AN ANGEL FOR SATAN (1966) Reviews of Barbara Steele Gothic horror

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An Angel for Satan is a 1966 Italian Gothic supernatural horror film in which an old statue is recovered from a lake. A series of strange deaths soon begin and the superstitious people of the local village believe that the statue carries an ancient malediction…

Directed by Camillo Mastrocinque (Terror in the Crypt) from a screenplay co-written with Giuseppe Mangione based on a story by Luigi Emmanuele. Produced by Lilian Biancini.

The soundtrack score was composed by Francesco De Masi (Formula for a MurderEscape from the BronxThe New York RipperWeapons of DeathOrgy of the Living Dead).

The Discobolo Film production stars Barbara Steele, Anthony Steffen, Claudio Gora, Mario Brega, Marina Berti, Ursula Davis, Vassili Karis, Aldo Berti, Betty Delon, Antonio Corevi, Antonio Acqua, Livia Rossetti, Halina Zalewska and Giovanna Lenzi.

The Count of Montebruno (Claudio Gora), preparing his luxurious mansion for the arrival of his niece Harriet (Barbara Steele), discovers a mysterious old statue. After Harriet arrives, strange events begin to happen, including deaths.

It soon becomes clear that the newly found statue somehow influences the mental state of the Count’s young niece. It turns out that Harriet Montebruno, one of the ancestors of the Count of Montebruno, was turned into a statue many years ago…


“Curious fans of the sultry horror star will find much to enjoy, even in the Italian-language version — Steele’s magnetic performance and the strong visuals propel the story with or without the minimal dialogue.” All Movie

“Mastrocinque’s stylish adaptation of Luigi Emmanuele’s story and Steele’s performance are excellent, enhancing the dreamily melancholic atmosphere of the house and its grounds, dominated by the mysterious late. Although the picture has its share of violence […] the overall impression is one of a poetic, somehow slow-moving rhythm animating the unfolding of a crepuscular image.” The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror

“Though fairly light on the horror, this is a well-made dark fantasy/melodrama that should please fans of these kind of movies. There’s an elegant, romantic musical score from Francesco De Masi, moody black-and-white photography from Giuseppe Aquari and good art direction, costumes and the like.” The Bloody Pit of Horror

“Atmospherically shot by Giuseppe Aquari, with a moody score by Francesco De Masi, the movie is disappointing as horror, but nonetheless makes good use of Steele’s talent in what initially appears to be a dual role echoing her part in Mario Bava’s Black Sunday (1960)…” Cagey Films


“The movie is well-paced and consistently entertaining. It lacks the visual brilliance of a Bava movie but it still looks quite impressive. The acting overall is quite adequate but Barbara Steele dominates proceedings so completely you scarcely notice anyone else.” Cult Movie Reviews

“Though the Harriet-Belinda role is hardly an enlightened one, Steele is at her most smoulderingly powerful here, looking splendidly crazed when she daubs on heavy make-up (very 1960s-looking make-up, it must be said) during her first transformation. Mastrocinque introduces several other suggestive touches, among them a Magdalena statue that, though pretty obviously a mannequin, looks unpleasantly creepy when festooned with seaweed.” Jonathan Rigby, Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema


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“Even though the script does not fully explore its potential and the pacing drags a little bit, there are a number of strong moments, such as Brega’s seduction as well as the dramatic ending, which also vaguely recalled La Venus d’Ille. The regional Italian setting […] is also noteworthy, with its mixture of superstition, morbidity and ignorance. For a director who approached genre out of necessity, Mastrocinque’s direction is surprisingly effective at times…” Roberto Curti, Italian Gothic Horror Films, 1957 – 1969


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” …An Angel for Satan is a slippery film with a strong performance from Steele whose mercurial mood shifts allow her to really run the acting gamut here. The much-noted duality of her screen presence is really used to the hilt here, along with familiar tropes from her other films like an insidious malediction from the past and a dark secret pulled from a lake.” Mondo Digital

“The cinematography by Giuseppe Aquari does a great job of doing just that, painting the film with some beautiful, shadowy visuals and using some dramatic close-ups to very good effect. Throw in a very moody score from Francesco De Masi and this one shapes up nicely as an excellent example of Italian gothic horror at its best.” Rock! Shock! Pop!

” …the film pulls off quite an array of emotionally devastating scenes including one where schoolchildren discover a key character has hung himself and the death of a child befriended by Roberto. Francesco De Masi’s stirring score combines with the glossy yet haunting black and white photography by Giuseppe Aquari to create a mood of morbid romanticism to match Steele’s uniquely vampiric beauty.” The Spinning Image


“Steele’s fan-collectors won’t need extra encouragement, as she’s in most every scene and gets to play a variety of moods from delicate to seductive to outright poisonous. Quality performances flatter a flawed screenplay, and the fine direction and attentive cinematography clearly inspired Steele to give it everything she had.” Trailers from Hell

“Barbara Steele’s last Italian Gothic is one of her best and long the least accessible. As her films often are, it’s a rumination on her uncanny beauty, but this time it’s a love/hate rumination as well as one that asks us to consider things from her side, as the bearer of that beauty. While it certainly takes the viewer to some horrific extremes of human nature and frailty, it seems less a horror film than a romantic tragedy…” Video Watchdog

Contemporary reviews:

“As far as we’re concerned Barbara represents evil and that’s all there is to it. Having said that, all we need add is that Un angelo per Satana is merely funny, an effect opposite to what the director presumably intended.” Film Mese, September 1967

” …a slow-moving attempt at the horrific but not only does it not achieve anything in the way of thrills, it tends to confuse throughout the whole of a long-drawn-out affair.” Kine Weekly

Choice dialogue:
Harriet Montebruno [Barbara Steele]: ” You were delirious. You don’t remember.”
Harriet Montebruno [Barbara Steele]: “I adore violence. I adore it.”
Harriet Montebruno [Barbara Steele]: “I want all men to worship me.”

Theatrical release:
An Angel for Satan was released in Italy on 4 May 1966 where it was distributed by Discobolo Film. It grossed 87 million Italian lire on its release.
In the UK, Gala Film Distributors released the film in 1968 with a BBFC ‘X’ certificate.

Blu-ray release:
In the USA, An Angel for Satan was released on Blu-ray by Severin Films on October 26, 2021. The film was scanned in 2K from the original negative and includes both the Italian and thought-lost English tracks.

Audio Commentary With Actress Barbara Steele And Horror Film Historian David Del Valle
Audio Commentary With Kat Ellinger, Author Of Daughters Of Darkness
The Devil Statue: Interview With Actor Vassili Karis
Barbara and Her Furs: 1967 Short Film By Pierre Andro Based On “Venus In Furs” Starring Barbara Steele With Optional Partial Commentary By Steele
Extended Trailer

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