted to parts of their bodies that will in no way illicit arousal. We see smalls of backs, thighs, and shoulders.
I only watched this scene once...
Anyway, perhaps because he is frustrated with the lack of visible T and A, Captain Kangaroo “curses” the cheerleader’s clothes by waving his pentacle necklace over them. He is caught, however by Asswipe and his posse of non-speaking football players.
Before a savage beating can occur Coach and his non-speaking friends arrive and throw the football players out.
This goes on and on and on... so I won’t bore you.
Cut to the cheerleaders loading into Stevie’s station wagon. Remember this is the 70’s and minivans are still a masturbatory glint in Lee Iacocca’s eye. Stevie and the girls take off and many unfunny double entendre’s ensue.
Cut to Captain Kangaroo cruising up the highway in his pickup truck of the damned. He is now dressed in the height of 70’s fashion, a polyester leisure suit that is almost the same color as dried blood, over a printed shirt of such a terrible pattern that my DVD player nearly died trying to render it on my television screen.
His suit is so loud it drowns out the dialogue.
Of course, because Stevie is an idiot she doesn’t see the Captain careening towards her, which means she skids her monstro-wagon off the road, and like all American cars of the 70’s, it fail to start up again.
Luckily the good Captain will give them a ride. Unluckily it will be to Satan’s altar out in the woods. He says some threatening things to the girls, especially, Pattie, before driving them off to their supernatural doom.
At the altar the film alludes to rape, though Captain Kangaroo fails to disrobe save for his leisure suit jacket, but the lions head representing Satan wiggles atop a wooden stake.
I guess that’s rape...
Pattie, now stark raving naked, lays across the altar as the worst special effects in the universe impact Captain Kangaroo (they tint the film in red negative... big whoop) and he collapses beside the altar after screaming “you promised her to me...”, dead apparently, While Stevie and the rest of the cheerleaders look on with detached bemusement.
Debbi cries rape and they all return to Captain Kangaroo’s truck and drive off for... Yes, “The Big Game.”
What’s so wrong with this scene is that none of the continuity makes any sense. All of the girls are led to the altar by Captain Kangaroo, yet they stand there like morons and act as if they only just arrived following the satanic copulation. If they were all there why not intervene? Adding to the stupidity quotient, Stevie and the girls are surprised to find Captain Kangaroo laying on the ground. Didn’t they just get a ride from him? I mean, come on!
It just goes to prove my theory that cheerleaders are useless.
Back on the road the girls realize that they are lost, big surprise there, and stop to ask directions from an old man collecting cans beside the road. This old man is played by John Carradine in what is easily the worst role of his expansive horror movie career. And just for the record, John Carradine was in some stellar crap, but this film is the absolute worst.
Carradine mumbles his lines about money and cans and work but offers the girls no useful information. This doesn’t stop Sharon from flirting with him, which in and of itself, is creepy to the max. I mean, why would a giant-boobed cheerleader chick even give a second glance to an obviously drunk, toothless, homeless, guy played by John Carradine in the first place?
The girls end up at the farmhouse/office of Sheriff B. L. Bubb (yes, there is a letter missing...) and his wife, er... Mrs. Bubb, played by Lilly Munster.
Sheriff Bubb ensures the girls that he will take care of everything and rushes out to find Captain Kangaroos body. Meanwhile, Lilly entertains the girls and offers some sympathy to Patti’s plight. Bubb locates the good Captain, and after a ridiculous fight sequence, throws his fat ass down a hill.
Sure, that will do it.
Back at the Sheriff’s ranch One of the girls overhears plans to sacrifice the cheerleaders to the devil and tries desperately to warn the others, but they are so dense it takes a loooooong time for her to get the message across.
They plan a daring escape that is bound to leave at least one of them behind to take the brunt of Bubb’s satanic fury, and that is Stevie. The daring escape involves climbing out the bathroom window (upstairs) and leaping from a low roof to the ground then running away.
Everyone but Stevie is able to do this and so she is captured by Bubb as the other girls bounce off into the woods.
Now we get to meet Sheriff Bubb’s mean side. He slaps Stevie around for a while, (which, considering the doofishness of her character I can sort of understand) then proceeds to rape her. Thankfully, unlike those asinine Spanish Blind Dead movies, the rape happens off screen.
The girls decide to split up and go for help, yeah, that ALWAYS works...
One by one they are captured by the denizens of Bubb’s coven. Gotta hand it to the wardrobe department here because they dress these Satanists up in everything from retarded farmer overalls to full on Society for Creative Anachronism Franciscan Monk attire.
John Carradine makes another woozy, toothless, and pathetic appearance.
Each one is captured by the mob, though Patti stays behind to “protect them” which entails nothing more than a prolonged staring contest between her and Lilly Munster.
Patti wins and Lilly is badly shaken by the whole ordeal.
At this point in the presentation Mrs. McLargehuge, and our friends and fellow bad movie hounds Stout Steakface and Gristle McThornbody turned on me and begged for Satan’s Cheerleaders to be replaced by any other movie in the McLargehuge collection.
They were even willing to sit through all of Battlefield Earth with the directors commentary rather than watch another frame of Satan’s Cheerleaders.
I laughed at their agony.
Once the girls are all captured and placed in a chicken coop with an obvious gaping hole in the door Lilly starts to have second thoughts. See, Patti, or so it seems, is really the destined bride of Satan, and to sacrifice her would be very, very bad for everyone involved.
So it shall be written...
Patti starts acting dazed and trancelike but no one really notices, and comes up with the forward thinking plan of removing the pin holding the chicken coop door closed and running away again. She stares at the two Doberman pinchers (yes, that’s ALL of Satan’s army...) assigned to guard the coop and they all flee.
Sheriff Bubb and the other Satanists all dressed like Benedictine Monks, save for Bubb who dons a satanic velour bathrobe, give chase.
We alternate, for the next 15 minutes or so, between shots of the girls running up and down several wooded hills, while Bubb and the Satanic goobers decide to chase them, then, as if the suspense wasn’t enough, actually chase them.
Now it wouldn’t be fair to talk this whole movie to death without mentioning the only two lines of dialogue worth hearing. As Bubb and his posse walk through the woods, Lilly Munster frees the dogs from the coop and sends them off to kill the girls. The dogs run past Bubb and the gang.
Bubb mumbles, “that damn woman!”
One of the Satanic guys answers, “I know what you mean.”
Bubb pauses the whole gang and responds, “what do you know about women?”
The satanic guy answers, “I read a lot of books.”
That’s it. Relish it, because there aren’t any more.
Girls go up hill. Bubb and the gang follow. Lilly Munster repeats her prayer to the altar of Satan tastefully installed in her living room. Girls go up hill. Bubb and the gang follow. Lilly Munster repeats her prayer to the altar of Satan tastefully installed in her living room. Girls go up hill. Bubb and the gang follow. Lilly Munster repeats her prayer to the altar of Satan tastefully installed in her living room. Girls go up hill. Bubb and the gang follow. Lilly Munster repeats her prayer to the altar of Satan tastefully installed in her living room. Girls go up hill. Bubb and the gang follow. Lilly Munster repeats her prayer to the altar of Satan tastefully installed in her living room.
Honest, it repeats like this for 20 minutes...
Finally the dogs break free of Bubb’s grip (proof that leashes come in handy) and give chase. Stevie can’t go on, or so she says, but the other girls convince her to continue the journey “just over that hill”.
Girls go up hill. Bubb and the gang follow. Lilly Munster repeats her prayer to the altar of Satan tastefully installed in her living room. The dogs give chase. Girls go up hill. Bubb and the gang follow. Lilly Munster repeats her prayer to the altar of satan tastefully installed in her living room. The dogs give chase. Girls go up hill. Bubb and the gang follow. Lilly Munster repeats her prayer to the altar of Satan tastefully installed in her living room. The dogs give chase. Girls go up hill. Bubb and the gang follow. Lilly Munster repeats her prayer to the altar of Satan tastefully installed in her living room. The dogs give chase. We get a spring loaded goat too that is so poorly done, so stupid, so... it’s hard to explain how dumb this all is, that the only reaction you can have is gaping mouthed disbelief.
Still... Never seen a spring loaded goat before.
Another five minutes of this and I am going to scream... Talk about padding. Sheesh!
They arrive at the altar and an off-screen fan blows the trees and the satanic head around for a while. Patti starts chanting the same as Lilly Munster. The dogs arrive and are repelled by another blast of red tinted negative. All of the stuff in Lilly’s house stars wiggling as if they are on strings being pulled by stage hands. The dogs high tail it back to the house and maul Lilly to death.
Bubb and the knights who say knee arrive at the altar too and announce that at midnight the ritual will commence.
Flash to, midnight, and the ritual commencing. All of the girls are dressed in white robes (good thing those were laying around somewhere in the sheriff’s office) and now Bubb has to find the pure bride of Satan from amongst the girls.
This is actually kind of funny, I admit it, I liked this little bit, as each of the girls explains quite candidly that since they are cheerleaders they haven’t been pure in a looooooong time.
A couple even offer themselves to the group.
Ahhhh the 70’s... Ahem... where was I?
Bubb points at Patti and grunts, “surely not you?”
Patti agrees and explains that Bubb soiled the only pure one in the group, his rape of Stevie spoiled Satan’s bride. Now he was in big trouble with the man downstairs.
Bubb then pulls a Scooby Doo moment and announces that all of this was a sham, that he was no priest, and that the scary monster noises coming from the altar weren’t from the horned one, but from a tape deck which he helpfully removes from the rocks.
Patti isn’t buying any of this and growls that he has displeased the master or some such claptrap as Bubb draws hi very earthly revolver. Just then Captain Kangaroo leaps from the bushes and stabs Bubb in the gut with... something... it could be branch, or a salami for all I know. The scene is virtually unlit and terribly cut. Both Bubb and the Captain die, or at least, that’s what I think happened.
The rest of the satanic monks start that chanting thing as we fade to “The Big Game” where Asswipe is being led off the field with a torn knee. The cheerleaders, now in full on cheerleading mode, chant for a moment over his leg and it heals.
By the power of Satan!!!!!
End movie, smear self with Alpo, release hungry Dobermans.
Wow, this was goddamn awful. VCI pictures, if I remember correctly, are mainly known for distributing porn. At least, I remember that title from my blossoming years of VHS porn rentals. VCI also distributes Satan’s Cheerleaders. Why? I have no idea.
The DVD contains nothing but a trailer for another crap-fest and 8 chapter stops.
This is a great flick to inflict on people. After about 30 minutes they will pretty much bargain anything to get out of watching the rest of the movie. During this film both myself and Gristle McThornbody were convinced that the Patti went on to make actual porn films, but the IMDB proved us both wrong.
But then, neither she, nor anyone else, was talented enough for that anyway.
I have heard rumors that Satan’s Cheerleaders are prowling the exploitation cinema festival and expo circuit, if this is true I want to meet them solely to ask what on Earth they were thinking when this script was dropped in front of them. I mean, why? Why make this? Why soil the Earth with this crap?