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Satanico Pandemonium – 7

Director – Gilberto Martínez Solares

Cast – Cecilia Pezet, Enrique Rocha, Delia Magaña, Clemencia Colin, Sandra Torres, Adarene San Martin, Patricia Alban, Yayoi Tokawa

Release Year – 1975

Reviewed by John of the Dead

I first heard the words “Satanico Pandemonium” while watching Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn, as that was Salma Hayek’s stage name during her infamous snake-dance striptease scene at the Titty Twister. A dear friend of mine who delves into rare and obscure horror films gave me to opportunity to view this mid-70s “nunsploitation” piece, and I am glad to say that I was pleased with the end result. While not as exploitation-fueled as I wanted it to be, Satanico Pandemonium provided the goods in simple fashion and made for a positive experience despite leaving me wanting more in the end.

Sister Maria, a young nun, one day finds herself bombarded by Satan’s temptations in the form of forbidden sexual fantasies as he lures her to his domain.

One reason we love horror films so much is the fact that the elements often associated with horror, killing and debauchery, give us pleasurable shock value, and that shock value is increased when a “good” person like a nun is involved in a negative fashion. From the get-go the story takes off with Sister Maria approached by a naked man, presumably (and inevitably proven to be) Satan, and from then on our he bombards her with temptations to destroy her purity and sanctity. On one occasion she is approached by a fellow “Sister”, who (as a trick from Satan) “make the moves” on her and “turns” her into a sexually deviant being with a desire for the sins of the flesh. Of course, she cannot allow this secret to be made known to her cohorts, and that is when her character worsens as she must kill to keep her secrets secret. Watching her transform from dedicated servant of Christ to the monster she became was great, and it came with plenty of sleaze (as expected) although nothing too graphic. The kills were simple and so were the characters involved, and while I did not find a problem with that I did find a problem with the usage of Satan. I personally wanted more action regarding him, as he really only served as a man showing up every now and then to speak to Maria about the temptations, and that is about it. He never really came off evil or scary in any way, leaving much to be desired regarding his character.

Gilberto Martinez Solares serves as the film’s director, and overall he did a pretty swell job. From the moment the film gets going you will see that it is of an obvious low budget, but that was not enough to keep Solares from delivering good execution of the horror, although the horror was (as mentioned earlier) fairly tame. He manages to provide a decent amount of shock during the kills, which despite their tame nature and lack of gore managed to at least come quickly after some tense development. The acting performances were positive as well, as I watched a subtitled version and not a dubbed one, which I recommend for those who wish to see/hear the actors in their truest form. 70’s horror films are known for their great atmosphere, and while I found Solares’ sets OK his atmosphere could have been a bit spookier, but it seems the film was not really going for scares but just shock value in general.

Overall, Satanico Pandomonium is a cool flick that provides a unique storyline rarely used in the horror genre, a storyline with a nun as the source of its horror. The story moves a bit slow and the direction suffers at times due to that, but overall Solares’ direction provides fair horror and in the end makes for a positive watch, just don’t expect any good scares.

Rating: 7/10

  1. March 9, 2012 at 2:32 am

    I so want to watch this! It sounds like a bad horror movie in the best way, and I haven’t seen many 70’s horror movies. I liked your description of it.

    • March 9, 2012 at 8:01 pm

      I love 70’s horror movies, they may just be my favorite because of how raw and trashy most of them are haha. I need to do a list of best 70s horror movies someday, but there are still many that I need to see.

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