The Devil’s Daughter (1973) – By Duane L. Martin

 Alice has a problem.  See, her mother belonged to a satanic cult when she was younger, and she made a pact with the devil that when her yet unborn daughter would be married off to a demon of the devil’s choice when she turned 21 years old.  Well, Alice turned 21, and when her mother, who had since left the cult and became a catholic tried to renig on the deal, the devil’s servants showed up to remind her of their pact.  Unfortunately for her, she tried to shoot them and magically the bullet hit her instead and killed her.

Now Alice is back in town.  She hadn’t seen her mother hardly at all in her life, and she had been bounced around to different boarding schools and convents – but now she was back for her mother’s funeral, and decided to move back for good.

At the funeral, she meets up with her mother’s old friend Lilith, played brilliantly by Shelly Winters.  Lilith insists that Alice come and stay with her, which leads to Alice meeting a variety of weird cult people, including Abe Vigoda!  Abe Vigoda is the man, and if you don’t know who he is, then you’re really missing out.  He played Fish on Barney Miller and he’s been in a variety of movies.  He’s just one of those people that when you see them on the screen, no matter how good or crappy the movie is, he just makes you smile inside because he’s so freakin’ cool.  I only wish he had had a bigger part in this movie.  He really didn’t get to do all that much unfortunately.

Anyway, the whole movie is about steering Alice down the path to being their new queen of darkness and forcing her into marrying the demon that Satan had chosen for her.  You can pretty much imagine how that whole thing went, so I don’t think I need to get too much more detailed about the plot than that.

Like Crawlspace, The Devil’s Daughter is one of those movies that turned out to be an unexpected gem that really sucks you in.  The weird cult people, the likeable girl Alice, all the creepy events that go on…they all make for a really enjoyable movie that gives will give you a creepy, fun feeling while you’re watching it.

For a 70’s film, the acting was surprisingly good.  Shelly Winters is someone I really never paid much attention too, but she was really good in this film.  I already mentioned how awesome Abe Vigoda is, and Diane Ladd as Alice was just a pleasure to watch.  She was really sweet and pretty and you actually feel bad for her that everyone around her who isn’t trying to screw her over is killed, and everyone who is trying to screw her over seem to keep manipulating everything so that she has no chance at all.  Just as a little trivia note, Diane Ladd’s daughter is actress Laura Dern.  I just noticed that when I was looking up some info on her and found it interesting so I thought I’d mention it.

The Devil’s Daughter is a well written, well acted movie that plays on people’s fears about the devil and satanism.  Of course these fears were always misguided and played up by the church so that they eventually became an accepted part of our culture, but this film takes those fears and without being gory or over the top in any way, plays on them to present us with an immersive and rather creepy story.  It’s definitely the type of a movie that’s best to watch late at night, because I think watching it in that environment, you’ll get a lot more enjoyment out of it.

This is yet another quality release from Wild Eye Releasing.  You can check out this movie and the other films in their catalog at http://www.wildeyereleasing.com.