Satan’s Blade is a long forgotten horror that was first released in 1984. This low budget exploitation from writer/producer/director L. Scott Castillo Jr is jammed packed with genre tropes and bad performances. It’s enjoyable in a so bad it’s good sort of way but kudos must be given for the good score and interesting scenery (Big Bear, California).
The film revolves around a series of murders in a remote mountain lodge and the film flits between two couples and a group of girls on a skiing holiday. Sometimes Castillo ramps up the tension and other times he just lets the soap-opera style drama play out. The acting is all pretty bad and the script is laboured, but you expect that sort of thing from this type of movie. In fact, the cast is too big and the film lacks some serious narrative focus. However, having said that, the ending is quite interesting and a little unexpected and it features a curious dream sequence. If it contained more of that type of originality then it could have gone on to be a little more well known.
As a director L. Scott Castillo Jr goes for some interesting camera angles and he is able to create a sense of tension when it’s called for. However, he relies on a lot of tried and tested gimmicks, while also upping the exploitation ante. No actress in the film ever met a shirt that she didn’t like to take off.
A movie for horror and slasher completists , Satan’s Blade is a forgotten film which is a relic of the VHS era. It’ll have in audience but there’s a reason why this has been on the periphery for over 30 years.
Saran’s Blade gets an impressive release from Arrow Films. You get two very informative and candid interviews with writer-director L. Scott Castillo, Jr (they’re not the most visually exciting, but well done). The disc also comes with a commentary by horror podcast The Hysteria Continues and a booklet written by Brian Albright (author of Regional Horror Films, 1958-1990). This is the sort of release that adds a lot of context to a film that might otherwise have slipped through the cracks.