‘Come score with the cheerleaders’
Satan’s Cheerleaders is a 1977 comedic horror film starring John Ireland, Yvonne De Carlo, and John Carradine. It was directed by Greydon Clark (Dance Macabre; Without Warning, Uninvited) from a script co-written with producer Alvin L. Fast.
The cinematography was provided by Dean Cundey who would famously go on to work on Halloween a year later and a number of John Carpenter’s films.
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 carnal sacrifice and death that’s been plotted for them?
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“The film quickly documents the underlying rowdiness of both the cheerleaders and (of course) the football players, but the whole satanic element is such a gonzo addition to this basic plot formulation that the film struggles to weave things together into something amounting to an organic whole.” Blu-ray.com
“The cheese runs high in the opening minutes of the girls reciting inane dialogue and playing “chicken” on the beach, but once the Satanists are introduced, the audience is subjected to horrendous acting by both the embarrassed veterans and the newcomers (soon to be gone from the screens for good).” DVD Drive-In
“As a horror film, Satan’s Cheerleaders is either wilfully incompetent or simply incapable of understanding how to make a devil-worshipping sect made up of middle-aged white trash threatening in the slightest. Once they escape from the house, Chris, Sharon and Debbie all manage to run into members of the cult – it’s like an entire town filled with variations on Texas Chain Saw‘s Cook…” The Pink Smoke
“A charming detour into the Theatre of the Absurd that’s sweetened by a deliciously subversive edge. Rah! Rah! Rah!” DVD Talk
“Satan’s Cheerleaders had potential to be devilishly fun, but its lackluster pacing sucks the wind right out of it. Director Greydon Clark doesn’t bring anything original or outrageous to the table. The film’s first third is devoted to cheerleader frolics that are dull despite all the leaping, bending and showering.” HNN
“Satan’s Cheerleaders takes a little while to hit its stride but the last half of the film, if not good in the traditional sense, is at least entertaining and bizarre enough to hold our attention. The film also benefits from a genuinely strange cast.” Rock! Shock! Pop!
Cast and characters:
John Ireland as The Sheriff
Yvonne De Carlo as Emmy / Sheriff’s Wife / High Priestess
Jack Kruschen as Billy the Janitor
John Carradine as The Bum
Sydney Chaplin as Monk
Jacqueline Cole as Ms Johnson
Kerry Sherman as Patti
Hillary Horan as Chris
Alisa Powell as Debbie
Sherry Marks as Sharon
Lane Caudell [as Lane Cordell] as Stevie
Joseph Carlo as Coach
Michael Donovan O’Donnell as Farmer
Robin Greer as Baker Girl
Satan’s Cheerleaders was released theatrically in the United States by World Amusements in June 1977, on VHS in the 1980s by various companies including Interglobal Home Video, Liberty Home Video, and United Video and on DVD by VCI Entertainment in 2002. The DVD version is currently available on the VCI Home Video label from Music Video Distributors. A Blu-ray and DVD combo was released on November 7, 2017.