Monday, October 5, 2015

Riske Business: 10 Reasons I'm Fascinated by Satan's Little Helper

by Adam Riske
I feel like I should explain myself.

I’m on the record at F This Movie! as saying that if given the choice I would rather watch writer-director Jeff Lieberman’s Satan’s Little Helper than John Carpenter’s Halloween. Let me clarify: Satan’s Little Helper is not better than Halloween (1978). I would have to have serious brain trauma to believe that claim. What I’m saying though is while there’s a lot to appreciate in Halloween, there is more for me to enjoy in a viewing of Satan’s Little Helper. I think it’s clearly influenced by other bonkers horror movies like Sleepaway Camp and Silent Night, Deadly Night. This is a movie made by someone who makes crazy, fascinating choices that are so strange and misguided that they circle back around and end up being almost transcendent.
Here are my top 10 reasons I love this batshit crazy movie:

10. The way the movie is shot is so weird. At times, it looks like good, crisp digital photography and then sometimes it looks like it was shot on a camcorder.

9. The movie gets violent and ends in a very dark place which is made more effective in contrast with its sillier and more comical first half.

8. There’s a neat sense of Do-It-Yourself to Satan’s Little Helper. It’s obvious this movie was shot on a micro budget (e.g. the costumes, the reuse of the same locations) but that low budget gives the movie a lot of creative freedom to be over-the-top and audacious and Satan’s Little Helper sure uses that freedom to its advantage.

7. I am blinded by the beauty of Katheryn Winnick. She makes Helen of Troy look like a bag lady. I have a new movie crush; enough that I will watch Hellraiser: Hellworld this Scary Movie Month just because she is in it.
6. The lead performance by Alexander Brickel, who plays Dougie, is something to behold. It’s more an issue with the way he is written – he seems like he’s off in some way, e.g. he wants to marry his sister – but the performance is so earnest and game and strange that it makes his character fascinating. The performance is very much in the spirit of this movie’s unique energy. He also looks distractingly like a young David Schwimmer.

5. The performance by Amanda Plummer is also noteworthy. It’s as if language is her second language. There’s mugging, clapping, weird turns of phrase and then, near the end, she’s dressed like the Chiquita Banana Lady, wrapped in duct tape and falling down all over the place.

4. This movie is surprisingly mean-spirited and unapologetic about it. I usually don’t like that but every once in a while it works for me in a horror movie such as in The Mist. I admire it for having the balls to be really ugly. By the time the slasher (dressed as Jesus) is killing people off at the end, I’d say it’s gotten pretty edgy.

3. In the character of Satan, it unveils an interesting slasher villain. Not an all-timer but someone I would rank alongside say a Victor Crowley from the Hatchet series in terms of impact. He’s funny, he’s mean and he’s unstoppable…sort of like Michael Myers in the Halloween series.

2. The movie succeeds on its intentions – to be a slasher movie with a comic edge. It’s brutal, suspenseful and amusing. It has a weird, almost charming, authorship to it.
1. Satan’s Little Helper is great trash. It’s fun and just plain entertaining. It’s the type of movie you have to talk about after seeing it and advise your friends to see almost to confirm that you actually saw what you think you just saw. It’s that odd.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think of Satan’s Little Helper. It’s definitely a love-it-or-hate-it affair and I’d really enjoy reading your take on this crazy movie.

Happy Scary Movie Month everyone!


  1. I remember simultaneously loving and disliking this movie. I still can't make up my mind which way I actually lean.

  2. I normally wouldn't do this, but I'm gonna copy and paste what I wrote about it during #ScaryMovieMonth last year as I stand by it. I've been thinking about revisiting it if I have the time, so that's gotta count for something!

    "On to Satan's Little Helper. I had to watch it because Adam Riske said some things that made me curious. He said that it's not better than John Carpenter's Halloween, but he'd sooner rewatch it than Halloween. Those are strong words, and while I absolutely understand the concept of respecting or even loving a movie without necessarily wanting to revisit it, my brain still cannot process what he said.

    That being said, this isn't a bad movie! I'm not sure if "amiable" is the right word for a movie about a small child befriending a serial killer and becoming his unwitting accomplice, but that's what this movie is. It's an unabashedly goofy little movie that never takes itself too seriously and it's a fun watch. It's all very cheap and silly (and it appears to have been shot with a cell phone) but that's part of the charm. Also, it was a nice surprise to see a cameo from Lisa G of The Howard Stern Show (era).

    While I really enjoyed it, there were a lot of things that didn't work, the most egregious of which was the old horror movie trope where somebody kills a masked person only to pull off the mask to find a completely different person than they expected underneath. This happens multiple times in this movie to the same character, to the point where you're left wondering if they have a learning disability. Problems aside, it's still a fun & entertaining movie, even if I can't imagine anyone on the planet choosing to watch it over Halloween. Sorry, Adam!"

  3. If you've never seen her in it, check out Katheryn Winnick in the History Channel show "Vikings." Far better than you'd expect the show to be and she's pretty magnificent as a shield maiden/wife/earl/general badass.

  4. I remember simultaneously loving and disliking this movie. I still can't make up my mind which way I actually lean.

  5. God damn that kid does look like David Schwimmer good call lol

  6. have to 100% agree with Riske. it's dumb fun at it's best. plus it was directed by maestro of horror Jeff Lieberman. i mean he also directed Squirm, Blue Sunshine and Just Before Dawn which are all horror classics. Satan's Little Helper might be at the bottom of that list, but it's not without its merits. it's garbage, but it also very watchable garbage.

  7. You've convinced me to go back to Satan's Little Helper. I watched it for #Junesploitation this year and it left me cold. I didn't hate it, mostly I felt I didn't get what the movie was doing. Since then, I've watched quite a few slashers and am now curious to see if that chances my perspective.

    Also, "it’s as if language is her second language" might be the funniest thing I've read all month, and that includes hundreds of great 7-word reviews.

  8. I really enjoyed it this past Junesploitation. Its fun and fully entertaining and has that October Halloween atmosphere that I love. I honestly had no problems with it! And Katheryn Winnick is unbelievably attractive.

  9. I had never seen this movie till Riske was championing it last year sometime and i went out bought it, it was a good purchase, watched it a few times and enjoyed it everytime, it was more fun than Halloween ;)

  10. I had a copy of this laying around and finally watched it for #ScaryMovieMonth. I totally get the fascination. This may have just turned into a yearly October viewing for me.