Director: L. Scott Castillo Jr
Script: L Scott Castillo Jr & Thomas Cue
Cast: Tom Bongiorno, Stephanie Leigh Steel, Thomas Cue, Eliza R. Malinovitz, Mark Ford, Jannen Lowe
Running time: 83 minutes
After a messy bank heist two robbers make their getaway, after first sexually assaulting one of the cashiers and then shooting two more. The bank robbers reach their hiding place in some woods and then reveal themselves to be women. The more dominant woman shoots the other so she gets to keep the money for herself, but her happiness is cut short when a man steps into the cottage and stabs her in the back.
If I tell you this is probably the most exciting sequence in the movie, I’m sure you’ll be somewhat disappointed, given the film’s great title, Satan’s Blade. The sad thing is, even this more dynamic early sequence is still presented amateurishly, with unconvincing deaths and stage blood.
The bulk of the film takes place sometime later when two groups of tourists arrive at a Winter resort, each taking up short-term residency in a couple of holiday chalets. Two couples occupy one chalet and a group of girls the other, which is close by. As the film progresses, at a glacial speed, the couples have their ‘moments’ and the group of girls mess around a bit, with one of them trying to seduce one of the guys, but he remains loyal to his girlfriend so there’s not even a gratuitous sex scene!
There are a lot of shots of people walking around a lake, fishing, and generally doing holiday things, including arguing with their partners.
Things get a bit more interesting when our mystery killer, from earlier, turns up and starts murdering the tourists, displayed in a number of protracted, but boring, death scenes. The only thing of interest during these tensionless scenes is that the knife used as the main murder weapon looks more like a cutlass rather than a more routine sheath knife.
It all ends in a rather disappointing fashion, although at least we do find out who the killer is and why they’re killing visitors to that neck of the woods; although you’ll still probably need several glasses of strong beer or wine to numb the pain of having sat through such a stinker, to arrive at that point.
So, to sum up: –
The good points: there’s some nice scenery to look at; most of the music cues work okay – it’s mainly just piano and synth stuff – although it is a bit repetitive; there are some occasional fun bits of dialogue (for example, after a bout of hard skiing one girl says to another: ‘Fuck me dead, I don’t think I’ll walk for days!’); there’s some novelty with the murder weapon; and, during a fire-lit fight scene, there are some cool shadows thrown up by the struggling figures – accidentally, I’m sure.
The bad points: the acting is poor, although I have witnessed worse; the murder scenes are deadly dull; the dialogue overlaps have no ‘atmos’ sound so sound like they were recorded in a cupboard (to be fair, they probably were); there’s way too much padding of people walking around not doing anything; the timeline doesn’t make sense; there’s a fair bit of print damage around reel changes visible, and, most heinous of all, they threaten a sequel in the extras!
Actually, I’m kind of surprised the wonderful Arrow Video have made any effort with this particular release as there’s a reason why some films remain obscure – they deserve to be! Satan’s Blade is one of those films, a movie which should be forgotten about, even though the director is still contemplating a sequel. Please, no!
Arrow Video are distributing Satan’s Blade on DVD and Blu-Ray. As per usual for Arrow Video there are plenty of special features including:
An interview with the writer and director L. Scott Castillo (16 mins) – this must be one of the worst filmed extras I’ve ever seen, but it is unintentionally hilarious so well worth a watch! The whole interview is shot in side profile with soft, hissy sound. We learn lots of stuff though including that it took 33 days to shoot, three years to sell (not surprisingly) and was shot in Big Bear, California!
Remembering Satan’s Blade (33 mins) – an even funnier extra where our rather eccentric director takes us through some memorabilia from the film. Shot in the same room as before, it’s almost as if he’s told the camera person to never show his face, although they still do at the end. So most of the footage is of his sizable stomach and his hands shuffling things around. We do learn that the film’s budget was less than $500K, although I’d be surprised to learn if it is more than $10,000!
Audio commentary with author Justin Kerswell and Eric Nathan and Joseph someone. Sorry, I lost the will to live at this point and stopped making notes!