THE REDEEMER (1978) Reviews and overview

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‘If you have a craving for terror come to the class reunion’
The Redeemer is a 1978 American horror film about six people trapped within an old high school during a reunion with a psychotic preacher. Also known as The Redeemer… Son of Satan and Class Reunion Massacre

Directed by Constantine S. Gochis from a screenplay by William Vernick. Produced by Sheldon Tromberg (Teenage Graffiti).

The film’s brooding synthesizer score was provided by Philip Gallo and Clem Vicari.

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The movie stars Damien Knight, Jeanetta Arnette, Nick Carter, Nikki Barthen, Michael Hollingsworth, Gyr Patterson, T.G. Finkbinder, Christopher Flint, Richard Timmins, Jessica Bein, Eric Kjoenes and Rosa Arift.

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Plot:

Six people are trapped within the confines of their old high school during their tenth high school reunion with a psychotic, masked preacher who kills them off for the sinful lives they have made for themselves…

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Reviews:

“From a production standpoint the direction and acting all hold a lot better than other low-budget horror films. And the overall quality of this production is even more impressive considering that this was the only film that most of the cast, the screenwriter and the director ever worked on. Ultimately if you can look past its shortcomings, Redeemer: Son of Satan is a fun ride that fans of the slasher film genre should thoroughly enjoy.” 10K Bullets

“Luckily, the cast don’t over play what are essentially stock horror victims (avaricious attorney, good-hearted party girl, sensible lesbian, etc.), so there’s real tension during the murder setpieces, particularly the brutal ladies’ room drowning featuring Jeanetta Arnette and scene-chewing psycho T.G. Finkbinder. The special effects splatter nicely, and an eerie tone plants the queasy suggestion that the filmmakers were sympathetic to the religiously-motivated maniac’s horrible deeds.” All Movie

“It’s light on gore, heavy on gruesome and effective killings, and filled with creative photography. The killer actually scared me. Twice. Most successful is the mystery factor — nothing is explained and events continue to grow more bizarre as each minute passes. The tone is uncomfortable, especially with the killer’s numerous costumes and voice changes.” Bleeding Skull!

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“Ultimately, despite the fact that it’s basically a stalk and slash, The Redeemer has enough going for it in terms of creativity and unpredictability that horror fans should find a lot to like about the movie. It’s not a perfect film and there are moments that work better than others, but overall there’s plenty of entertainment value here and even a couple of creepy thrills.” DVD Talk

“The supernatural facet feels tacked on in order to get some box office from fans of The Omen.  But the murders are well-orchestrated, and the special effects are decent enough.  The pacing never sags too much, and even though it’s all witless, it does have a certain set of charms […] The Redeemer and his costumes are the primary reason why all of this is watchable.” The Gentlemen’s Blog to Midnite Cinema

“There are some really nice touches here: good cinematography; a genuinely creepy ambience and a likeable principle cast [sic]. It’s just a shame they ended up in mean-spirited junk like this.” Hysteria Lives

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“The Redeemer: Son of Satan is a truly great, forgotten horror movie. Yes, it’s got its cheesy problems just like any other film of its era, but it also builds a sense of foreboding doom more palpable than a lot of movies I have encountered. From the minute the hapless victims set foot into the school, you feel they are in great danger and a number of moments in the film come off as genuinely suspenseful.” Oh, the Horror!

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“There is a genuine haunting atmosphere, the killings are bizarre and original, and the whole thing is laced with Argento-esque touches. But the obsessive morality (and the fact that the characters are all pretty nice) fails to make The Redeemer anything more than a cult curiosity.” Jim Harper, Legacy of Blood: A Comprehensive Guide to Slasher Movies

Legacy of Blood Jim Harper

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“Possessed of disturbingly puritanical sensibility, this inept, unpleasant film is sticky going indeed.” James J. Mulay (editor), The Horror Film

“In a year of trashy C-minus movies, The Redeemer (citywide) takes the prize as the worst. It’s a badly acted, stiffly photographed, vile film that mixes together And Then There Were NoneWhatever Happened to the Class of ’65? and The Omen, then tosses in the Seven Deadly Sins as an afterthought. The film is directed with theatrical hysteria, too many arbitrary long shots and repulsive violence by Constantine S. Gochis.” Los Angeles Times, October 27, 1978

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“The plot contains some grisly and colorful murders–eight or nine, it’s hard to keep score–is confusing … The camera work is good; the acting by mainly Washington-area residents, passable.” The News Leader, June 22, 1978

” …this was so fuzzy in its intentions that you would be tempted to wish anyone trying to work out what the message was, if anything, hearty good luck and leave them to it, but The Redeemer operated neatly as a weirdo experience as well which may reward the more adventurous dabbler in these murky seventies depths of low budget shockers.” The Spinning Image

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“This pre-Prom Night attempt is surprisingly well-crafted, considering the low budget, simple acting, and okay special effects. The proselytizing killer precedes each execution with an eloquent moral detailing the soon-to-be victim’s sins. Clown masks, high school theatres, a flame thrower….all make this a fairly fun watch.” The Terror Trap

” …the film’s confused themes are made bearable by the presence of its antagonist, who manages to walk that fine line between campy fun and genuine creepiness. Both ahead of its time and unfortunately retrograde, The Redeemer is a highly flawed, but interesting film that deserves a place in the slasher canon its obscurity has previously denied it.” Vanity Fear

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“Because of the longwinded opening, the classmates don’t arrive at the reunion until about a half an hour into the movie. The conclusion is also needlessly drawn out. After the killer murders his last victim, the flick should be over, but it continues on for another fifteen minutes, much of which consists of a kid walking around aimlessly for what seems like forever.” The Video Vacuum

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