JAWS OF SATAN
It feels as though Jaws of Satan has been conceived as a mix of two fads from the 1970s horror film. The title alone suggests a mix of the massive hit of Jaws (1975) and the fad for animals amok that we had in the 1970s having been thrown together with the fad for occult and devil worship films that we had throughout the decade after the successes of Rosemarys Baby (1968), The Exorcist (1973) and The Omen (1976). In actuality, Jaws of Satan is just a standard Animals Amok film and the element about the snakes being satanically empowered to enact vengeance for the crimes of Fritz Weavers family is poorly integrated.
Jaws of Satan is badly directed on most levels. The films credibility gets shot fairly much from the opening scene where we have actors on board a train pretending to react to and be attacked by closeups of a snakes fangs and the door of the train just happening to slide open as the victim falls back a scene that is completely lacking in believability. The snake scenes throughout are poorly directed and Bob Claver fails to generate any suspense. There is a scene where a snake gets into Gretchen Corbetts house here Clavers cutaways, his attempt to mislead us that it has crept into the shower, his following it as it crawls up the bed all have a tedious pedestrianness to them. You can predict every single thing that is going to happen in the scene and Clavers attempt to create fake suspense out of situation achieves zip. Although the most ridiculous and absurd scene in the film is the climactic one where Fritz Weavers priest must venture into the cavern, holding out a crucifix and confront the evil snake as it stands over an altar preparing to sacrifice Gretchen Corbett. The image is as ridiculous as it sounds.
The script deals in a great many cliches. There is the tedium inducing post-Jaws cliche of the mayor who refuses to do anything about the menace for reasons of the towns commercial interests. Although Jaws of Satan must hold the lamest excuse ever offered up in one of these characterisations the mayor doesnt want to endanger the opening of the towns new dog track! Claver throws in a scene with a pathologist (Mark Richards) who eats food while examining corpses, which, aside from the fact that it has become a cliche for every almost film ever featuring a pathologist, draws attention to it as an affectation because Claver directs it in such an obvious and distracting way.
Jaws of Satan was the only cinematically released film ever made by tv director Bob Claver, best known as one of the producers of tvs The Partridge Family (1970-4).
Full film available online here:-