Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Slasher Video - SATAN'S BLADE on Blu-ray ""

Friday, May 15, 2015

Slasher Video - SATAN'S BLADE on Blu-ray

SATAN'S BLADE (1984; L. Scott Castillo, Jr.)
Slasher Video is a neat little company and they are absolutely one to watch for genre fans. They already put out BOARDINGHOUSE on DVD and that movie is truly one of a kind. Mibdblowingly strange and mesmerizing. Slasher has also recently teased the upcoming release of David A. Prior's films KILLER WORKOUT and DEADLY PREY. I love both of these movies and cannot wait to see what Slasher will do with them. David A. Prior is a unique genre voice and though his films can be a little shaggy around the edges, they deliver when it comes to crazy action and kills. He's a guy you should look into ASAP if you haven't. 
So SATAN'S BLADE was a film if only heard of prior to this release. Being a slasher fanatic, it was one I had meant to try to track down but never got to. 
The film has the charm that a lot of really low-budget horror films from this period have. It's the look of some filmmakers and actors trying really hard to make a good movie, even whilst fighting against certain limitations (in the form of acting, dialogue, structure,lighting and so forth).  Watching an old slasher like this reminds me that almost nobody ever sets out to make a bad movie. And SATAN'S BLADE isn't necessarily bad (at least to me), because as I said I find a certain charm in this kind of production. What we basically have is the story of a cursed ski resort that finds itself invaded by bank robbers initially and later a group of horny gals and two couples. Much of the run time is spent with in and around two cabins at this ski resort (which is apparently known for its great fishing by the way) where the group of gals and the two couples end up colliding in various ways. There's a good deal of clunky human drama there. What's neat about this kind of movie though is you never quite know when they are going to pull the rug out from under you and start with the killing. There's a solid glimpse at the killer in a dream sequence half way thorough the movie and he is a disturbing looking fella with a creepy mask. A good mask can go a long way to help make a slasher movie resonant and scary. More time should be spent on masks in horror films in general. They are a highly underrated commodity of fear.
The music for the movie is interesting (if a little cheap sounding) in that it seems to almost feel like the piano (or harpsichord) accompaniment that might go with a silent film. There's a certain quaintness about the atmosphere that it creates along with the 4:3 frame in which the movie is presented. IMDB says it was shot in 35mm but no aspect ratio is listed so this may be the correct one as opposed to a "matted" 1.85 or something. Like I said though, I liked seeing a 80s slasher like this in 4:3 as it reminded me of both silent film and my days watching horror movies in VHS.

This is the first co-release from Slasher Video and Olive Films and I am hopeful this will be an advantageous partnership. Olive Films is just trucking along this year with tons of great genre releases of all kinds and the addition of Slasher to their already excellent output will only make for an even more interesting slate. This trend of smaller genre labels partnering with somewhat bigger boutiques is great (see Scorpion and Kino's current alliance) and I hope to see more of it. Anything to grow the fanbases of these labels is a plus and I'm all for it.

Special Features:
Slasher has out together some decent features for this special edition:
-"Director's Narrative" - An Interview With L. Scott Castillo, Jr. (Writer, Priducer and director of the film) (16 mins). This is a sitdown interview wherein Castillo reflects on where the film came from, his trouble shopping it around to the big studios (which caused a three year delay in the film's release), issues with the artwork and other details of the production.
-"Remembering SATAN'S BLADE" (33 mins) This is another sitdown chat with director L. Scott Castillo, Jr. This time he has some visual aids to help illustrate his memories of the movie (including a 35mm print of SATAN'S BLADE in an old film can). He mentions getting a 2K scan of the film done here which we can assume this disc has used. He has a few props from the film and some old VHS cases too. The budget and more of the process from the ground up is discussed in this interview.
-Also included are two instrumental tracks from the score of the film.
-Scenes from the Japanese Home Video Release (14 mins) and the Dutch Home Video Release (2 mins) are also added extras here as well.

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