Satan's Cheerleaders (1977)

R | 92 mins | Comedy-drama, Horror | 18 March 1977

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HISTORY

The 21 Mar 1977 Box reported that principal photography occurred fall 1976 in Los Angeles County. Among the locations were Paradise Cove in Malibu, John Burroughs High School in Burbank, and a house in the mountains north of the San Fernando Valley. Screenwriter-director Greydon Clark told AFI in 2013 that he filmed Satan's Cheerleaders in two weeks, and that the $75,000 budget included $25,000 for the cast. Clark also said that the group Sonoma, which performed the film’s songs, was put together by music director Gerald Lee.
       The 21 Mar 1977 Box announced that Satan's Cheerleders opened for a one-week test run in thirty theaters in Jacksonville and Miami, FL, on 18 Mar 1977, then moved into the Orlando-Tampa, FL, area for the Easter weekend.
       According to the 25 Jul 1977 Box, the Motion Picture of America Association (MPAA) first gave Satan’s Cheerleaders a PG rating, but it changed the rating to a more restrictive R after the producer re-edited the film.
       A Sep 1981 Box item reported that after distributor Dimension Pictures filed for bankruptcy 30 Jan 1981, 21st Century Distribution Corporation acquired Satan's Cheerleaders and twenty-seven other films at the Annual American Film Market Meeting in Apr 1981.
       Satan’s Cheerleaders was Sydney Chaplin’s last theatrically released feature before his death in ... More Less

The 21 Mar 1977 Box reported that principal photography occurred fall 1976 in Los Angeles County. Among the locations were Paradise Cove in Malibu, John Burroughs High School in Burbank, and a house in the mountains north of the San Fernando Valley. Screenwriter-director Greydon Clark told AFI in 2013 that he filmed Satan's Cheerleaders in two weeks, and that the $75,000 budget included $25,000 for the cast. Clark also said that the group Sonoma, which performed the film’s songs, was put together by music director Gerald Lee.
       The 21 Mar 1977 Box announced that Satan's Cheerleders opened for a one-week test run in thirty theaters in Jacksonville and Miami, FL, on 18 Mar 1977, then moved into the Orlando-Tampa, FL, area for the Easter weekend.
       According to the 25 Jul 1977 Box, the Motion Picture of America Association (MPAA) first gave Satan’s Cheerleaders a PG rating, but it changed the rating to a more restrictive R after the producer re-edited the film.
       A Sep 1981 Box item reported that after distributor Dimension Pictures filed for bankruptcy 30 Jan 1981, 21st Century Distribution Corporation acquired Satan's Cheerleaders and twenty-seven other films at the Annual American Film Market Meeting in Apr 1981.
       Satan’s Cheerleaders was Sydney Chaplin’s last theatrically released feature before his death in 2009. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
17 Jan 1977.
---
Box Office
21 Mar 1977.
---
Box Office
25 Jul 1977.
---
Box Office
Sep 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Feb 1980.
---
Los Angeles Times
15 Jul 1977.
Section G, p. 24.
Los Angeles Times
2 Dec 1977
Section I, p. 29.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
World Amusement Company Presents
A Greydon Clark Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d unit dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d unit photog
Asst cam
Still photog
Gaffer
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus score orch
VISUAL EFFECTS
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Make up/hair
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Prod asst
Prod asst
COLOR PERSONNEL
Color by
SOURCES
SONGS
"One For All And All For One" and "Who You Gonna Love Tonight," sung by Sonoma.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
18 March 1977
Premiere Information:
Premiered 18 March 1977 in Miami and Jacksonville, FL
Los Angeles opening: 30 November 1977
Production Date:
Fall 1976 in Los Angeles County
Copyright Claimant:
World Amusement Company, Inc.
Copyright Date:
7 July 1986
Copyright Number:
314205
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
92
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Benedict High School cheerleaders Patti Sexton, Chris, Debbie, and Sharon practice their choreography on the beach under the supervision of Ms. Joan Johnson, their gym instructor. Afterward, several players from the Benedict Huskies football team join the girls in a game of touch football. When Coach arrives, he stops the roughhousing because his boys, especially quarterback Stevie Wagner, might get hurt and miss the upcoming big game. Looking quietly out to sea, Patti says something is going to happen. Stevie and Debbie run into the nearby bushes, prompting Coach to warn his star player not to waste his “precious bodily fluids.” Suddenly, a dozen football players and cheerleaders from Baker High School arrive and demand their place on the beach. Ms. Johnson suggests the two schools resolve their difference by having a chicken fight, in which each school chooses a cheerleader to sit on a football player’s shoulders, and whoever pulls the other girl from her perch wins the beach. Sharon and Stevie vanquish their opponents, but as the Baker students leave, they promise revenge. Meanwhile, a coven of witches and warlocks holds a ceremony in which they call upon Satan to punish those who mock Billy Brooks, the janitor at Benedict High. Billy grips his five-pointed-star amulet as the other devil-worshippers promise that the Benedict cheerleaders will no longer treat him with disrespect. The next day, as Billy cleans up the toilet paper that Baker High students hurled onto Benedict’s football field, he sees the cheerleaders playfully pulling down Stevie’s pants. Billy threatens to tell Coach, then walks away from their jeers and promises they will be sorry. At that moment, a car filled with Baker High cheerleaders, ... +


Benedict High School cheerleaders Patti Sexton, Chris, Debbie, and Sharon practice their choreography on the beach under the supervision of Ms. Joan Johnson, their gym instructor. Afterward, several players from the Benedict Huskies football team join the girls in a game of touch football. When Coach arrives, he stops the roughhousing because his boys, especially quarterback Stevie Wagner, might get hurt and miss the upcoming big game. Looking quietly out to sea, Patti says something is going to happen. Stevie and Debbie run into the nearby bushes, prompting Coach to warn his star player not to waste his “precious bodily fluids.” Suddenly, a dozen football players and cheerleaders from Baker High School arrive and demand their place on the beach. Ms. Johnson suggests the two schools resolve their difference by having a chicken fight, in which each school chooses a cheerleader to sit on a football player’s shoulders, and whoever pulls the other girl from her perch wins the beach. Sharon and Stevie vanquish their opponents, but as the Baker students leave, they promise revenge. Meanwhile, a coven of witches and warlocks holds a ceremony in which they call upon Satan to punish those who mock Billy Brooks, the janitor at Benedict High. Billy grips his five-pointed-star amulet as the other devil-worshippers promise that the Benedict cheerleaders will no longer treat him with disrespect. The next day, as Billy cleans up the toilet paper that Baker High students hurled onto Benedict’s football field, he sees the cheerleaders playfully pulling down Stevie’s pants. Billy threatens to tell Coach, then walks away from their jeers and promises they will be sorry. At that moment, a car filled with Baker High cheerleaders, an effigy of Stevie in a football uniform, and a box of water balloons pulls onto the football field. A water balloon battle ensues, until Coach intercedes, accompanied by the dean of a religious college, who is scouting for a new football coach at that day’s game. To impress his guest, Coach suspends Stevie on the spot. The cheerleaders run for the showers, and Billy, praying on his amulet, goes into his special utility room next door and peers into the shower through a grating. Meanwhile, Stevie replaces the “Girls” shower room sign with a “Boys” sign, and as Coach shows the dean the facilities, the men walk in on the naked cheerleaders. Stevie follows them into the room with a Polaroid camera to take their pictures. Later, on the way to the game in the nearby town of Baker, several Baker players and cheerleaders run Ms. Johnson and the Benedict cheerleaders off the road. When the car will not restart, they hitch a ride with Billy, who lets Ms. Johnson in the front seat and the four cheerleaders in the back camper of his pickup truck. Once they start moving, Billy exclaims that they are now under his control. He turns off the road and drives to a deserted statue of a satyr’s head, where he recites a satanic poem as he fingers his amulet. Patti becomes possessed, peels off her T-shirt, and lies on an altar. Believing that Patti has been promised to him, Billy fondles her breasts, but red lights flash and a demonic spirit gives Billy a heart attack. Ms. Johnson drives the cheerleaders back to the highway, where they ask a bum where they can find the local sheriff. The old man directs them to the tiny town of Nether, where Sheriff B. L. Bubb works out of his home office, but when they report Billy’s heart attack, the sheriff insists on keeping them as material witnesses for an inquest, which will be held that night, during the football game. Both the sheriff and his wife, Emmy, stare at Patti, and when Emmy speaks Latin to Patti, the cheerleader understands. The sheriff drives to the satyr statue and revives Billy, but the janitor becomes angry for not having Patti to himself, and the sheriff kills him. When the sheriff returns home, he takes Emmy outside for a talk. With her suspicions aroused, Chris follows as the sheriff says he must perform the Black Mass that night, sacrifice the “unspoiled one,” kill the others, and blame it on Billy. Chris warns the others, but the sheriff and Emmy return before they can escape. Patti confronts the couple while her friends go upstairs and jump from the roof, but the sheriff catches Ms. Johnson before she can get away and rapes her. Chris, Debbie, and Sharon run in three directions to improve their chances of finding a telephone, but one by one they are captured by a local farmer, a defrocked monk, and other followers of the satanic cult. Meanwhile, inside the sheriff’s house, Patti’s new satanic power overwhelms Emmy, and the old priestess becomes convinced that Patti must be destroyed. When the acolytes bring the cheerleaders back to the house, the sheriff locks them all, including Patti and Ms. Johnson, in his barn and stations his two Doberman Pinchers, Lucifer and Diablo, outside. Emmy tries to convince the sheriff that Patti has “the power” and must therefore be killed, but he scoffs at her and she retreats to her altar. Meanwhile, the cheerleaders escape from the barn, and when the sheriff finds them gone, he and his acolytes follow them into the hills. At her altar, Emmy commands the two dogs to kill and mutilate the girls. She lights a candle, and when she opens an ancient book, she sees a painting of a witch that looks like Patti. As the dogs catch up with the fleeing girls, Patti casts her own spell that sends the dogs home. Soon the girls reach the outdoor altar where Billy originally took them, as wind begins to blow. Patti calls upon a storm of her own, which whips through the sheriff’s house just as Diablo and Lucifer return and kill Emmy. A dozen hooded acolytes arrive at the shrine and recapture the cheerleaders, but Patti brings the power of Satan down upon the sheriff, because he deflowered Ms. Johnson, the only pure maiden among the young women, and thus took what was meant for Satan himself. Suddenly Billy returns from the dead and kills the sheriff. The other men kneel and pray to Patti, their new priestess. Later, the cheerleaders arrive in time for Benedict’s game with Baker. When Stevie is injured, Patti, wearing her amulet, commands him to keep playing. Stevie makes touchdown after touchdown and wins the game. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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