What scared America more in the Seventies: devil cults or homosexuals? Well, according to this deeply deranged regional rarity, even Satan hates gays....
Troubled teen Bobby Douglas (STEPHEN WHITE) is so fed up with his crotchety father and seductive stepsister -- who’s always making fun of his wanker -- that the kid finally cracks: “You go to Hell! Go to Hell! Go to Jesus-H-Christ Heeeeelllllllll!” Running away from home, Bobby unknowingly ends up at a gay bar (which looks like an ordinary diner) and, before long, is by four guys in the back seat of a car. (Supposedly. Though Bobby struggles and screams, the worst we actually see is someone patting his fanny.)
Discarded by the side of a road, Bobby is soon discovered by the titular Satan’s Children, a commune of volleyball-playing devil worshippers. Nursing his sore ass in one of their beds, Bobby immediately causes a controversy. Second-in-command Sherry -- who just rebuffed the lesbian advances of another member by punching the girl in the face -- thinks Bobby’s “beautiful,” but cult member Joshua begs to differ: “Don’t say he was ’cause you don’t know! You go making dispensations for a queer and you’ll unleash all the demons of Hell on this place!” Sherry deals with the issue by hanging Joshua and climbing in the sack with Bobby.
Unfortunately, the leader of the group, sultry-eyed Simon, doesn’t like Bobby either and buries Sherry up to her neck near an anthill in the backyard. (Simon also magically makes the lesbian gal bleed from her mouth.) But Bobby escapes only to -- inexplicably -- commit some murders in the hopes of joining the gang....
Obviously, the film raises a number of interesting questions. Is it saying that homosexuality is an offense so perverse that it’s even beyond evil? Or is it arguing the reverse? If homosexuality is repugnant to satanists, wouldn’t that make it good? Perhaps, even holy? Yeah, well, it’s doubtful the filmmakers had anything more profound on their minds than cheap thrills and easy targets. Still, for a film that seems so homophobic, Satan’s Children goes out of its way to fetishize the young man in the lead. Not only does Mr. White spend half the film semi-naked, but the poor kid (who often looks like he’s about to burst into tears) is forced to run through a swamp in his cute little undies. If Satan’s Children was a man instead of a movie, one would say he’s not only terribly confused but in serious need of outting.
Shot in the Tampa Bay area by a director anxious to escape TV work, one of the crew members -- MARC WIELAGE, a then-19-year-old camera assistant eager for some feature-film experience -- kept a behind-the-scenes diary on the making of the film. Amazingly, he’s now published that diary online at ://www.big13.net/making_of_ satans_children.htm. It’s mandatory reading for anyone interested in the pure hell of low-budget filmmaking.
From an ultra-rare 35mm print. -- Frank Henenlotter
Starring: Stephen White
Co-starring: Kathleen Archer
Other cast: Rosemary Orland, Robert C. Ray II
Directed by: Joe Wiezycki