Satan's Playground (2006)


Written, Composed & Directed by: Dante Tomaselli


Felissa Rose .... Donna Bruno
Irma St. Paule .... Mrs. Leeds
Danny Lopes .... Sean
Christie Sanford .... Judy
Ellen Sandweiss .... Paula
Edwin Neal .... Boy
Salvatore Paul Piro .... Frank Bruno

Release Dates: San Francisco's SF IndieFest/Another Hole in the Head: June 5 & 8, 2006

*Images courtesy of






A family the Bruno's are travelling to go on a camping trip in the woods but they hear strange sounds there and then they stop at a local store but it appears abandoned and then their car is stuck in a ditch and they can't get it out.
So the driver Frank (Salvatore Paul Piro) tries to look for a place to get help. He spots a run down house in the middle of nowhere and spots a strange old lady Mrs. Leeds (Irma St. Paule) and her retarded daughter Judy (Christie Sanford) as he asks for a telephone to get a tow truck but he spots a satanic ritual in their back yard and then he ends up being slaughtered by Judy.
After waiting for a long time Frank's wife Donna (Felissa Rose) tries to look for him and then goes to the house. Mrs. Leeds welcomes Donna into her house and then offers her a drink of ice water only to realise that she was poisoned.
Then she is tortured and tied to a tree in the woods and then is tormented by Mrs. Leeds mentally challanged son Boy (Edwin Neal). Next, is carried back to the house and tied up.
The Bruno's discover that the area is haunted by the Jersey Devil as people are even being slaughtered by a demonic force in the air.


Great shots of the woods before autumn came as the trees were bare without leaves as well as many good camera takes ooking up on the woods and blue sky circling around.
There's many good shots on Donna Bruno looking happy on the shotgun seat of the car driving as well as a good angle shot on her usband Frank driving the car yawning and ready to fall asleep. In the back seat there's a nice shot on Paula looking happy and the shot on the baby. Then in the very back of the car a great shot on Sean concentrating on playing with a rubix cube. All of this looked silent, still and peaceful.
A good shot on Frank ready to fall asleep on the wheel with Donna smacking him and getting aggressive towards him which looked good as well as their argumentive situations.
A great moment with Paula acting a little paranoid after hearing a sound and then Frank being distracted by it along with a good shot on the car's wheel blowing out.
There's a good distance shot on Frank walking up to a broken down house as well as a nice shot on him knocking on the door with the door opening and then Mrs. Leeds in a wheelchair with Judy pushing her and their greeting looked way too pleasant along with a nice get to the point attitude towards him. All of this looked impressive that something is about to happen that's not good.
There's a great aggression with him demanding for a phone and Mrs. Leeds telling him to wait for a sec and then I loved the shot of the satanic rituals performed when he looks at a window in the creepy house to see the terror that is going on.
Then there's a good moment with him trying to look for a way out and then a good shot on Judy looking at him with an evil grin and then a good side shot with window behind them shining on them and her whacking him in the head.
There's good shots on Mrs. Leeds looking amused while Judy is whacking the hammer on his head with a good close up shot on Judy having sprinkles of blood hitting her face..
A good shot on Donna walking in the misty wooded area and then knocking on the door with Mrs. Leeds greeting her and then inviting her in which seemed like a different setting with Donna herself acting pleasant as well as a good camera shot looking up on the two of them talking which looked quite artsy.
There's some good moment with Donna losing control as well as shots on some strange areas of the house with creepy stuff. Also good blurry shots on Mrs. Leeds with her wicked expressions and other surrounding like she's losing conciousness.
Nice shots on Sean in his car trying to call for his Mom with Paula trying to keep him quiet which looked natural.
There's a great moment with Paula running in the woods and Judy running away giggling with the baby which brought up some terrific energy as well as good low camera shots on them running through the misty dark woods.
A nice moment with Paula screaming and running to the house and panting and panicking towards Mrs. Leeds about what has happened.
There's a nice brief discussion with Mrs. Leeds trying to talk to a lost teen trying to get away acting uncomfortable with her trying to convince her to stay and help find her baby which looked quite intense.
A good shot on Donna tied to a tree screaming with a shot on a whipping boy taunting her and then a nice shot on Sean looking shocked by what he spots.
A good moment with Sean looking away while trying to knock on the house door with Judy seeing him and trying to bring him in as well as a good distance shot on Boy burying some corpses and acting deformed while doing this.
A great camera shot looking up on Mrs. Leeds taking to Sean about her family which looked believeably twisted as well as a great close up shot on her looking nasty and trying to force a pill in his mouth with good angle shots on her pushing it in and trying to make him drink some water.
There's a good shot on Donna tied up under a basement of the house with her trying to talk to Boy and tempting him with pills which looked pretty good as well as a good shot on him staring creepily at her.
A nice shot with Judy whacking Paula with a hammer and a nice close up shot on her wide eyed expressions and falling down as as well as a great shot on her lying on the floor with her big eyes acting lifeless.
A good shot looking down on Sean outside with the ground sucking him down.
There's lots of high and low shots on Donna running away in the woods screaming giving it a good horror feel to it as well as her trying to flag down a vehicle limping.
A good shot on bit part actor a stoner getting high with a great side shot quickly closing in on him and shots on his face being being cut with great quick attack shots while this is happening.
There's a good camera shot looking down on Donna waking up in a hospital with a shot looking up on a reporter asking her questions.
Oh yessss, a tribute to the retro horror genre like Evil Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Hills Have Eyes but Evil Dead definetely and not overly gory either and no posessions. When you first watch the film you think to yourself "Why is everything so quiet" but then the terror begins big time.
Great effects in this film as well as a good twisted plot to it and great to watch before getting into the Halloween spirit.
However, the story does get stale as there's not alot of point to it. You wonder to yourself how can anyone escape from this madness?
The wooded area truly looked creepy with a force running around it as well as the demented satanic family doing their evil deeds which looked intense. But everything went around in circles all the time. It seemed like that Dante Tomaselli was running out of ideas on what to do next when he wrote this flick and did a better job by directing and composing the music for it. Yet he seemed to have a good budget for the film with how he shot this for the opening credits which looked like that it was taken from a helicopter shooting the woods and the car driving along which almost looked like a similar opening to The Shining.
Most of the other scene's were about a woman who is getting tormented out in the woods and then tied up in a basement of the house and finding some ways on escaping this madness. The rest were being killed or sucked into a ground by an evil force and other types of weird scene's following this.
At first you wonder in the middle of this film it's going to end and what the point of all of it was. You just wanna keep watching it still but again nothing too special.
Bottom line is Evil Dead has done something similar to this so there's nothing original about this film and it gets very bland and the thing that saved to being above average was the great creepy scenery and Tomaselli's directing as well as a nice start off and of course like mentioned above a movie with a Halloween spirit type of feeling to everything and the interesting effects too. But that's about it.

The acting in this film is incredible!!! We have many cult classic horror film icons from the 70's and 80's in this one.
However, this would mark Sleepaway Camp veteran Felissa Rose' (Donna Bruno) in her best performance which says very little as the nagging wife in which her intensity is extremely effective when she tries to run away from the crazy demonic family. But yet her facial expressions still look the same and when she tries to act normal while speaking you can tell it's her typical self and not getting into much character at all.
She does show a good shocked reactions when she spots something creepy. Nice emotional crying on her behalf near the end of her performance. Also was nicely energised when she freaks out pointing out towards someone to an onscreen officer on who created the madness that she was claiming killed her family.
Next, we have Edwin Neal (Boy) playing a retarded mute evil boy as he performs believeably at that as well as demented too
. You can tell that he remembered how he portrayed the hitchhiker from Texas Chainsaw Massacre and used a bit of it for this film which really works too.
Next up, we have Ellen Sandweiss (Paula) from Evil Dead fame which is great to see her back in action again and this time she is terrorised in a different way than being molested by a tree. She brings a ton of energy to her role and knew how to have a still calm attitude during the beginning of the film. A great reaction with her running in the woods after spotting someone running away with her baby.
We also have a cameo by Ron Millkie (Officer Peters) if you also remember his cameo as an officer in the very first Friday the 13th film and he plays a similar type officer in this one but he adds alot more character with this film and boy does he get a surprise killing.
This film will definetely help these actors rise back to their fame in future independent horror flicks like this one.
Let's go to the Tomaselli favourites:
Christie Sanford (Judy) reminded me of similar type horror villains with her personality and pulls it off greatly showing some good comedic type evil expressions as well as really knowing how to act menacing with a hammer to someone's head but there's a certain moment that needed improvement to make it look more brutal than it was expected.
Danny Lopes
(Sean) knew his stuff as the autistic son as you'd almost think he was really like that with his emotionless expressions and behaving very unnormal with how he does things.
But the one who stole the film would be no other than Irma St. Paule (Mrs. Leeds) with her split personality as the wicked old hag as she makes her lines come across wonderfully and being able to change her voice from warm and soft to cackling nasty without making it sound phony. Even her presence will make you think that she's not safe to be around. She had a great menacing attitude while getting someone to swallow a pill.

Donna is stabbed by a meat cleaver
An officers face is slashed by a demonic force
A stoned out camper's throat is slashed open by a demonic force and blood is gushing out
Another officers head is bloodied after a hammer hits him in the head.

The music was wonderfully composed by Kenneth Lampl and Dante Tomaselli himself which is the best music in a Tomaselli movie. Its has lots of little chills and dark edges to the film. There's some nice mellow by spooky like keyboard plunking when there is the first scene of the creepy house. There's also many good wind chiming sounds along with stormy wind effects and groaning type music too.