SATAN’S BLACK WEDDING: Surreal Madness For The 3 A.M. Mindset

Here’s a tip for cult movie enthusiasts: if you’re going to watch something that is both bad and really eccentric, it’s best to watch it as late in the evening as your ability to stay awake allows.  When you’re on the edge of sleep, your mind is at its most receptive to the kind of rule-breaking outside art weirdness that your conscious mind might put up barriers against.  Schlockmania has noticed 3 a.m. is a sweet spot for watching this kind of bizarre film and they are thus known around Schlockmania Headquarters as “3 a.m. Movies.”

Satan’s Black Wedding is a perfect example of a 3 a.m. movie.  The premise seems normal enough on horror movie terms: when his sister dies, Hollywood leading man Mark (Greg Braddock) goes back to his hometown to find out what happened.  Soon after his arrival, the handful of folks in this small town start getting bumped off in a vampiric style.  It all has something to do with the creepy local funeral home and its equally creepy owner…

Don’t let the boilerplate plot outlined above fool you. This movie refuses to play by the rules.  It’s the work of Nick Millard, a filmmaker who was specialist in poverty row exploitation fare. Satan’s Black Wedding is all-around bad:  the visual compositions have a Doris Wishman-esque weirdness to their framing, the musical score sounds like a blind man feeling his way around the piano and most of the actors sleepwalk through their roles as if they were given Quaaludes when they arrived on set.  It’s the kind of vampire movie where the vamps have to keep their mouths shut during an attack because they are wearing joke-shop plastic fangs.

Weird, weird, weird is the best description for this one – and it’s all played totally straight, with zero Troma-style winks at the camera. Thankfully, the elements that don’t work in the conventional sense give it an oddly hypnotic quality. It also has a sharpness to its pace that bad movies often lack.  Finally, it has the occasional moment of effective atmosphere (particularly the wordless opening scene) and ends a nice, 1970’s-style note of pure nastiness.

Calling Satan’s Black Wedding scary would be a big stretch but its bizarro-world approach to horror makes it quietly unnerving in its own slightly brain-damaged way… especially if you get it rolling at 3 a.m. If you want to get a little weird in the wee hours, this brain-altering gem offers a first class ticket to that destination.

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