Directed by Jeannot Szwarc
Distributed by Wild Eye Releasing
Well, folks, get ready for a flashback because I’ve got another 70’s genre gem for you to consider. It may show its age in the first few minutes, but once it’s warmed up, you’ll notice the twinkle in its eyes instead of the faded wrinkles.
The Devil’s Daughter first aired on television in early 1973. I was barely eight months old, but for some reason I remembered it as I watched. It must be one of those movies that got played late at night when I was a kid … when I was supposed to be sleeping instead of glued to a tiny glowing screen in my room with the volume as low as I could possibly stand it. Yes, that’s how my love of all things horror began, and this was one of the countless films I saw on the sly.
This time I didn’t have to sneak or strain to hear or listen for an irate redheaded mom to storm down the stairs and threaten my very existence. No, this time I could sit and enjoy the frightful delights in full glory although I do sometimes miss those little floor creak induced rushes from time to time. “Oh no, Mom’s coming!” I’d quickly turn off the TV and pretend I’d been asleep for hours, thinking I had totally gotten away with it.
Well, I didn’t always get away with it. Moms can be pretty tricky sometimes. Like when they join a cult, bed the devil, and promise him your soul when you’re born. That’s what happens to Diane (Montgomery) in The Devil’s Daughter, but of course her mother tries to break the agreement, and poor Diane is unknowingly put into the 21-year lay-away plan that Lucifer so readily offers to those who try to back out of their dealings with him when it comes to infant souls.
Diane’s mother begs for her daughter’s life and ends up losing her own. While Diane is tending to the funeral and the other details of her mother’s passing, she is taken in by an old friend of her mother’s named Lilith (Winters). After Lilith begins to exhibit strange, obsessive behaviors, Diane decides to move in with a local girl in town. Yeah, that doesn’t work out too well for poor Susan… Talk about having a roommate from Hell!
Gradually Diane is dragged deeper and deeper into the bowels of the evil her mother tried so hard to protect her from. Her friends are in danger, and the cult wants her, “The Princess of Darkness,” to marry a fellow demon and live happily never after. Fighting to keep normalcy in her life, Diane goes against the Satanists’ wishes and falls in love with a man, quickly accepting his proposal of marriage. Now she must pray that the cultists will release her from their murderous clutches so she can marry the man of her dreams.
You’ll have to check the DVD out for yourself if you want to see the wickedly twisted ending of this TV classic. You’ll find the beginning of the transfer on the DVD to be slightly damaged due to the unfortunately poor quality of the film’s print; but after a few brief moments the movie rights itself, you feel yourself slip back into the 70’s grainy goodness, and all is forgotten. My only real complaint isn’t the transfer, it’s that the story hits a few lulls that seem to slow things down rather than lend anything to the story. Thankfully the glowing finale is a great big 70’s payoff with extra cheese!
As with Crawlspace (review here), the DVD release of The Devil’s Daughter is extremely limited in extra features, boasting only a scene selection menu, but finally being able to own this piece of nostalgic horror is well worth it. I definitely enjoyed the trip down memory lane … even if it did conjure up terrifying images of my angry mother.
3 out of 5
2 out of 5