Satan's Little Helper - Blu-ray Review

The classic finally gets a decent release

James Whittington
Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Satan's Little Helper

Treasured Films

Certificate 15

Years ago, I managed to see Satan’s Little Helper on DVD, and immediately fell in love with it. Well shot, well-acted with some cool death scenes, the film oozed love for the horror genre but for some reason it seemed to disappear straight to DVD Hell and forgotten about.

Now, thanks to those lovely people at Treasured Films we can all enjoy this slasher with a release it deserves.

It's Halloween and nine-year-old Douglas (Alexander Brickel) is obsessed with playing his favourite video game 'Satan's Little Helper', something he immerses himself in when his big sister Jenna (Katheryn Winnick) comes back to visit. Before long, Douglas happens upon a serial killer dressed up as the dark prince himself, and naively thinks his video game has taken on a new lifelike dimension. As the situation becomes deadlier, however, Douglas begins to realise that it may not be a game after all as his family and all around them try and survive Halloween night from his devilish new friend...

Written and director by Jeff Lieberman, Satan’s Little Helper was retro before retro was cool. It’s all here, a masked killer, cool synth score and plenty of invention.

Katheryn Winnick is perfect as Jenna, the final girl of the piece. Her performance is solid, heartfelt, and far removed from the screaming teenagers we were used to at the time. She allows Jenna to be vulnerable without being a cliché and is a sign of what was to come in her career. Another bonus is that Douglas (played by Alexander Brickel) is given more to do than just be a pain in the ass kid.

The set-pieces are very well realised with plenty of practical effects to satisfy gore hounds. Cat lovers might want to look away during one specific moment. It also has its sinister moments such as when the killer just stands and stares, its these moments which add a large amount of tension to the movie. Talking of the killer, he remains an enigma throughout which is a cool idea and makes his appearance scarier than if some huge backstory had been shown.

The movie is filled with a dark sense of humour such as the killer shopping as well as admiring his work after arranging a body in broad daylight, so it looks like a Halloween decoration then having his picture taken with it. It also has something to say about how some youngsters view the world and innocent trust they have in people.

The bold image is filled with colour, and although sometimes slightly soft this will be due to the digital media it was shot on rather than the transfer itself. The stereo soundtrack is clear and holds well and although I’d have liked a surround mix this adds to the feel of the movie.

The disc comes with an audio commentary from director Jeff Lieberman as well as an audio commentary from The Hysteria Continues! These are huge value as they deliver so much information on the creation and construction of the movie.

Behind The Mask is an excellent 15-minute video essay by film critic and author Jon Towlson which gives us a fuller picture of Jeff Lieberman’s return to horror, Home Invasion is a 48-minute online interview with Director Jeff Lieberman conducted by Jon Towlson. The Behind-the-Scenes footage is only five-minutes long, but you get a real sense of the fun of the making of the movie. The booklet, Jeff Lieberman and the American Nightmare goes into detail of the director’s career and influence. There’s also a trailer, Image Gallery and reversible sleeve offering two original artwork choices.

This is a great release of a very underappreciated slasher.