Sunday, 10 July 2016

Satan's Blade (1984)

"Don't watch it alone"

Seriously, don't. If ever a film deserved that tag line, it's SATAN'S BLADE, a film so staggeringly inept that if you do watch it on your own you might just lose the will to live. It's out on Blu-ray (!) now from Arrow and I would strongly caution anyone against sitting down to watch it by themselves expecting any kind of vaguely competent horror film. On the other hand

The madness that starts it all...
Get some friends round. Get some cocktails made. Select the 'fullscreen' option out of the two aspect ratios (!) here, and let the unwanted boom mikes, extra feet and knees that shouldn't be in shot be the garnish to a very special Bad Film viewing experience indeed.
SATAN'S BLADE kicks off with a bank robbery. The two young female perpetrators escape with the cash to a 'ski lodge' (= old shed made with slightly more budget than the EVIL DEAD shack). They get undressed while deciding what to do with the money, then there's a bit of double-crossing and murder as a shadowy figure lurks outside. It's all hackneyed and badly filmed, and everyone who gets shot (including those in the bank raid) die in exactly the same way (= Drinking Game Number One).

Be prepared for a lot of this sort of thing
So far so absolutely crap. But things are about to get worse as new guests arrive at the 'Ski Lodge' - a place where we never see a ski let alone a slope, and the snow is thin enough on the ground in parts to suggest we MIGHT NOT BE ANYWHERE NEAR A SKI RESORT AT ALL. Despite last night's murders, the desk clerk is happy to let out the room again. The police don't seem too fussed either, but seeing as the Sheriff has his gun on the wrong way round and has tried to pin his badge to the right side of his shirt, then changed his mind judging from the holes where the badge was first tried, we should probably be suspicious that THEY AREN'T REAL POLICEMEN AT ALL.

But marvel at how this rug / blanket….
The guests at the 'Ski Lodge' are all terribly, terribly dull. They don't seem bothered that two people were killed last night in the hut they're going to stay in. Quite why the mad grandma thinks she can scare them with a tale of a mythical mountain man if actual, real, blood-stained death doesn't bother them (and the bloodstains are still there on the wall) is anyone's guess, but then she's so insane she's lost all ability to talk like a rational human being. A bit like everyone else in this.

...becomes this entirely different rug / blanket IN THE SAME SCENE!
There is lots of talking. Quite why I don't know because nobody is actually very good at even this simple human activity. There's a dream sequence with some murders. Then back to the talking and the wandering around and the not much happening. A music score is pounded out on a piano by what sounds like a petulant five year old who has been locked in the music room and denied ice-cream unless he practices. Every now and then he is joined by his friend who has a burpy synthesiser or is just practiced at making the fart noises early 1980s synthesisers made.

Some murders. But not enough.
There are some murders. The film ends on what is not so much a twist as an inexpertly bent bit of plotting. But SATAN'S BLADE is not over until something even more bizarre happens. Cue 'terrifying' final caption and the return of our duetting five year olds who have obviously found mum's hidden stash of cocaine in the piano stool if the over-enthusiastic twiddlings that play us out are anything to go by.

What you might end up looking like if you watch SATAN'S BLADE too often
SATAN'S BLADE is dreadful, but it is frequently hilariously dreadful, and if you are inclined towards this sort of awfulness you may feel you've got value for money from it.  Extras are limited to what might just be the poorest-made featurettes ever to grace an Arrow disc, which of course means they are also essential viewing for connoisseurs of utter grot. Everyone else should take tranquilisers before watching them.

The quite remarkable rubbish that is SATAN'S BLADE is out from Arrow in a dual format DVD & Blu-ray edition on Monday July 11th.