Satan’s Blade (1984)


Satan’s Blade (1984)
: Tom Bongiorno, Stephanie Leigh Steel, Thomas Cue
Director: L. Scott Castillo Jr.
Nutshell:  A bunch of young amorous young people shack up at a remote ski resort despite the grisly murders there the night before…will they fall prey to the legend of the curse that haunts this area or will they live to tell the tale?  “rarely seen” and somewhat rediscovered slasher from the 80s.


Every once you get reminded of what a chump you are.  A marketing teams dream come true; blithely falling for the classic one-two despite the typical tell-tale signs.  In this case a film by the name of “Satan’s Blade”.  Browsing the horror section at HMV, marvelling at the “eclectic” nature of the titles that have been released on Blu Ray once in a while you come across a film that you have never, ever heard of and there you were thinking that for all those years you knew a thing or two about 80’s slasher films!

Satan’s Blade’s Blu Ray cover features some solid poster art and it has been released by Arrow, a company at the forefront of reissuing wonderfully obscure horror from the 60s, 70s and 80s and this one looked promising enough for a quick look at the back; what was it all about and where had it been hiding all these years?

“One of the lesser known in the annals of the ‘80s slasher film, Satan’s Blood is an eerie slice of US regional terror ripe for rediscovery by horror fans”.  That was enough for me, I was sold falling in to the trap of wishful thinking once again.  I should have known that when a film is “lesser known” that there is a good reason for that!  Its undoubtedly a heap of shit and that is exactly why it is “lesser known”.   But for horror fans wishful thinking means interpreting “lesser known” as being a film none of your horror geek friends have heard of let alone seen, so you can be one up on them and also a potential hidden slasher classic that was so nasty and so vile that it was unreleased and left in some mysterious vault until discovered by some students on an archaeological exploration who then vanished inexplicably leaving some grungy found footage that led to the discovery of this grim cinematic masterpiece of “regional terror” waiting to explode onto an unsuspecting audience and finally be hailed as the “lost classic” and the “film that everybody is talking about”.

Secondly, the film had been delayed for years in that it was shot in 1980 but released over four years later.  Common sense would suggest that the film was so awful that the producers decided to pull the plug on a project bound for disaster.  Common sense would also suggest that the film had no takers at all and thus found itself with no buyers or then that there had been such an obstacle during its shoot that had rendered it unreleasable and thus it remained languishing for years before being seen.  For a horror movie geeks state of mind the interpretation of a film that suffered a four-year delay would probably be on the lines of “the film was so controversial or so offensive to the censors” that’s they refused to allow it to be screened.  It was obviously such a potential storm of a movie that the authorities preferred to delay its release for over four years.

And so, having convinced oneself of the merits of this obscurity, it was with considerable anticipation and enthusiasm that the film was bunged into the Blu Ray player.  Sadly, it didn’t take too long thereafter to make the realisation that the only reason this film had hardly been seen was because it was an unbearable turd of a film that that had only one truly horrifying component to it; the acting.

The plot is infantile and just a convenience and excuse for the totally illogical rubbish that is witnessed on screen. The acting is so atrocious that it ends up being the only reason to actually watch the entire film, simply to revel in the mind boggling ineptitude of it all.  And then as though the disastrous acting and the excuse of a plot weren’t bad enough it soon becomes quite evident that the film has no live sound and everything has been clumsily dubbed afterwards in a studio…adding to the surreal overall effect this film has upon the viewer.

The blurb on the disc cover calls the film “eerie” but he forgot that the weirdly silent bits are because of bad dubbing and post production rather than any attempt by the director to create any sense of eeriness.  The “eerie” in this movie is a mistake; a technical failure, nothing more.  There is nothing of any merit through the entire duration of this atrociously lame movie.  It is a small wonder the film was confined to a “regional” release and limited exposure in the US because in no way shape or form could this film have succeeded either on the horror circuit, nor as a sexy piece of semi porn or exploitation.  It’s simply too inept even for the “Drive in” circuit and that it ever even received any sort of theatrical release is quite amazing.

The plot involves a bunch of young amorous people descending on a mountain resort where a grisly double murder has taken place the night before.  Despite the weird atmosphere resulting from the murders the travellers decide to continue with their plans and check in to the resort not knowing that the area is cursed by an ancient killer dagger known as the “Satan’s Blade”.  It seems this strange dagger that glows red from time to time has only to be discovered by any passer-by before it possesses them and turns them into a remorseless and relentless slasher on the rampage.

The killer stalks for an eternity before finally kicking into over drive and slaughtering a group of four within a couple of minutes halfway through the movie.  For the rest of the movie it is another case of who will survive and what will be left of them as well as the revelation of the mysterious killer.  There is a bit of a twist in the tail before all the horror is explained by the powers contained within the legend of the Satanic Blade.  A dire and wretched movie with the worst acting imaginable and almost as terrible gore effects and total lack of cinematic style of basic story telling ability.  To even hope for any sliver of suspense or tension is way beyond the capabilities of the crew responsible for this stunningly awful film.   I confess I have been had and been taken for my £20 worth and fleeced by the cover and blurb of “Satan’s Blade” which surely must rank as one of the most appalling slasher movies not only of the 80s but of all time.  A true stinker with no merit to speak of.  The old adage “never judge a book of DVD by its cover holds rock solid and true” and Satan’s Blade is perfect evidence of the fact.


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