Blood on Satan's Claw

This film scenario began life as “The Devil‘s Touch“ or “The Devil’s Skin” and had several other titles, including “The Claw”. It deals with the thin borderline between innocence and evil, and the taking over of an entire village by a Satanic cult which originates among the children. Ultimately the cult is violently subdued, and its spell broken by the forces of justice and reason, although they are also alarmingly cruel in the retribution they bring. The script was commissioned from Robert by Chilton Films, working for Tigon British productions, whose previous feature film, “Witchfinder General”, was one of the first British Horror Films not to be shot in a studio. “Blood on Satan’s Claw” was directed by Piers Haggard in the spring of 1970, and, although based at Pinewood Studios, it was shot mainly on location, making much use of the blossoming countryside, which emphasised the innocent world in which the evil lay hidden. It remains one of the more disturbing films of its period.


Released on DVD from 'Anchor Bay' in May 2003


A CD of the original musical score is being prepared by the composer, Marc Wilkinson, and will be released soon.

Reviews - [online, current]

Press Reviews - then and now!

"Blood on Satan's Claw is just bearable on the very-wet-Sunday-afternoon-in-Huddersfield level. It's about witchcraft in rural England and prettily photographed with some period feel. A furry fiend, turned up by the plough, with sufficient power to convert half the village children and a few of the senior citizens too into may-bedecked nasties, is exorcised. There is some interest in the fact that this takes at the beginning of the age of reason, and Patrick Wymark's local Justice needs some convincing that something supernatural is abroad. The chief child-witch is quite sexy, and there's a 'Yuk! Can't-not-watch' operation by the local sawbones to remove a bit of befurred 'devil's skin' from another young witch's thigh. In the end, though, it doesn't frighten or convince, and the Mummerset accents do nothing to help." - George Melly

"There is actually very little to criticise in 'Blood on Satan's Claw'. The film's screenplay is thoughtful, intelligent and alarmingly uncompromising. Pier's Haggard's direction is entirely appropriate, and if it lacks the raw power and visual élan of Reeve's 'Witchfinder General', it more than compensates with an intense eroticism never found in Reeve's work. Simon Williams noted that the film is 'somewhat erotic' and he is right, though it is also shocking, perverse and immoral. These traits serve as the basis for Linda Hayden's portrayal of Angel Blake which is, to say the least, inspired. By turns wanton, seductive, innocent and evil, it would be fair to compare Hayden's performance to that of Catherine Deneuve in 'Repulsion', as one of the best by a woman in the genre. The rest of the cast suffer in comparison to Hayden's star turn, but all are excellent, with Patrick Wymark as perfect a casting choice as could be. The supporting cast are equally impressive, and both Tamara Ustinov and Michelle Dotrice are excellent as young women under the demon's influence. The location shooting and art direction are both well above average, giving the proceedings an unworldly, timeless ambience, and the superb, haunting score is another plus. All of those involved seem rightfully proud of the film: "A fascinating film - I loved that movie", recalls Linda Hayden, while Robert Wynne-Simmons praises both the star and the film: "I thought Linda did it extraordinarily well. She brought an incredible energy to it. I still find it quite a disturbing film." Disturbing is an apposite description, and the film is more harrowing than any other British genre film of the seventies." - Jonathan Sothcott 'The Dark Side'


Blood on Satan's Claw film still
British Horror film still, 17th century witchcraft
British genre film of the seventies
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