Updated: Aug 19
Directed by Nick Millard under the pseudonym of Philip Miller, Satan’s Black Wedding is a very obscure little movie that as far as I am aware, is only available on a DVD triple feature with two of the director’s other movies; Criminally Insane and its sequel, Criminally Insane 2.
The plot centres on Mark, an actor from Hollywood who has left the glitz and glamour behind for a while to attend his sister’s funeral. Once the services are over, Mark travels to his sister’s house only to find that the room in which she committed suicide has been left untouched and that there is an exaggerated amount of blood smeared over the walls.
Luckily, the police lieutenant is on hand to use his highly honed detective skills and inform Mark that he thinks something odd is going on and that his sister (Nina) may not have committed suicide due to a few odd things regarding the body. Yeah, no shit. I mean unless after slitting her wrists she suddenly decided, “These walls would look so much better in red.” I think it’s safe to assume that something a little unusual happened.
In addition to the Jackson Pollockesque claret smearing’s, Nina’s ring finger is missing and there was no blood left in her body at all. Luckily for Mark, he finds the finger in a pool of blood on the floor after the police simply overlooked it. Now, I’m not sure how crime scenes were dealt with in ‘70s California, or what the entrance exam would have been to join the force. But if these guys are anything to go by, no crimes were ever solved. You could steal the laces out of their shoes whilst you were talking to them and they still would be baffled as to where they went.
Mark then sets off to find out what’s been going on and to solve the mystery behind his sister’s death. The main problem is that he’s so underacted that he responds to the whole situation with an air of mild disappointment. If you picture a man who has bought a packet of 12 biscuits and then opens it to find there are only 11, then you’ll get the vague sense of perplexed puzzlement that he conveys throughout the entire movie.
In the same vein, the police lieutenant tells a tale of a family getting slaughtered in the same tone of voice that one would use to walk up to their grocer and say, “I would like to buy four potatoes.”
I suppose I shouldn’t expect too much from a movie in which two adults can’t even convincingly kiss each other. It was like people kissing for the first time and I can only imagine the director giving instructions along the lines of, “OK, you put your mouth on her lips and she turns her head from side to side so that you kind of smear your face vaguely over hers.”
The movie is very disjointed with cuts from one scene to the next being quite jarring, with no flow or natural transition. Quite often a scene will involve a couple of people talking with the camera switching angles to show each character and they are very obviously either not in the same location or, as they are not both being filmed at the same time, looking in completely the wrong direction. This isn’t helped by the odd framing of characters during dialogue scenes either.
However, in spite of this and in spite of the discordant soundtrack that sounds like someone idly running their fingers up and down the keys of an un-tuned piano, it isn’t complete crap.
I once spent three days slogging through a single movie that I had to review because I hated it that much and I could only watch it in instalments before getting in a rage and turning it off. But this? This I sat through in one viewing. It probably helps that the runtime is not much over an hour, and there is something about it that just keeps you watching. And, the further along the film gets, the more bizarre the imagery and as your sitting there baffled as to why there are random shots of an animal’s eye, or a stream, or a lily. It just…ends.
However, that does make it an odd movie to pigeonhole. It’s not laughably bad and yet it’s not train-wreck bad either. But it is a bad movie, just one that’s more sort of, bad in its own special way and it does have a satanic vampire priest, so I guess it has to get credit for that if nothing else.
If you can tolerate a movie with a lot of faults that is also strangely watchable, then there are worse ways to spend an hour, but I don’t think this is a movie that anyone would watch more than once.
It could do with a title change though because rather than Satan’s Black Wedding, Vampires Plastic Teeth would be far more suitable.