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The Redeemer (1978) - Blu-ray Review

Movie Review

4 beersIn the pre-dawn hours before John Carpenter’s Halloween was released and changed everything about horror films, there was The Redeemer: Son of Satan, a film so deliciously vile that it is worth mentioning alongside such sin condemning franchises like SAW, and, yes, this one also has a killer puppet.

How could a movie so righteous in its bizarre execution also be so insanely evil? Easy peasy, the double fisting of religion by a killer who is clearly doing the work of the devil makes this one and its impalements unforgettable.  It’s all about a mind-bending massacre planned by a lunatic preacher (T.G. Finkbinder) who wants his one-time classmates to die, die, die because each of them are all guilty of one of the seven deadly sins.

Made after Richard Donner’s hugely successful The Omen, this flick seems the obvious cash-in attempt with its reliance upon the spooky nature of boys; however, things are not as they always are believed. The film stars Damian Knight and Janetta Arnette and is written by William Vernick, who may have just wanted to find out pretty cool ways to kill off some people. Regardless, this one kicks an awful bit like a slasher flick and, in spite of its unfocused nature, carries a very successful value in its overall unpleasantness. The kills, highlighted by a scene of drowning and forced forgiveness, are brutal and sickening.

Originally, I caught this on VHS as Class Reunion Massacre courtesy of Continental Video and, yeah, it was the one-two strike of the title and the cover art that attracted me to it. I wasn’t prepared for the wicked atmosphere created by a killer who adorns all sorts of homegrown masks (and voices!) as he goes about doing his master’s bidding. One by one, this reunion is brought to a full stop by the sudden cruelty of the unexpected murders. And there’s no place for these students to hide either. No wonder this reunion is just limited to a handful of students.

By pumping up the atmospheric creep and crawl of a psychological horror title with engaging visuals, director Constantine S. Gochis and a team of amateur filmmakers create a low grade B-movie so utterly shocking that it can’t help but cast its dark magic over its audience. This film is ferocious. The Redeemer: Son of Satan is about one class reunion that won’t soon be forgotten thanks to its proto-slasher mechanics.

And it begins with darkness covering the land…or at least a large pond. The camera shows us a big area of water bumped up against a scenic stretch of land. Suddenly, the shadows grow and the greens of the lake turn pitch black. Scary, right? But wait, there’s more. As the inky darkness spreads out over the landscape, a small hand shoots straight up from out of the middle of the pond. WHAT THE HELL?!

The extended hand stays raised above the water as a small boy, fully dressed, walks out from within the depths of the water. He is fully dressed and walks a constant gait toward a dirt road where he is picked up by an empty bus. His destination? The sermon on the mount in which the killer announces why each member of the class reunion has been selected to die.

Full of hate-spewing sermons and a demonic Boys Choir, this slasher is on one hell of a mission to spread the gospel according to Satan. It is both surreal and satisfying. Thanks to Code Red, The Redeemer lives again!


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Film Details

The Redeemer (1978) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 84 mins
Director: Constantine S. Gochis
Writer: William Vernick
Cast: Damien Knight, Jeannetta Arnette, Nick Carter
Genre: Horror
Tagline: No More Pencils, No More Books; No More Students
Memorable Movie Quote:
Theatrical Distributor:
Official Site:
Release Date:
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: April 26, 2014
Synopsis: When a small town high school reunion occurs, a born loser (T.G. Finkbinder) who is now a pastor makes a pact with the devil himself. He will kill his fellow schoolmates one by one to redeem himself and to hopefully get his second possessed thumb removed(!) He proves to be a master of disguise - and he even treats his victim to some hammy acting. Revenge and death will never be the same as The Redeemer slowly kills his victims in various gory methods!


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The Redeemer (1978) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Code Red DVD
Available on Blu-ray - April 26, 2014
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: None
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

Code Red, upgrading this grindhouse flick in glorious HD, presents The Redeemer: Son of Satan with a smart-looking 1080p transfer. Okay, so it isn’t be best looking transfer they’ve ever done. Doesn’t matter; the film makes it all worthwhile. Framed in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and featuring a crisp DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 audio track, The Redeemer: Son of Satan has never looked as crisp as it does here. There is visible dirt and debris and a scratches running down the print but, considering the age and treatment of the negative used, it’s to be expected. Overall, this is as satisfying brand new HD widescreen master from Code Red. Considering that the film is limited to just 1000 copies, I wouldn’t hit the snooze button on owning this one too many times.



While highly recommended, it is sad that there are no commentaries for the film.

Special Features:

None. In fact, once you put the film in your player, it simply starts up.


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The Redeemer (1978) - Blu-ray Review