SATAN’S BLADE (1984)
Theme Song: This music for Satan’s Blade is totally out of hand in the best possible way. It was composed by Martin Jaquish, who also served as editor on the film. For a guy who was probably only doing the soundtrack to help save money, he filled the entire movie with his score.
The main theme is all synth riffage and piano. One of the detractors is that variations on this theme appear throughout the movie, and when I say throughout, I mean there’s music in almost every scene.
There’s quiet, emotive piano, as well as some doomy piano during chase scenes. Most of it works very well and helps create a pretty immersive soundtrack.
Whether his interest in music was a hobby or a passing interest, Jaquish did a good job with something that could easily have gone totally awry. This closing credit number definitely has an Italian/Goblin-esque horror film score influence.
Interesting Dated References: A roaring-wood fireplace being so easy to ignite, two men complete the task within seconds of returning home; A roaring-wood fireplace being so easy to ignite, four college girls complete the task within seconds of returning home.
Best Line: The dialogue and acting in Satan’s Blade is the weak spot. The characters call each other by their first names so much it’s absurd. However a girl does say, “Fuck me walking,” which is an interesting concept.
Social Context: There’s no social context for Satan’s Blade, unless you think mysterious mountain legends and cursed bodies of water have social relevance, in which case you are probably mentally ill and not very fun to engage at social gatherings.
Summary: For the majority of the cast and crew, this movie represents their only foray into film. It’s the only film director L. Scott Castillo Jr. did, and for all the major cast it’s their only acting credit. Usually this occurs when a fresh from film school director lands some financial backing and decides to try to go after his american filmmaking dream.
Often times, as represented by Satan’s Blade and those involved, this pursuit of the american dream ends in total obscurity. This is purely a second-wave slasher cash-in attempt, but its execution is surprisingly adequately skillful. Perhaps those involved shouldn’t have given up so easily.
So some masked robbers break into a bank at closing time. They take money and sexually harass and then shoot two female tellers. According to the misplaced desk calendar that is hung on the wall, it is November of 1981.
The thieves arrive at a snowy, remote, cabin resort and reveal they are chicks. Ruth, the lead chick, decides to hide the money in their cabin air vent and clenches her butt cheeks in a very unsexy manner. She then convinces the other chick, Trish, to go take a bath.
After Trish has been allotted an appropriate amount of time to expose her breasts to the camera, Ruth decides to shoot her so she can take her cut of the money. As Ruth tries to drag the corpse of her former partner out into the snow, she gets stabbed in the doorway. This may have been a good thing since she was dragging the corpse outside wearing only a neglige. The cops show up and find the two bodies stacked together and notice some weird symbol on the wall, which is painted in blood. In order to move things along, they speak with the owner and decide the place can stay open.
Good thing, because the very next day, several college girls show up and after overlooking the freshly-painted over bloodstain, decide to rent the cabin. Things start to falter a bit as we’re introduced to the eight girls repeatedly by name, as well as two loving couples who are staying in the cabin next door. Everyone says their own name or the name of whom they are addressing, and this goes on non-stop for like ten minutes.
Later that night the couples from next door sit around a fireplace and kiss. After the women go to bed, the two dudes (Al on the left, Tony on the right) drink warm Jack Daniels and then decide to go next door to scare the college chicks, who apparently enjoy this, because their immediate reaction is to run outside in their nightgowns and wrestle the men they don’t know.
The next morning Al and his wife Lil hit the slopes. She’s totally not mad at him for getting wasted and wrestling scared college chicks. On the other hand, Tony’s lady, Lisa, is pissed, and resolves to sit in front of the roaring fireplace all day. Tony goes to fish alone, but is followed by college coed Stephanie (who opted not to go skiing with her roommates). She apparently was super impressed with his snow wrestling and holds complete disregard for his marriage. After he rebuffs her advances, they agree to be friends and spend the entire day fishing and sitting close together like opposite-sex friends always do.
After returning home, Tony is immediately able to coax his wife into bed, despite the fact she knows he was handling his rod with a college girl all day long. He tells her nothing happened and they proceed to love-make. Oh, and somewhere in there the lady who owns the resort tells everyone about the legend of the mountain man who kills people with a blade that belongs to Satan.
The college coeds return home from skiing and can’t find Stephanie. Then they begin to get murdered in a series of P.O.V. shots. Meanwhile, Stephanie is wandering around the woods in the dark, thinking about how she has no regard for the institution of marriage. Lucky for her, being a slut results in her missing the main killing spree. This may be the only time in a slasher movie when being slutty pays off, as it typically results in the mutilation of the slutty breasts and genitals of said slut.
After returning to her cabin, Stephanie discovers the bodies and runs to see Tony and Lisa and Al and Lil. Tony decides to stay put and Al and Lil decide to run for it, and they commence running into their poorly-lit, but dramatically effective killing sequence in the snow.
Back at the cabin, with Stephanie now missing, Tony wrestles with a figure in the dark while his wife hides upstairs. Someone wins the tussle and slowly makes the creep upstairs toward Tony’s wife. There’s a good moment of suspense here, because we don’t know if the figure coming up the stairs is a victorious Tony, an adultery-crazed Stephanie, or someone else altogether. Suspense ends as the figure kills Lisa, and we see Stephanie hiding beneath the bed.
The next morning, Stephanie goes downstairs to find Tony dead. When she sees a cop outside and goes to hug him, he stabs her and goes on some rant about how he is possessed by the spirit of the mountain and “Satan’s Blade.” Ambitious as ever, the movie ends by showing Satan’s Blade and stating “The Legend Continues…”
Poster and Box Art: The art for the Trend Video/Galaxy Video version of Satan’s Blade is pretty good. I think the knife is a little small and gets lost in the Satanic demon forehead. As a whole though, it’s a solid 80’s Satanic airbrush piece that any hessian would be proud to have on the side of their boogie van and/or denim jacket. It’s worth noting that this artwork was also used on the film Satan’s Blood.
Availability: Satan’s Blade is very much out of print. However, it is widely bootlegged on torrent and DVD. I suppose if you look around, you could find it for free on YouTube. Otherwise, collector-dildos seem to hoard the rare Prism VHS tapes. I have a Beta put out by “Trend Video Concepts.”