Directed by: L. Scott Castillo Jr.
Written by: Thomas Cue (screenplay) and L. Scott Castillo Jr. (story)
Starring: Tom Bongiorno, Elisa R. Malinovitz and Stephanie Leigh Steel
Reviewed by: Josh G.
ďThese vacation romances never work out anyways.Ē
Slasher, slasher, everywhere a slasher! Itís the day of the 80s ultra low budget slasher movie Satanís Blade. Shot in 1982, but not released until 1984, we once again have another backwoods stalk and stab-a-thon. Thereís a slight alteration though. This is set in the snowy mountains! Hooray! We start off our 80 minutes with two shots before the opening credits. A view of the lake, and a tree with a knife thrown into it. Wow! What could have done such a thing? And why? Well, we find out the answer near the end, but it doesnít solve much. Though it makes sense, itís completely wacky. So without further ado, letís jump into the realm of cabin renting and winter fishing. Itís murder time!
A couple of masked figures rob a bank by holding two female tellers at gunpoint. After grabbing the cash and tearing open one of the employeesí shirts, a robber shoots them both dead. Later, at a cabin, we find out that the robbers are young women, Ruth (Meg Greene) and Trish (Mary Seamen). They have stolen $50 000, and they will be splitting it three ways between Ruth, Trish, and their friend George. Ruth however has other plans, feeling the need for greed. She shoots Trish in the bathroom, and is planning on finding George. Sadly for Ruth, a mysterious person is lurking around outside, and as she opens the front door to dump Trishís body, the person stabs her in the back.
The next day, two local sheriffs, Ben (Fred Armond) and Ski (Ski Mark Ford) discover the bodies with a symbol written in their blood on the wall. Meanwhile, a group of five women, Marlene (Marti Neal), Sue (Ramona Andrada), Stephanie (Stephanie Leigh Steel), Mary (Susan Bennet), and Rita (Diane Taylor) drive up to the cabins. Tony (Tom Bongiorno), his partner Lisa (Elisa R. Malinovitz), Lil (Janeen Lowe), and her partner Al (Thomas Cue) are also there. When the lodge keeper, Duncan (Richard Taecker), attempts to make a sale, his crazy mother (Carrol Cotion) steps in and informs everybody about the murders. She talks about the legend of a giant man who lived with his family in the mountain, but people bought the land and kept forcing him to move upward until he had no place else to go. He asked the Gods for help, but instead, he was given a weapon from the evil spirits and killed the people. He finally went too far and killed his family. Legend has it that he still lives beneath the water of the lake; a monster! The two groups are spooked, but they both end up renting the place.
That night, Al and Tony get drunk and end up going over to the girlsí cabin for a little fun in the snow. Lisa wakes up and is not pleased, ending Tonyís activities before they lead to anything. We find out from the two cops that fourteen years previous, two boys were killed in the same cabin. Ski believes itís the same killer, but Ben is sure itís just a copycat. Tony goes fishing at the lake and is followed by his neighbor, Stephanie. She comes onto him but he calms himself into staying faithful, and the two become just friends. When Tony returns to his cabin, Lisa is waiting and feels worried for their relationship. After a quick frolic in the bedroom, their relationship is as good as ever. The next door inhabitants, however, are not doing so well. Somebody has entered their cabin bearing a knife. One by one, the girls are murdered until itís Tony and Lisaís turn to face the mountain man. Will anybody be left alive, and who will find themselves at the end of Satanís Blade?
This extremely low budget feature is probably more suitable for the shot-on-video movement than the film used. The music is a wonderful synthesizer score similar to that of Blood Rage. Itís an acquired taste, so if synth isnít your thing, perhaps wonderful is not the word youíre looking for. Tony is an asshole drunk who doesnít deserve Lisaís respect, but she keeps coming back for seconds. At least heís true to her, though we really know nothing about this lawyerís past. The number one rule of the lodge is ďno partying to all hours of the night,Ē which is a shame since thereís all these anxious young adults. The cabins are beautiful, the snowy mountains are refreshing for the 80s slasher, and it reminded me of Curtains from a year earlier. We have generally happy characters, aside from Lisa who just sulks around. Thereís nudity six and some half minutes in. Rita and Ruth expose their breasts, and Lisa has a very tight call. This movie is excellent for close encounters of the nipple.
I love the doomsayer mother of the lodge keeper, and Satanís Blade even has a second one, though not quite as aggressive. A fisherman (Paul Batson) who Al and Tony meet doesnít like the legend surrounding the area either. Thereís enough cheese for anybody to enjoy. Though rape is not a funny manner, the bank teller whose shirt is torn open has a hilarious expression wiped across her face. When Ruth is stabbed, she has a silly death faint, not to mention a noteworthy laugh. I got the impression that Ruth and Trish were together in a relationship, though thatís very debatable. Trish mentions looking for hunks, and Iím almost positive lovers donít shoot each other in the chest. Thereís the clichť involving car tires being slashed, creating that isolation feeling this movie really didnít need any more of. We feel its mountainous aroma. The acting is poor and arguments are overly dramatic. This is like an 80s soap opera. Thatís another thing this and Iced has in common, along with the winter lodge setting, plus the ridiculously low budget.
It should be recognized that I canít usually stand cops in horror movies. These ones are no different, though they are far less embarrassing than that of Honeymoon Horrorís. These two donít like superstitions any more than the fisherman. There are many one shot or few shot scenes present, which probably caused for many re-shoots. No one is killed for a period of more than forty-five minutes, but the pace is moderately quick. Thereís a ratio of seven women to two men Ė a major oddity in the retro genre. The score repeats over and over again, but there are still scenes that drag due to a lack of a soundtrack or scoring. You realize gradually that the next door neighbors are whores in majority, but theyíre pretty much all likeable. The killer runs around shoeless and sleeveless, yet finds the time to put on yellow work gloves. Stylish! My favorite kill scene is the Ďall washed upí throat slit, where the killer cuts a girlís throat while holding her head down in sudsy dishwater.
The killer explanation is at first pathetic, but it actually makes a lot of sense. You have to remember names from the first few scenes to understand. We drive into supernatural territory with the ending, as the revealed killer starts to speak in two voices Ė they are possessed! It brings meaning to the title of Satanís Blade. A hand pops out of the lake near the finale, which is one of the only original parts to this otherwise routine slasher picture. Itís not a happy ending, but at least the whodunit scenario is completed very well. L. Scott Castillo Jr. makes a cameo as another fisherman before the end credits roll, and we see in red text the terror of: ĎThe Legend Continues!í. Good Lord, no! Satanís Blade is best left a single film. It is nowhere near the worst film ever made, and actually, itís quite fun considering the budget. Find it on a Prism VHS tape today, but donít stress out if you have to wait a while. Though the body count is over a dozen, itís still far from an excellent Friday the 13th rip-off. Rent it!
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