One of the more forgotten of the rash of slasher to appear in the wake of Halloween, Satan’s Blade subverts the usual fun-in-the-sun settings of this type of picture by isolating its cast of vacationing teens on a snow-covered peak, then has them stalked by the vengeful spirit of a deranged mountain man.
The Film Itself
By now, we’re all so used to seeing teenagers carved up in various fashions that there’s very little that remains remarkable in any given slasher. Connoisseurs may be interested to know that, in Satan’s Blade, a groups of adults, rather than teens, gets butchered, but that’s about it. The snowy location ought to have been a big plus, but most of the action takes place in a rather unappealing cabin, and the shoddy cinematography isn’t up to the task of making the best of it. The editing, lighting, and continuity are likewise often poor; there’s really very little to recommend, even for genre fans, about this picture which starts slow, has a slow middle, and has lost all interest by the time its joyless carnage even gets underway.
Audio and Visuals
The wintry atmosphere is decently realised, though not to the extent of something like The Thing. Despite the hard work that has gone into the restoration, there is a limit to how good something like this is ever going to look. The film displays some noticeable grain and damage, while the audio commentary points out some possible artefacts of the picture having been blown up to imitate 70mm film.
As ever, there’s nothing to complain about here, with an easily navigable menu and a box featuring reversible sleeve art. The film’s original poster is ugly and boring, so you probably will want to reverse it.
The main extra featured here is a highly enjoyable audio commentary by the horror podcast team The Hysteria Continues. Other than that, there’s a full frame version of the film, in which information missing from the sides and bottom of the frame is restored – this does require the viewer to ignore the occasional boom mic. There is also an interview with writer-director L. Scott Castillo, Jr., who also presents “Remembering Satan’s Blade”, an amateurish piece in which he guides the viewer through various bits of memorabilia.
While Arrow’s efforts to preserve genre films remain commendable, the gallant commentary by The Hysteria Continues is not enough to make this one worth shelling out for.
Satan’s Blade is available on Blu-Ray from today! Will you be grabbing yourself a copy?