Satan’s Slave – original title: Pengabdi Setan – is a 1980 Indonesian horror film directed by Sisworo Gautama Putra (Savage Terror; The Hungry Snake Woman) from a screenplay co-written with Naryono Prayitno and Imam Tantowi for Rapi Films.
Ruth Pelupessi, W.D. Mochtar, Fachrul Rozy, Simon Cader, H.I.M. Damsyik, Diana Suarkom, Doddy Sukma, Ali Albar, Adang Mansyur, Moesdewyk, S. Parya.
A family suffers the death of their mother. Teenage son Tommy begins to receive nightly visits at night from a ghostly woman with opaque eyes. Tommy becomes possessed and so the family seek the help of a fortuneteller…
Pengabdi Setan contains some ethereal nightmare scenes and an overt synth score that elevates it beyond many of the meretricious Asian supernatural movies of its era. Indonesian films were always more delirious than their Hong Kong counterparts and less simplistically sadean than Japanese movies.
Aside from a brief and suitably tacky disco scene, there are scenes of Jean Rollin-like cinematic poetry, which, combined with some imagery typical of the bluntness of Far East cinema, makes Pengabdi Setan a whole lot more interesting. It’s something of a mess but the overall result is fascinating, if flawed by the usual conceits of exploitation cinema. What’s more, a big-haired witch and some odd-looking zombies ensure that the finale is daft yet entertaining.
Plus, a glorious filmic moment for seasoned global horror fans is the discovery of a ‘forbidden’ copy of House of Hammer magazine, a youthful temptation that was often forbidden by authority figures.
Adrian J Smith, Horrorpedia
“Another classic example from the Golden Age of Indonesian horror. Despite the bug-eyed appearance of the zombies, I still found the makeup quite convincing. Others might find it ludicrous. Putra, who directed this film and was a frequent collaborator of Suzanna, might be considered a hack by today’s standards, but he excelled in the horror genre.” John L. Vellutini, Monster! Issue 21