The Redeemer: Son of Satan (1978)

A young boy rises from a lake, fully clothed, and travels to church where a priest delivers a fire and brimstone speech about the sins of the world, in particular, six people.

Afterward, the other choir members bully the boy, even putting a knife to his throat.

Those six people have been invited to a ten-year class reunion: John, a lawyer who doesn’t care if his clients are guilty. Cindy, a promiscuous party girl. Terry, an overweight ne’er-do-well. Jane, a wealthy and immoral heiress. Roger, a vain actor. And Kirsten, a lesbian.

The event will be at their old high school, where a mysterious man arrives to kill the janitor and make a mask of his face.

None of the six people really knew one another. Yet they enjoy a room appointed with plenty of room and drink. It’s all fun and games until they find the dead body of the janitor filled with maggots and that the school is locked.

Am I really spoiling anything if I tell you that everyone dies? Terry gets his crotch set on fire with a flamethrower. Jane meets a hunter in disguise who recites poetry to her before killing her with a shotgun. Roger is killed by a magician and his deadly trick. Cindy is attacked by a clown and drowned in a sink, an attack that seems to take forever.

John meets the killer face to unmasked face. He reveals that he has lured them to the school to punish them for lives of sin, such as John being a criminal lawyer who helps guilty criminals go free. The killer is a Redeemer, one who has decided to rid the world of the wicked starting with a few sinners. They fight and John shoots the killer in the side, but he recovers and graphically shoots John in the head.

Kirsten is chased through the school and even gets the gun, but a giant puppet stabs her.

The Redeemer is revealed to be the priest, who returns to the church to finish his sermon, claiming that the six sinners will be given redemption. He then meets with the boy, who reveals that he has killed one of the boys who bullied him, as well as a Bible salesman. The boy tells him that all will be right.

The priest goes home to tend to his wounds and we notice he has an extra thumb, which disappears. The boy goes back to the lake, where he walks into the water and disappears.

The movie closes with this: “From out of the darkness the hand of the Redeemer shall appear to punish those who have lived in sin… and return to the watery depths of Hell.”

Shot in July 1976 and also known as Class Reunion Massacre, this movie is way ahead of its time. And it also seems like it wasn’t created by human beings. It’s legitimately unsettling at times and raises plenty of questions. Who is behind everything? The kid or the priest? Why are they really doing it? Why pick these exact people and this exact school? Why the masks and deathtraps?

Why ask why? This film is closer to a surrealist art film than a horror movie. Just watch the scene with the Grim Reaper costume and the Redeemer screaming and yelling, but locked outside the gates. It’s just…off. And I loved it.

You can catch this for yourself on Amazon Prime. I’m interested to hear what other people think of this one, because I feel that this should be a much bigger cult film than it is.

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