A Movie A Day #267: Satan’s Princess (1990, directed by Bert I. Gordon)


Lou Cherney (Robert Forster) was a top police detective until a perp with a shotgun shattered his leg.  Now, Lou’s a private investigator with a limp, a girlfriend (Caren Kaye), and a learning disabled son named Joey (Philip Glasser).  When Lou is hired to track down a missing girl, he discovers that she is now the lover of Nicole St. James (Lydie Denier), the head of a modeling agency.  Nicole seduces Lou within minutes of meeting him but, when Lou attempts to return the missing girl to her family, Nicole reveals that she is actually an ancient demon and she possesses Joey.  Soon, Joey is carrying an ice pick and throwing people out of windows.

An example of the type of movies that Robert Forster was stuck making before Quentin Tarantino engineered his comeback with Jackie Brown, Satan’s Princess is also noteworthy for having been directed by Bert I. Gordon.  Gordon is best known for making cheesy giant monster movies, like The Amazing Colossal Man, Beginning of the End, and Empire the Ants.  There are not any giant monsters in Satan’s Princess, which instead emphasizes lesbian sex scenes, possessed children, and Robert Forster using a blowtorch to take on a demon.  Satan’s Princess also features the spectacle of a demon fleeing the scene of a crime by stealing a car.  Why a demon who can possess people and do almost anything would need to steal car in order to make escape is a question that Satan’s Princess never answers.

Satan’s Princess is even dumber than it sounds but Robert Forster delivers.  There is no real reason for Lou to be crippled so I like to think that, one day, Forster announced that if he was not allowed to carry a cane in all of his scenes, he wouldn’t do the movie.  Watching Forster give a good performance in even a piece of dreck like Satan’s Princess makes me all the more grateful that Tarantino cast him in Jackie Brown and allowed Forster the chance to once again appear in movie worthy of his talents.

Bert I. Gordon’s career as a filmmaker began in 1954.  Satan’s Princess was his 23rd movie and, for over 20 years, it was also his last.  In 2014, Gordon finally returned to directing with Secrets of a Psychopath.

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