Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 15th, 2016
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1984
Director: L. Scott Castillo Jr
Writers: Thomas Cue, L. Scott Castillo Jr
Cast: Tom Bongiorno, Thomas Cue, Stephanie Leigh Steel, Ski Mark Ford, Romona Andrada, Diane Taylor
BluRay released: July 11th, 2016
Approximate running time: 82 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1 Aspect Ratio / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC and 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Arrow Video
Region Coding: Region B / Region 2 NTSC
Retail Price: £15.99 (UK)
The 1980’s were a great time to be a horror film fan, in particular a fan of Slasher themed horror films like Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street being two of more well-known from this genre. Unfortunately like any successful genre there is always going to be influx in number of films being made as said genre becomes more popularity and this often leads to dilution of what made these type of films so captivating. Fortunately the home video market gives one a chance to seek out the films that they missed the first time around and reevaluate films that have not been seen in a very long time. With that being said, in recent year’s thanks in part to the Blu-Ray format there is a renewed interest in the Slasher film genre which is ripe for reappraisal.
One should never judge a book by its cover and this is most definitely the case with Satan’s Blade a lesser known Slasher film that went straight to video. The film opens with a bank robbing sequence that has a hint of perversion before the things take a turn for the worse as the bullets start to fly and bodies start to fall. From there things start to clear up a little as the bank robbers identity’s are revealed. Unfortunately for them that they picked a cursed cabin where those who stay there are destined to die. This begins a cycle that continues on until the end of this film.
Content wise, this film appears to have all things that one would want or expect from a Slasher film and to top things off a bit of the supernatural is thrown in for good measure. And when it comes to the kill scenes though they are sufficiently gory, there is a crudeness to them and the special effects work in general.
In other areas of the production outside of a few standout moments the films visuals are best described as pedestrian. And of these standout moments visuals none stand taller then this film WTF dream sequence. Without a doubt the most surprising asset this film has is its eerie score, which holds up well even after all of these years. Needless the score gives this film some much needed atmosphere to drive home the mounting sense of dread.
A few areas where this film is often lacking include its inconsistent pacing and the lackluster performances of its entire cast, the majority of whom had never acted before or since.
Overall Satan’s Blade is a classic example of a film that is bound to divide audiences. Diehard fans of the Slasher genre are sure to be more forgiving of this film’s short comings, while everyone else are bound to find this a difficult film to digest.
Satan’s Blade comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. This film has been flagged for progressive playback and the film is presented in two aspect ratios’, 1.37:1 and 1.85:1 aspect ratios. For this release Arrow Video uses the same 2k source that was used for Slasher Video’s release and the end result is a transfer that is on par with that aforementioned release.
This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix in English and removable English SDH subtitles have been included with this release. The audio sounds clean, clear and balanced throughout. Also range wise things sound limited.
Extras for this release include, an interview with screenwriter / director L. Scott Castillo Jr titled ‘Director’s Narrative’ (16 minutes 8 seconds), a featurette titled ‘Remembering Satan’s Blade’ (32 minutes 47 seconds) and a brand new audio commentary with The Hysteria Continues who give this film their usual tongue and cheek critic.
Topics discussed in extra titled ‘Director’s Narrative’ include, the origins of the film and why he choose to make a Horror film, the distribution of Satan’s Blade and its various home video releases, the cast and his thoughts on their performances and other production related topics.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art and a booklet with cast & crew info, an essay about the film written by Brian Albright, author of Regional Horror Films, 1958-1990 and information about the transfer. Also included with this release is a DVD that has the same content included on the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo release. Overall Arrow Video gives Satan’s Blade it’s best home video release to date.
Note: The last two screenshots are taken from the version that presents the film in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio.