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Sticks & Stones - The Pierces

Friday, October 1, 2010

Daughters of Satan

Daughters of Satan

First in our goal of one movie a day for the 31 days in October.

From 1972, viewed via cable TCM, I think.
Image found on IMBD
This movie contains some nudity - (a topless woman or two, but part of the story line)

I found this movie to be more Gothic-style than horror, but it's classified as horror. This movie is creepy or eerie more than it is scary, but oddly enough, I thought it was still enjoyable to watch, despite the cheesy way some of the scenes are carried out. The cheesiness couldn't really be helped, it was the 70s after all and Star Wars wasn't around to change the way movies were made yet.

I really liked the premise of the movie. Set in Manilla, Philippines during the 70s - in other words, present day for when it was made. Tom Selleck plays an art collector, James Robertson, brought to an art store on leads of some old, very rare tapestries, but instead, discovers a painting circa late 1500s, in which three witches and a dog are burned. The reason he purchases the painting is because the witch in the middle looks just like his wife, Chris.

At first, it all seems a legit coincidence, but as the story unfolds, you realize it was a rouse to get him to the shop to buy that very painting.


Because his wife is the reincarnation of that particular witch, and that witch's spirit resides in the painting, as well as the other two witches and the dog. This is revealed through a very interesting twist in the storyline - when night falls, the images in the painting disappear, indicating that the witches are out to "play".

It's not really as simple as all that though, as each witch must reaffirm her place within the coven. At first, the torture scenes don't really make sense, and they do appear very cheesy, but for that era (again, pre-Star Wars), they were well done. These scenes hold the bulk of the female nudity that exists within the movie. Some might think it's just gratuitous, but upon further consideration, it really fits into the scene as the leaders of the coven are trying to "break" the current spirit of the reincarnated witches' bodies.

What we don't see, is the lead witch (European/white) being tortured, as that was done prior to the painting coming into Robertson's hands. What we do see, however, are the remaining two witches tortured until they "reaffirm" their position in Lucifer's coven. The first woman seen tortured is of Manillan descent. You don't see her face, so it's not really clear what's going on, which adds to the creepiness and eerie feeling the movie creates. What you do know, is that the woman's spirit is very strong, as the torture took time and was extensive.

Soon after, a woman local Manilla woman shows up on the Robertson's doorstep in response to an ad for a housekeeper placed by Robertson. Apparently, the wife, Chris, is a fragile, frail, woman. It isn't long until Chris is the next witch tortured. It doesn't take her long, demonstrating her weak-willed spirit and mind.

All the while this is going on, Robertson notices the women in the artwork, "fading," and contacts an art dealer he trusts to find out if that's normal. Well, it's obviously not normal, but it isn't until he discusses this with Chris' psychiatrist that he discovers what the fading images mean. The fading only occurs at night, so the people are generally normal during the day.

The entire goal of the movie is to real why the witches are coming to life at that point in time and place. The reason is tied not just to them being burned, but who was responsible for being burned.

It turns out that Robertson is the descendant of the man responsible for having the three women and their dog burned.

The big question - do they succeed in their goal? I'm not telling! You need to watch the movie to find out....

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