Rejected By Rod(?) Part Seven - The Redeemer
Not everything I've written for FLICK ATTACK has made it to the show. Mr. Lott insists that these rapidly aging reviews will be posted eventually, but until then I'm just going to assume that they have been:
Rejected By Rod(?)
The Redeemer: Son of Satan!
It seems appropriate that what ultimately saves this obscure late 70s proto-slasher is a memorably theatrical performance by T.G. Finkbinder as the title character. That’s right, The Redeemer redeems The Redeemer, but it’s a close call, because the filmmakers commit more than their fair share of cinematic sin before the end credits roll.
In a plot that predates the similar Slaughter High by 8 years, a group of six assholes are tricked into attending their 10-year high school reunion, only to discover that they have actually been gathered together to be fatally punished for their supposed sins against humanity—specifically their avarice, vanity, gluttony, haughtiness, licentiousness and perversion.
Unfortunately, as written the victims are all so clearly guilty of their “sins” it’s hard not to assume that the filmmakers are on the killer’s side, which is especially disturbing when you consider that the “pervert” The Redeemer punishes is simply a woman in a normal (albeit clandestine) lesbian relationship.
But what confuses the film’s potentially ugly moral stance is the revelation that the killer is actually a priest working as the personal hand of the sub-titular Son of Satan. What are we supposed to make of this? Is organized religion really a front for the Devil? Is the idea that the victims’ supposed “sins” are so minor and commonplace any one of us could find ourselves at the mercy of The Redeemer? And why is the adolescent antichrist busy punishing earthly sinners, instead of encouraging them like a more typical antichrist would?
Thinking about it all makes my head hurt, but—as I mentioned in the first paragraph—the film’s confused themes are made bearable by the presence of its antagonist, who manages to walk that fine line between campy fun and genuine creepiness. Both ahead of its time and unfortunately retrograde, The Redeemer is a highly flawed, but interesting film that deserves a place in the slasher canon its obscurity has previously denied it.